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It was miserable. It was windy, it was dark, and it was really freaking cold. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun – because anything can happen in Missouri… anything. The captains were very explicit about when the warm-ups would begin. However, Mandy the GPS got turned around and it was concluded that most cars were LAF. Wisconsin roamed from despondent cornfield to booze-selling convenience store until they arrived at a go cart track with an adjacent open space – identified as the MLC fields. Stepping out of the car, Animal couldn’t recognize anyone. “Who are all these n00bs?” From head to toe storm troopers foamed with scarves, hats, gloves, and tights were looking pretty dismal. However, the Hodags were determined to run hard, for fear of frozen toes. As the first round of games was set to begin – the Hodags began getting serious. Darth Klane yelled, “Give me a tighter huddle damnit!” as the frosh Hodags weren’t all the way convinced of what might happen in there. The frigid Missouri wastelands were nothing to the evil wind and the darkening clouds, which were moving in very quickly. As soon as the Death Eater circle closed ranks, the sky had turned jet black and Jimmy Foster was stepping to the forefront of the huddle – his outline in the disappearing sun was beyond breath taking, as most players averted his intensely threatening eyes. “This is a statement weekend! I freaking love the cold, I live for this shiz, hell – I freaking invented winter!” It was a rousing speech, but soon Jay-Fo noticed that the rookies were shivering and wrapped in blankets – probably going into hypothermia. Manny immediately noticed his master’s gaze and laughed a demonic cackle and finished Foster’s thoughts for him, “It will be a cold day in hell when CUT can beat us!” Gaynor choked on his hot chocolate and Adam Drews squeaked in disbelief, for the last time the Hodag’s roundly expected to beat Carleton, it ended with a snow storm defeat in Northfield 2005. However, Cinnabuns and Cullen were not taken back with this statement – because neither of these players had ever lost to Carleton and neither ever expected to. As Wisconsin stood stunned by this sudden turn of events, lost in thought and soul searching, it was time to play some ultimate. As the Hodags looked over, Texas State was standing on the line – looking annoyed with the lethargic Hodags who were teetering from rage to severe apprehension. Eventually, Jon Masler stepped forward and roared, loud and brawny, standing as a pillar of fortitude for the confused Hodags. With this renewed moment of intensity, the Hogads suddenly rushed Texas State – grabbing appendages and tearing the Buckets limb from limb in a passionate frenzy of uncontrollable rage.
The very first point was indicative of how the rest of the weekend would be shaping up. It took the Offense four tries just to score downwind and the wind was overpowering most punted throws. However, there were bursts of glory as a Hodag here and there would power through the conditions for a layout attempt or sky D, as Jimmy Foster mack D’d both chances on the first point. Wisconsin finally punched in a short goal as Jay-Lo hit Bjerjies 1-0. Madison had convinced themselves that the cold air was really invigorating as they pounded Texas State with their legs – completing a push pass Animal to Masler for the upwind break 2-0. The Blodags quickly form ranks and begin in chorus to rap and dance “Oh hot damnit, this is my Janet!” Texas State couldn’t stand such white boy dancing and immediately called a timeout to revamp their game plan. It was more than Manny could take, “We don’t let the Offense play anymore this game. Seriously – if you can’t ball when you’re on the field, take off your cleats.” Feldman was smirking and goofing off again, which only further pissed Manny off. It was time to set the tone for the season, and sacrifices had to be made. Manny had made up his mind and in a flash of light, Animal had strode the circle, brandishing a familiar jagged blade. Hollywood didn’t even notice until Annen was on top of him, splicing Ben’s Achilles tendon and barking, “The Defense will score until Feldman can heal himself!” The rookies exchanged nervous glances, now having witnessed the second team sacrifice in two weeks. “It is all coming a little fast. I like hurting people – but some of these guys are crazy,” commented Uncle Jerry as he eyed Feldman, dancing on a nearby picnic table with Talter. The Hodags took Manny’s words to heart, scoring the downwind break as Animal found Cullen 3-0. Wisconsin was scoring with increased efficiency at every opportunity as BergieMingie gets a *sick* layout D and then breaks it to Dan Park, who rips a huck upwind to Simmons for the break 4-0. The Pheanimal was taking over the game and crushing on everybody, scoring from T-Murda to lead 5-0. With the scent of the oatbag in the air, Cullen gambles a little too much as Texas State almost scores deep and then insists dramatically that they are in until they spike it and walk away 5-1. Manny stormed off the field cursing, knowing if the Offense went back in that his personal domination would be lost in the S box, because Feldman was sure to be tossing up some FUZZ. It wasn’t a pretty sight as the O-face turned it 7 consecutive times into the downwind end zone. Muffin has seen enough and yells to Gaynor, “How many more chances do you need?” Babyface smiles back and puts two fingers in the air. Two throws later Gaynor gets the under D, starts the face break, scoring the goal from Darth Klane 6-1 for halftime. Texas State tried to contest the score, miscounting the number system twice before Foster told him to just go back to his huddle. Wisconsin attempts to huddle close to stay warm, but the blood covering Manny’s fur was too much to take and several rookies began playing in the falling snow as Wisconsin readied for the second half.
Almost all Hodags had experienced Regionals, but the first-time players weren’t really getting the message. “There is no way the most important game of the year could be anything near this shitty,” exclaimed Dan Park, flatly refusing Cullen’s insistence as the snow flurries swept his face. When Matt Crumb made it to the line he joined in, “You had better believe it baby! Playing CUT in Regional Finals in snow storm cross winds is the bomb!” Mas-Guy just shook out his flowing hair and ripped a bomb to Where’s Wiseman? for the big sky. Matt Crumb raced for the dump and started talking smack in all directions, “I came to ball today, cuz I do it for the kids! For the kids damnit!” screamed Crumb as he cracked a backhand to Animal for the break 7-1. Manny was still very angry about halftime and almost exploded with rage when he saw Tom Murray saunter out onto the pitch with some very tight very red jet pants – swishing with every step. Consumed with rage and in a 5-2 set, Animal goes deep, calling Murda under for obvious reasons. Masler is still standing with the disc, as all resets had moved downfield. Janet powers up and rips a ridiculous deep bomb – an explosion of fury and the sideline erupts with an emotion filled version of “Oh hot damnit, this is my Janet!” Jasler just pumped his fist and pointed to the sky as Animal skied for the break 8-1. Texas State was pretty much unphased by the Hodags antics and calmly walked to the line muttering, “It is sooooo cold.” And it was pretty cold considering several Bucket’s were somehow still in shorts and a short sleeve jersey, while the Wisconsin sideline was huddling near trashcan fires. Texas State scored to make it 8-2 and even traded late into the game 11-4 as Jerome was making plays. Feldman’s life was twice more proverbially threatened, before it was outright exploded “I’m gonna kill Feldman!” as Hollywood had tossed his 3rd straight turnover on the point, two of which were upside down. As the game ended, most Hodags ran to the cars to grab more clothes and all those at the fields, huddled together like penguins, capturing heat with every armpit.
The second game was against North Texas and Two-Face Klane flipped his own special coin during the flip and mysteriously chooses the wind. Wisconsin makes chilly work of North Texas, scoring meticulously as Darth Klane was ripping high release flicks all over before Bjergies finds Talter on the O2 score 1-0. However, UNT wants to work and is playing with something to prove, as they score easily 1-1. Animal surely scowls as he prowls off the field, staring down and breaking two different kids with popped collars as Drews does the dirty work, hitting Gaynor down the line 2-1. North Texas really wanted to give it to the Hodags and scored downwind again 2-2. The game conditions were worsening and the level of respect between the teams was tanking worse than the S&P 500. UNT was working the disc upwind, getting unders to midfield when the deep shot came. North Texas called much needed strip and things exploded altogether. Even the sideline was heckling this one, “You are lying to yourself and everybody here!” It was to no avail and North Texas State broke upwind several passes later, seizing the lead 2-3. The Blodags were generally annoyed with this outcome until Bergen was an idiot and served up a floaty 500 ball Callahan, forcing Wisconsin to walk 80 yards back to the line down 2-4. Muffin found Foster near the middle of the field, “Do you want to take a timeout?” J-Lo just glared at Bjergies until he hollered out the starting D line. As Animal walked to the line he was ready to point fingers, “Remember what I said at the beginning of the day? If you let the Offense play too much, this type of crap is gonna happen!” Everyone on the line giggled a little bit, save Yossi and Crumb. Old Man Young, having been on the team for his 7th year, knew exactly what needed to happen. Animal just needed to be released back into the “wild” so he could go “Aggro” on somebody. There was only one way to out Aggro the Animal, it would involve “making plays.” Crumb immediately interrupted Animal’s defensive call to step out of the line – using his most hostile Old Man Voice. “I am a Hodag! I make plays! You wanna see the fandango? You had best believe that I’mma showman! Better than Manny even.” Every eye on the line was rapt with attention as Crumb was talking big game right to Animal’s face. If this came down to intimidation, Manny had never lost. “Just give me the disc. Feed me the ultimate – I will carry this team myself!” On the first play, Matt Young went deep and skied for the catch. Two passes later, Crumb had scored the point, closing the game to 3-4 as he yelled, “I am the reincarnation of the FrisbeeMonster! Roooofffeeeeeooooo! Bingo bango! Aaahhh-shheeeiiit!” As Yoshmee finally cracked a smile and chuckled at this Old Man Crumb outburst, it was clear that Wisconsin was having fun again. Wisconsin immediately stacked the next time, determined to get back an upwind break. Jimmy Foster was ready to respond, bombing an inconceivably big backhand bomb, as Manny skied for the goal 4-4, complete with a head spike, dancing, and singing, “I can do whatever I like,” in his best T.I. impression. UNT recovered long enough to score downwind, again taking the lead 4-5, as Wisconsin was yielding too many unders. However, Manny was a man on fire and knew what had to be done. Without any hesitation whatsoever Animal takes the field with swagger rivaling Lucifer’s himself – before scoring O2 from Darth Klane, putting the Hodags even 5-5. Wisconsin knew it would take work to pull themselves out of the S-box (less than 38 degrees) long enough to end this game from these dark conditions. Wisconsin put out a dominate line and it paid off, as Jimmy Foster allowed Tom Murda to sky for the goal 6-5 and half, as Murray hollered about his rager for Jay-Lo. The halftime speech was not pleasant as Hodag studs who had been there before let the Feldman have it again and again screaming something like, “Hit the freaking ground, break their ankles, win each individual match-up with your work ethic. The HODAGS rely on each other to be fudging crazy, get crazy D's and rock the fudge out of our opponents.” As Feldman yawned, Bergen quickly slapped him in the face and glared as the rant continued, “When someone scores, we rush the field and let the other team know that they do not belong within 100 miles of us. We succeed and fail as a team. Not as individuals. Let’s take North Texas by tornado.” And that was all that needed to be said as Wisconsin took the field with a steady determination. The Hodags generate a turn and work it upwind as Masler finishes deep 7-5 to Matt Crumb who shouts as running deep, “I believe in you Janet! If you believe, you can achieve!” And Jasler needed every word, for he ripped a solid flick for the score – the first time all day Jasmine hadn’t immediately turfed his flick huck (~12 yards) into the brutal upwind. As UNT sulked back to their line, several players could be heard muttering amongst themselves, “Why do we get broken so much?” Wisconsin takes the line with energy seething from every player and the Wisconsin Defense had that malicious look in their eyes – like their unrelenting work ethic could not be denied. It was all man’s D as Cinnamons makes a play and then Double Happiness as he scores from a Jake Smart super sniper bomb 8-5, dunking pretty nasty-like on the UNT defender who gets pretty pissed about the over-the-top spike. It was like the flood gates had opened wide and the few Wisconsin fans cheered, “Hodags Gone Wild!” A landslide of emotion leapt from the Hodags as Jasmine was ready to instill some pain, finding Adam Drews for another break now 9-5. Wisconsin was firing on all cylinders and taunting the clearly thirsty UNT with jabs like, “Water makes ya tired! Water makes ya weak,” in their best southern accents. This caused UNT to pop their collars once more, but this only caused the ravenous Hodags the desire to punish more – and it was all Animal, hitting freshman JohnKillStrong for the goal 10-5. It was game point Blodags, and the lines finally loosened, allowing pirate YoshMee into the game. Freshman Jerry made a nice layout attempt before Shmeee is taken out in the lane hollering, “Damn crocodile!” In the midst of the confusion, North Texas bombs it deep and scores to make it 10-6. Manny lets out a roar of disgust, knowing the Offense would have to enter the game one last time to finish it. Ben Feldman rocketed a flick deep and Foster brutally skied the 500 people pile and finished to Ron Bjergendy 11-6. The conditions turned steadily more sour, windy, and cold as Wisconsin groaned at the knowledge of having two games left on this dark and gloomy Saturday.
As Wisconsin did some more penguin warmth huddling, it was time for some deep shadow games – like those the Hodags loved to play in the Northwoods. Shadow games involve playing under the radar and choosing the appropriate moments to finish their victim, something every mature Hodag knows how to do, especially Gaylord Ganjies. Kansas was next on the docket and under the leadership of Axel, really wanted to give it to the Blodags. Evan Two-Face Dent again flipped his mysterious double-sided coin and somehow won the flip, despite the 15 flip-flops the wind did to the other disc. Wisconsin chose wind and started on Offense, much to Animal’s chagrin. However, the pre-game pep talk was quick and to the point – “We will have to choose who lives and dies” starts Tom Murda. “And someone on that team over there, is gonna die! Because I’m not wearing hockey pads and I’m ready to layout into some backs and earn my TMF’s.” Cullen’s vexation showed in his face, as the C Monster was the reigning TMF Champion, having earned several backpack awards last season. As Wisconsin cheered, “No mercy; punish, destroy, consume,” Tim Pearce could be seen from a great distance, obviously outside of the huddle, barely even wanting to be there as the Hodag roar rang loud and jumbled in the gusty winds. The Wisconsin Offense takes of business as Adam Drews rifles a shot to Jay-Fo-J-Lo 1-0, and a half-hearted rendition of OOOooooOOOoooo Sucks! On the line, Yoshmee is adjusting his pirate eye-patch as Masler smirks and sprouts off some smack talk to the disc, “I’m gonna rip this guy so hard, they are gonna think Mike Jones had a hand in it.” Animal responds, “Who?” “Mike Jones!” “Who?” “I said Mike Jones,” roars Jasler as he put a scolding hot ripper into the atmosphere. As the disc is floating, Foster decides to enact some revenge on Kansas from CCC 2005 and whipping out his wand, wordlessly casts, “Confundio!” As Kansas sets to catch the pull, it plops right off his mittens for a drop. Yoshmee charges the scene in excitement, looking for opportunities to plunder and disparage. But Janet takes control and sets the isolation play, easily hitting Tom Murda for the chilly break 2-0. Shamanimal, complete with his sock sleeve, sends a towering pull deep and Kansas has their hands full just fielding it. The hitch pass is immediately turfed, still in the end zone, and Jake Smart wonders out loud, “Was that for reals?” Shamanimal is left with no choice, but to finish O2 to Jake for the break 3-0. Kansas was giving Wisconsin freebee points left and right and Wisconsin had done everything short of water-boarding the Horrorzontals at this juncture. It took the Horrorzontals three attempts just to score the downwind 3-1 as the conditions worsened yet again and the wind swirled. The Hodag O-face wasted no time scoring as Evan Dent hucked deep to Jay-Lo 4-1 for the flip spike. Kansas was getting desperate as their offense was still turning the disc, forcing Axel to get a nasty layout D en route to scoring 4-2. Madison was still scoring easily downwind as Jon Gaynor found Straight Drooze for the midrange score 5-2. Wisconsin is again coming dangerously close to a lull as the 2008-09 Hodags are not quite as committed to dominating as they should be – unwilling to punish lesser teams and twist the dagger, rather content to play with their food. This should be obvious as the most important game the majority of the current team has ever lost is Vegas Finals 2007 or maybe quarterfinals of Centex 2008. This would explain why the two biggest haters on the team – Animal and Foster – are the only two players who know how it feels to lose an important game. They know how it feels to lose at Regionals, to lose at Nationals… they are the only two players with a real perspective. Despite Yoshmee, who just knows how to lose. Sooner or later they will need to translate this desire to the current crop of n00bs who have been spoon-fed victory after victory. However, there is a diamond in the rough, Cullen Geppert – who believes in hard nosed defensive work. Cullen sets the tone by example getting an under layout D, popping up from the ground pumping his chest. Wisconsin quickly turned the disc back to Kansas and the C Monster went back to work, getting a second poach layout under D, again popping up, beating his chest and pointing to the sky and the Northern skyline, clearing gesturing towards Katie in Michigan. But the inexperience of Wisconsin was unmistakable as another Masler huck upwind went barely 20 yards before dropping harmlessly to the snow covered ground. Tomacide Murda, determined to not be shown up, uses his head and leaps for a D in the lane, yelling to Cullen that he can get D’s too. Again Wisconsin would flounder opportunities, giving the disc back to Kansas. Cullen is finally ticked off at the handlers and gets his third layout D of the point, this time on the far around breakside, swinging his fist into the air and glaring down T-Murda screaming, “They are who we thought they were!” But the heroics of Cullen and Murda would not be enough to overcome the futility of the handlers as Yoshmee and Masler continue to give back to the disc and Kansas scores 5-3. Despite the defensive struggles, Wisconsin took half easily as Feldner put a nice disc down the line to Jay-Fo for the score 6-3.
The halftime huddle was not a pleasant one as Animal again put his heart on his sleeve and hated on everyone who needed it – maybe not even as hard as he should have. “Look around! You see that beast on your chest? That’s a Hodag, and we sure as hell ain’t playing like it!” Looking into the eyes of his teammates, it was clear to Foster that these ‘kids’ had not the slightest idea of what it took to win. Infuriated by this realization and this being his last season, Jay-Lo decides it is time to pump up the Blodags, “Since we are too young and inexperienced to be good, what we’ll be calling on is good ol’ fashioned blunt force trauma. Horsepower! Heavy duty cast iron pile driving layout D’s, that will have to hurt so much they’ll rattle their ancestors! Every time you hit them with a shot, its gotta feel like they tried kissing the express train! Yeah, let’s start building some hurtin’ hucks!” Evan Dent explodes with maniacal laughter at this pump up speech and vows to rid these barren MLC of every enemy combatant. The invigorating half-time speech did little to increase D lines efficiency at scoring upwind, clearing missing the 85-yard upwind hucks of Morfin. Axel Bramhead was the driving force for Kansas making plays to keep it 6-4. The Wisconsin captains decided it was time to put in the work as Jimmy hit Klane for the quick score 7-4, as the gloved Kansas pullers kept popping off some haggard looking poop bombs. Kansas continued to score downwind on a second effort play and the game was still close 7-5. Straight Drooze is getting annoyed with his teams lackluster effort and screams at the Defense as they walk off the field, heads down, “Always run as fast as you can run! If your not running ya fastest, you are pretty much pointless – and that goes for everybody on the team!” After a moment’s pause the normally cool headed Drews adds, “Sorry, that sounded kind of jerkish… but suck it anyway!” The fire-starting captains were again in control as Two-Faced Klane found Jay-Fo for the score 8-5, yelling at Yossi to not be so chunky. Yoshmee takes it serious, vowing a personal vendetta on his waistline as he gets a goal saving layout D. The Yosh, was nearing exhaustion but needed revenge, as he weaved upwind with Manny and Mas-Guy before bombing to Cullen for the sky break upwind 9-5. The Hodags rush the field, in a torrent of excitement as blood leaks from their mouths as the devoir the fallen Stegosaurus that the C Monster immediately kills with his deadly spike. However, Bergen is mostly a vegetarian and is suddenly in the mood for pancakes and even a pick-up game of dischoops. Bjergies immediately challenges Kansas as he magically transforms Missouri into his own personal backyard disc field – complete with rising mist and flair-filled fanciful outfits for his Hodag teammates. Kansas is confused by the new rules and accidentally travels, which Klane calls from the sideline, resulting in a turnover by rule. Bergen rushes to the disc and puts a show for the ages, complete with several swim-move-side-arm-chicken-wing-push-pass-daisies before dishing to a wide-open Manny, setting the pick between Phenamial and the defenders. As Bjergies holds off both defenders he yells to Animal, “Huck the ‘bee – HUCK IT!” Manny rips a flick deep and Dan Park rips it down for the score, leaving Bergen to proclaim, “Game Blouses.” Kansas is getting pissed with all these antics and scores to make it 10-6. Tim Pearce finally gets back into the game, but doesn’t get a chance to juke his defender as Darth Klane rips a ridiculous 85 yard backhand Boom Headshot to the free running Ganges for the win 11-6, but not before wiping out on the slick field, getting the worst of his shit-talking Karma.
Wisconsin again feasts on the sideline, wishing that Iowa would just get over here so the Hogags could beat the crap out of them already. The pre-game huddle was quick and to the point as Foster went of the finer points of “The Secret Power of Within,” touching on all of Chuck Norris’ finer kill moves. This fires up the Altered beast as he finishes the cheer with a riveting Hodag roar. But it was clear from the start that Iowa would not be taking any of Wisconsin’s shenanigans as the Hawkeyes played through a down disc and a sweet Cullen Geppert layout bid to score 1-0. As Evan Klane takes the field he yells some inspirational words to the D Line, “It’s no fun to be easy.” Alterzone plays like a man, getting a layout snag catch to save possession before Two-Face Dent takes no mercy on Iowa as he hucks deep to the speedy Hollywood 1-1. Iowa is not impressed and scored just as easily, snatching back the lead 2-1. Up to this juncture, Iowa was talking shit. They were spitting trash after every point and spiking the disc. It was firing Jimmy Foster up and heating up the situation. After a specific terrible call, Iowa was at it again, pointing fingers and shooting curses. “This type of disrespect would not be tolerated,” thought J-Foulliard, as he drew back his sleeve and drew a certain jagged dagger. Iowa must have missed it in the commotion of the foul call – and soon, without warning J-Flow as face to the face to player. “You want to know he got these scars?” J-Faja pulled back his shirt revealing beaded scars whiplashed across his back and the teeth marks deeply imprinted upon his biceps. “You see my teammates are a little crazy. Sometimes they go too far – they don’t know when to say no.” The Iowa player began slowly backing away, now keenfully aware of the glistening dagger clasped firmly in J-Foulliard’s hands. Iowa players were stepping forward left and right, “Let the call go, just let it go man!” But the Joker was still walking forward slowly, smacking his lips, his eyes blood red. “You want to see a magic trick?” The Iowa player’s face was ghost white and his cleats now seemed stuck into the ground. J-Flow stepped closer again with a wide smile and growled, “Why so serious?” The Iowa player suddenly recovers his voice and squeaks, “Contest – I can’t cheat to win.” As Foster raises the dagger, Gaynor moves in quickly, catching J-Flow’s wrist as he is about to strike. “No J-Faja, we finish this on the field. Frankly, this can wait until the proper time.” The tension suddenly breaks and the teams are playing ultimate again – but J-Fear was a man possessed, racing all over the field and playing ridiculous D. The Defensive intensity was beginning to heat up, despite the miserable frozen conditions as R.O. Gibralter gets a sick nasty layout D on the goal line, allowing Hollywood Feldman to huck deep to Jimmy Foster 2-2. The calls are coming left and right and every point is ending in heated discussions and controversy as Iowa spikes it and walks away 3-2. Foster continues to dominate, hucking to blown coverage wide open Jon Gaynor, sneaking deep and tying the game 3-3. Iowa attempted to keep in place, but desolation hit them with crippling strength, and they faltered as Masler D’s a disc on the breakside. The Yoshmee juked for an O2 and had perfect power position, giving way to his voice velvety soft urging, “Someone, anyone, make a damned deep cut.” Adam Straight Drooze got the clue better than Vanna White as he pulls away from his defender easily, scoring deep 4-3 for the first break of the game. Wisconsin was thinking fire and brimson; the Hodags were gonna make it rain with pain. Jay-Flow acts out his own preference for justice as he closes the skies deep worse than Stout. Evan Klane promptly shoots his lazer beam deep and Hollywood’s first cut was the deepest, scoring the break to lead 5-3. Iowa closes their eyes as they walk back to the line, trying to get back into their sanctuary of pearce while the Hodags scream the dirtiest things they’ve ever seen. Iowa is able to block out the turmoil long enough to score quickly now 5-4. Wisconsin’s starting seven sauntered to the line, unconcerned with Iowa’s newfound confidence as Jimmy Foster growls, “They need to genuflect with some respect.” Jon Gaynor called the play, but it was easier than intended for Iowa was pulling out of bounds maybe to half field. The River Ganges still set up his man to race deep on the third sequence; waving his hands and calling for the closed casket as he scores easily 6-4 for halftime.
Wisconsin pulled everyone into a tight huddle as the chilling elements were testing the Hodags resolve. “This is the last half of the day. Empty the tank!” proclaimed Captain Jay-Foulliard as Davidman just shook his head. Animal was distracted, suddenly in his own head wondering, “Why is this game close? Why haven’t we demoralized this team entirely and eaten their souls. What would Shane do?” Infuriated by his betraying thoughts, the articulately angry Animal leaps into the fray, interrupting any and everyone as he shouted, “My fate is manifest destiny and I will conquer this region!” The Hodags are truly inspired as the Offense takes the field to start the second half, as Iowa quickly pulls OB for the nth time in row. Wisconsin makes swift work of the point as Gaynor scores his third time in four points, hitting J-Faja for the floating goal 7-4. Iowa is getting desperate as the margin widens, shooting insults and talking shit, trying to throw the Hodags off their game. It was working as Iowa started trading with the Hodags, making it 7-5. Madison would walk it off like Stephen Hawking as Lazer Klane found Alterzone for the weave goal 8-5. Iowa had last year’s Regional MVP Zach Eastland on the sideline’s, as he encouraged his Iowa students not to be intimidated, shouting, “We can do it!” Animal snickered as he learned over and whispered to the naughty princess Jasmine on the line, “We can make it look like a suicide – even a little artsy?” Masler looked at the Phenaminal with horror in his eyes, seeing the Animal clearly for the first time. “No Annen, we should let them score.” Shaminal stalks off looking disappointed as Iowa made it 8-6, still within striking distance. Meanwhile, Bergen heard the mutterings of his West High School teammate and knew action needed to be taken before The Animal went all-aggro. Bjergies calls for the disc and rockets a super sick flick down the line to a high-stepping Hollywood Feldman for the goal 9-6. Iowa slammed their mittens to the ground in disgust, knowing Wisconsin was just too strong to take down. There was no choice, the cheating had to begin immediately. The calls came hard and fast as Jon Gaynor supplied two straight D’s giving the Hodags chances to close the door, but Iowa held in there, eventually scoring to make it 9-7. John Bergen puts the hammer down and scores as quickly as possible to the Altered Beast, putting the lead at 10-7. As Bjergies pumped his fist leaving the pitch he screamed to the Defense, “We finish on D!” As Animal set to pull one more time he fumed to his teammates, “This is like ThunderDome! Two will enter and we need to leave!” But it was to no avail as Iowa punched in another score, cutting it to 10-8. Animal was dragged off the field in a furious rage, beyond mad and threatening lives left and right. It would take 6 chances for the Wisconsin offense to close out the game, but Darth Klane finally completed a pass to Gaynor for the win 11-8. The handshakes were quick as Iowa reminded Wisconsin that they would be seeing them tomorrow and probably in the finals of Regionals again. Wisconsin hurried home to shower and relax out of the frigid cold.
The rest of Saturday night was complete with dinner, a showing of “The Dark Knight” and then a second Sonic dinner. The majority of Hodags were frantically doing homework until about 1:30am when the last of the Brodags fell asleep – enduring riveting nightmares and contemplating taking sleeping pills. The captains had finally delegated most wake up responsibilities to the travel coordinator Naughty Princess Jasmine. But this was no kidding matter to the Jisler, smacking people out of bed at 7am sharp – well before J-Fo would be seen crashing into the bathroom. Sunday morning was new ray of light because the sun sneaked out from behind the wall of dark clouds and the temperatures relented from the previous high of 38 the day before. The wind also dropped off slightly and made for much better conditions for elimination Sunday. Wisconsin was on the hard side of the bracket – set to play Colorado State first and eventually Carleton in semifinals before Colorado in finals. Teams were still bundled so tightly their dark colors rarely matched – but now most storm troopers had removed their face-masks and were clearly visible for the first time.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
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Classic City Classic
Tournament Pictures - Chad Borer
As the Hogads departed for Georgia, the snow began to fall in waves of sleet and mush. The pasta dinner the night before only intensified the excitement as the team watched a very awkward 2005 Jim Foster lose in the finals of CCC to a ringer laced Kansas. As the very last car departed, chalk full of Hodags, Animal immediately put in his earplugs and did his best Joey D impression - toning out so hard that he couldn't find his highlighter - which was hiding behind his ear. The last car would undoubtedly arrive too late for a hotel, and would suffer for it, because the other half the Blue Dragons stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night - so if anything they will play really smart tomorrow.
Jimmy Foster was most pleased to wake up at 5:10am to let the last car in the door. The captains meeting was set for 7:30 and the Hodag captains assumed games started 1 hour after that - at 8:30am. That turned out to be an incorrect assumption and the majority of the Hodags arrived at the fields just 15 minutes before game time. North Carolina State was the first round game and apparently had some ballers who had been playing with El Diablo, a week before at Club Nationals. The Hodags were not impressed as pajama pants wearing Jake Smart hit Tom Murray for the first break 1-0. Wisconsin arrived onto the fields as mercenaries from the North, prepared to finish breaks without mercy nor concern. Jimmy Foster kept the Hodag Offense on serve as his big loopy flick to Gaynor put the Hogads up 2-1. Feldman tried to huck through a mark and was promptly knocked to the ground and came up scowling. NCST continued to keep it close at 2-2 by taking deep chances, but Foster responded by getting gaping unders and hucking a flick bomb to a wide open Adam Drews 3-2. Tom Animal began asserting his will now, hucking upwind to Gaynor who finished to John Armstrong for the break 4-2. After another NCST turn, Manny rips a backhand through a foul and traffic, hitting an NCST player square in the face. Tom Murray made a nice layout bid and a ridiculous Manny IO floater to Jake set up a huge bomb to Diablo Donovan, who finally scored to Adam Cinnamons 5-2. NCST tried to make some pick calls to stay in the game, but a Feldman anvert huck to Gaynor took the Hodags to half 6-3. During halftime the Hodag huddle blew up as the captains were pissed about the level of intensity, as well as the propensity to give up open unders. NCST was being more physical than Wisconsin and that was really ticking Foster off! Devan Blaine also lambasted the Hodags about their sideline and positioning on the field - hammering in defensive principles that Hector had instilled during the first Hodag practices of the year. As the second half began, Adam Drews bombed a flick to Foster, who dished to Animal before finishing to Zach Alter for the spike 7-3. Jake Smart would turf a goal line throw before Chris Pearce got the D back. Janet ripped a deep huck to T-Murda and Wisconsin was suddenly well in control at 8-3. NCST tried several more desperate calls, saying one disc was down in the end zone, but the Hodags were having none of it as Foster reiterated during a timeout, "No one plays harder than the Hodags!" and the team agreed with a giant roar. The Wolfpack gained some last minute momentum as Blaine did a disappearing act with the disc as the hitch and NCST kept it close before bowing out 11-7. Jimmy Foster went +6 with 2 sky D's and Jon Gaynor was right behind him at +5.
Wisconsin brought it in after the game and refocused on the goals of the day - playing open lines, on the hip aggressive defense, and dominating in the air. Next up was Georgia Tech, who challenged the Hodags to a close game at CCC last year. GA Tech started on offense and worked it in for the goal 1-0, putting the pressure on Wisconsin to respond. The Hodags stuck with the plan and played completely open lines and it worked as Bergen hucked an IO flick sky ball to Gaynor for the two-handed grab before hitting John Livestrong for the tie 1-1. Ben Feldman had a chance for a layout D, but slowed down thinking, "There is no way he is throwing this," right before the throw went up. GA Tech was keeping pace as the wind picked up mostly upwind-downwind before scoring to lead 1-2. This pretty much just infuriated the Hodags, as Manny screamed for a biger contract. Soon Feldner was sprinting wide open deep but the immediate Lazer huck had too much juice for Feldman to haul in. However, Benji was able to put the finishing touches on the point with a nice looper to Jerry McGinnis for the tie 2-2. The Hodag intensity was picking up and Janet hucked a full field bomb to Alex Cinnabons for the break sand lead 3-2. At this point, 5th years Animal and Foster begin to take over, hucking to each other and getting the disc at will to lead 4-2. Georgia Tech tightens the game to 4-3 as their main dude skys for another deep shot. GA Tech is now raising up their defensive pressure and Animal is once again trapped on the sideline at stall 9. Manny puts up a 55 yard blade hammer right down the line that lands perfectly in Jon Gaynor's hands for the hold 5-3 and GA Tech is without words for that effort. Wisconsin rubs it in by screaming, "You can't stop that" and "OoooOOooo Sucks! Beef Stick! Eat Fish!" That type of crazy intensity propelled Wisconsin into half as Drews hit Devan Blaine for the break 6-3, after Lazer bombed a huge backhand to the seemingly unguardable J-Fo. The games were going fast as they were only to 11 and GA Tech seemed to be hurting themselves with a wide array of awkward drops. During the halftime speech, Captain Evan Klane reiterated that running your balls off on defense was a must and that if everyone was only playing 5-7 points per game - then you shouldn't be tired on the field. The words were taken to heart, but the defensive pressure was waning as break mark goal line flicks were really hurting as the game traded to 7-4. Newcomer Dayu Liu tossed a bladely flick to Dave Wiseman who backpedaled and elevated for a two hand clap and hard landing, knocking his hat off and sending his glasses flying as he spiked the disc 8-4. That would be the last break of the game as both teams missed opportunities to capitalize, especially Davidman who missed a perfect chance to sky on D, so good that it was tastier than ice cream with sprinkles on top. Tommy Sanchez reeled in a sweet full extension layout catch off a Lazer backhand bomb 9-5. J-Fo ripped a big loopy flick to Murray for the sky catch to keep it 10-6. Alex Simmons and Jon Gaynor made back-to-back sick layout snatches to keep possession on offense, as Cinnamons finished to Manny 11-7. Alex Simmons and Jimmy Foster both went +3 for the game as Wisconsin rolled to a 2-0 start. Wisconsin had just finished a perfectly open game and was now getting some rhythm as even the video camera made an appearance.
Next up was Alabama and in the pre-game huddle, Wisconsin was preaching breakside defense on the goal line and putting together some runs on defense, because there was only 1 break in the second half against GA Tech. Jimmy Foster was mid-rant when he said, "That last team was awful and this team is even worse (insert C1 quip)." Animal the Hater was the only one to laugh, for he was one of the remaining few Death Eaters who knew the powers of the Dark Arts. However, the Alabama team who had been watching the entire last game, seemed up the challenge of hanging with the Hogads. Alabama tried a deep huck on their first possession and Jon "River Ganges" Gaynor came in as deep help and skied the 5 player pack for the D. Alabama was able to eventually score on a doink and second effort layout snag and then used zone to generate a turn and punch in a break 0-2 on the Hodags, spiking both discs. The open lines tightened immediately, but there was no tension or anxiety - just the determined attitude to mess this team up. Feldman hucks a super bladely flick to Gaynor, who accelerates for the catch 1-2. Wisconsin breaks downwind as Animal hits Zach Alter O2 for the tie 2-2. Alabama scores again to lead 3-2 and is feeling pretty good about themselves. Feldman takes this opportunity to completely implode, throwing a hammer turnover in the zone and then a flick huck out the back, blaming receivers all over the field. Eventually Benji finds Adam Drews for the goal and Wisconsin ties it 3-3. Wisconsin was now getting pissed and is no longer content to trade - upping the intensity. Janet throws a huge pull to the back cone and Alabama turns it on the goal line, allowing Evan to break to J-Fo who finishes on the breakside to Pat Donovan 4-3. Yossi throws a sweet IO break to Cinnabuns, after Gaynor saves possession with a sick layout grab. Davidman gets a poach layout D in the lane and Bergen jacks a flick to Murray as Wisconsin steals half 6-3. The Hodags are feeling good and amp up the pressure, allowing no more open under cuts and Alabama resorts to punting sky balls. The Hodags chill it out and walk the disc both upwind and down as Animal throws a perfectly placed huck to Alex Simmons 8-3. Jake throws a push pass to Alter for another break 9-3 as Wisconsin lands at OATBA going upwind. Tom Murray is a baller as his trifecta hat trick of D's on the point ends with him limping to sideline as Alabama finally scores on the breakside 9-4, ending Wisconsin's run at the coveted oatbag. Feldman hucks the last two goals to Adam Drews, the last one a sick backhand bomb as Wisconsin moved to 3-0 on the day, winning 11-5. The Hodags went into the bye round feeling confident that with an actual warm-up longer than 15 minutes - that they could play even better.
Wisconsin came off the bye round with crisp throws from a solid warm up and seemed to be hitting stride. Jimmy Foster wins both flips for color and starting on Defense and celebrates with a loud howl! The game begins instantly in controversy and bad blood as Pat cuts across a defender, trying to sky a deep huck. The defender calls a foul as the disc soars over his head, into the bidding hands of Cinnabuns as he lands in the end zone. The disc goes back and Foster was freaking out - just absolutely losing his stuff with incredulous remarks about the legitimacy of that call. Wisconsin puts in the double score as Yossi finds Jake Smart on the O2 and Jake immediately goes for the angry spike, staring down several Lead Belly's on his post-spike steps 1-0. Jimmy Foster rips a ridiculously big pull and the Hodags cover well, eventually scoring on a push pass, Devan Blaine to J-Fo 2-0. Foster rips another huge pull and Wiseman hucks it deep, partially handblocked, and Feldman skies Murray for the upwind break 3-0. The next Hodag to show his fangs was Monster Masler as his back cone pull pushed Ohio State deep in their own territory. Lead Belly put a nice huck and John Armstrong made up 5 yards over the 50 yard sprint to layout in front for the smack D. Pat Donovan immediately skies deep and finishes with a loopy flick to Alex Simmons for the 4-0 ruthless start. Ohio State finally scores and celebrates loudly, but this wasn't going to help matters. Zach Alter ripped a 75 yard forehand sniper bomb to T-Murda for the easy score 5-1. Soon after, Tommy tossed a floaty break upwind and Animal was flying knee-tackled to the face as he stood OB in the back of the end zone, and Pat doinked the easy catch. The disc went back and Gaynor hit Feldman for the break 6-1. During halftime, Wisconsin talked about pwning, playing hard defense, and finishing teams when they are down. The second half began with Jimmy Foster flying all over the field, completely unguardable getting open deep and more gaping unders. J-Fo eventually got the disc and had a visionary moment, throwing anvert deep to space seemingly to Cinnabuns, but Uncle Gerry flew in for the snag catch and spike on Simmons for the 7-1 lead. Gaynor tries his first huck of the weekend and Ohio State capitalizes to score 7-2. With the game in hand, Animal relaxes and decides to help The Ohio State out as disc flying OB is greatest back in bounds for a 20 yard loss by Animal, who commented, "Hey, at least I looked good doing it!" Animal continued his physical play, running into players as Big Pat D'd a disc with his shin. Eventually Tommy scored from Devan Blaine and the Hodags were poised to dominate some more 8-2. At this point Chris Pearce had seen enough and predicts on the line that he will score, which he does and finishes with a flourish and spike that Tim would be proud of 9-2. The next point turns immediately into a marathon event and 7 turns later, Jake finds Murray for the score 10-2. On the final offensive point, Feldman makes a break side cut and is clearly open. Bergen, afraid to break the mark, looks him off and Feldman is freaking furious and shouts, "I'm gonna kill you Bergen!" and then screams "Crucio!" As Bergen completes the swing, he crumples into a heap, crying for Lil' Schotty as he screams like a little girl. Bergen is able to regain his composure long enough to hit Cinnabuns for the finish 11-3 as Foster smashed coolers and chairs into the ground. After the game Ohio State is wandering about the supposed C1 meeting after the rounds. Animal mutters, "Yeah, we had the meeting and they said you are out of C1 because you suck." Ohio State hung their heads and walked away, knowing that none on their team had the appropriate amount of flair to compete with Manny.
Wisconsin had 15 minutes until the next round began and spent it promptly laying on the sideline, reminiscing murdering The Ohio State - because as Devan Blaine said, "Man they sucked." However, Jimmy Foster didn't win the flip as promised and Wisconsin was forced to start on Offense. Wisconsin moved the disc easily to the goal line, but a covered Armstrong cut the cone was D'd as John yelled, "No, No!" However, Feldman was eager to finish the point with a big flick 1-0. Pitt hucked and skied to make it 1-1 and then was jacked up enough to play hard defense. Wisconsin was able to score in two passes as Feldman was wide open deep and Evan bombed a perfect backhand to lead 2-1. At this juncture BellaDonna showed up and Yossi promptly took off his shirt and flexed in the warm sun. As the next line was being called, Yosef was sure to get on the line, ready to make a play. Four passes later, Yossi closes on the under cut and makes a huge over the shoulder layout D, flexing his guns and howling for the girls pleasure. Manny immediately punches in the goal to J-Fo, spiking it hard for the 3-1 lead. Wisconsin pours on the pain as Pat gets a sky D and Feldman jacks a huge skyball and Monster Masler skies his dude and jams it into traffic to Murda for the score, chest pounding and fist in the air for the 4-1 lead. At this point, Uncle Jerry skies for a deep D on #2 of Pitt, who calls a box-out foul, claiming to not have been able to jump. Nobody likes the call and several passes later, #2 scores in the back corner and spikes the disc into Gary's feet - getting scathing looks from the Wisconsin sideline and a full disc punt from Jerome. However, Pitt uses the momentum and breaks to 4-3 as Feldman mails in a deep misread D which is cleaned up by a Pitt garbage man, scoring upwind. Jimmy Foster is again enraged that his deep super sick sky catch wasn't converted and urged the Hodags to respond. Pitt goes junk and Bergen finds Gaynor for the goal 5-3 and then Wisconsin breaks to take half as Jake throws a 70 yard head level flick fastball to Pat 6-3. Wisconsin is rolling and happy to respond by taking half. The Hodags are starting downwind, but it becomes another marathon point before Feldman finishes to T-Murda now 7-3. Yossi gets a second sick layout D and BellaDonna squeals in delight before Yosef finishes double happiness to J-Fo and makes the jerk it motion 8-3. Zach Alter pours in another break to Gaynor as Wisconsin takes a commanding lead 9-3 and becomes almost bored with the game. The first lull of the season commences and Pittsburgh puts together several breaks in a row, including a Manny handblock on the upwind goal line. The game tightens to 9-7 before J-Fo calls a retaliatory time out and tells everybody to take a deep breathe. The universe upwind O-Face enters the game and takes care of business as Drews hits Manny O2 for the lead 10-7. Wisconsin puts out a fresh line and Yossi hucks to Murray deep before finishing to Cinnabuns for the game winner 11-7.
Wisconsin was disappointed to discover that there was no tournament party, but took solace in the fact that Minnesota killed Florida in pool play 11-5, yielding a first round match-up with Florida in quarterfinals tomorrow. The Hodag domination of the day included J-Fo at +11, Ganji at +12, Feldman & Simmons at +8 and Manny & T-Murda at +7. The Offense struggled late in the day and only converted at 78%, while the blistering D line scored 56% of the time on the field. Sunday morning will be the first real test for Wisconsin, and a rematch of 2008 National Finals.
The Hodags of Wisconsin went back to the Holiday Inn Express happy, exhausted, and with a sense of steady determination. Right after pool play, Madison was under the impression that Florida had been eliminated from quarters and that UNCW would be the first round opponent. This was just Minnesnota trying to mislead Wisconsin and lull them into a false sense of security. Wisco was confident that whomever the played on Sunday, their opponent wouldn’t be able to match-up with the speed of the Hodags. Many of the top Wisconsin studs and first year freshman were falling asleep without regard to the surrounding habitat. But the party animals and true ballers refused to sleep and instead ordered pizza, demanded the presence of Tim Pearce, watched the very finest youtube videos (Call On Me!), and put together the worst negative highlight video imaginable (starring Zach Alter!). Sophomore Dave Wiseman got a total makeover as he shed his long hair and glasses for a buzz cut and contacts – making him look intimidatingly scary and imposing at his 6’4 stature. Jimmy Foster straggled into his hotel room at about 12:40am, stepping over the asleep Bitterman and Yossi in the hallway, before jerking Muffin out of his trance involving raucous techno music and the ITunes visualizer (which Princess Jasmine has been known to stare at for hours).
The Hogads were sure to wake up on time for Sunday’s games and feasted on an awesome continental breakfast complete with cereal, sausages, cheese eggs, Cinnamons rolls, and delicious coffee. Tim Pearce was again mingling with the Hodags during breakfast and even went so far as push into several UNC players in line for breakfast, stating causally, “Out of the way, the Hungry Hungry Hogads coming through.” The first round of quarterfinals started at 10am and Wisconsin used what little space they could claim for their warm-up drills. Meanwhile Coach Muffin was interrogating Coach Charlie of Minnesota to give up the inside details on the Packers worse than Brett Favre – looking for any intricacy to Florida’s offense which could be exploited. There was plenty to say as Favre described the various sets and audible packages that Brodie would call from the stack, as well as reliving the FL vs. MN game for the #2 seed. It seemed that Florida was tired for their fifth game of the day (go figure) and seemed content to let Michael Aaronson go Kurt Gibson on them, basically doing everything from start to finish. Cole Sullivan made a spirited attempt at getting into Mike’s head with some atrocious fouls, which worked for about half a point, before Michael realized that he could dominate pretty much everyone on the field – and that as competitive as CCC was, it wasn’t quite as intense as Club Nationals. As the anticipated FL vs. WI match-up loomed, Foster flipped against the terrible trifecta of Brodie, Windam, and CVA – electing to start on defense. The Hodags were looking good, complete with the Sunday Baby Blue, but they were auspiciously lacking the regular super intensity to begin the match. It seemed that only the veteran returners were aware of the circumstances as most rookies were content to yawn as Jimmy & Darth Lazer screamed words of encouragement and deepest loathing.
As the captains had previously decided, Wisconsin was to take the lead and then loosen up the lines - allowing rookies a chance to make plays. Brodman was first to strike blood, bombing a backhand to the back corner, also utilizing a banishment spell to quell Diablo's presence and scoring 0-1. Madison's Offense takes the field with a swagger, as a nasty line of super fast cutters were generally considered "non guardable." Adam Drews takes an immediate under and whips it up the line for a silly Feldman sky and flip spike 1-1. Wisconsin was hesitant to get pulled into "Florida's game" of standing in a vertical line and trying not to get yelled at by Brodman. It was now clear why everything thought Kurt was always "yelling at" his teammates - the fact is that Captain Kurt was really just giving directions, like "Tommy go deep already, I'm fudging being brutally double covered right now." This “giving directions skill” was also something the Brodman had inherited from his time with Florida, and now he was that guy who was forced to do everything. But Florida was missing their deep hucks by just a little, as the marks and junk of Wisconsin was just too dominant to overcome. Tom Murray cuts for an under and bombs upwind to Cinnamons for the sick sky, but sure enough, it went back on a violation call. But the Mas-Guy wasn't flustered, as the disc came back probably 63 yards on the call. Jasmine was not to be discouraged or denied and several every other's later, Janet rips a huge IO flick to Alter who skies 3 Gators in traffic, and finishes +1 to Diablo for the 2-1 lead. Florida stiffened up and prepared to do battle with every strategic ploy they possessed - while Wisconsin dropped a pretty decent D line going downwind. This was the defining juncture of the game as the marathon deep shotfest was consistent with Florida's decision making. Mas-Guy was pumped up and continued to play baller, skying for a D and ripping two perfect hucks deep, to which only Adam Drews could drop both, slipping through his supergrip fingers. Freshman Uncle Jerry was also in a heated match-up, pitting big man against very large unshaven Brodman, but Uncle Gary was in his shorts and bodying him all over the field. The Hodags needed all 5 shots to score the 15 minute point as Jake Smart eventually rifled a head level flick to Gaynor for the score 3-1. Florida now has their backs against the wall and are getting desperate, forcing another huck bomb deep into traffic. Benji Feldner is in the area for the poach D and resets the disc to Manny. Animal powers up his flick and rips it right into the marks foot, sending the disc sky high. A pile of players is patiently waiting, but Diablo Donovan shows his powers of levitation and swoops in, ripping down the disc in between defenders galore. With the plunder seized, Donovan resets to Alter who finishes quickly to Hollywood for the break and kickball spike 4-1 Wisco. Lil’ Jimmy Foster grips the pull and using his entire 6’7 wingspan, absolutely destroys the pull, sending a nasty floater and pinning Florida real deep in their end zone. However, Wisconsin has definitely left the lines wide open, and with the inexperience, is not able to lock Florida down, giving the Gators new life as they finally convert a low and straight deep shot down the line as the poach is late 4-2. Cyle breaths a deep sigh of relief from the sideline, no longer concerned about getting completely shutout. Wisconsin pumps up the pressure on Florida, but Sullivan is determined to foul his way to the lowest spirit score ever, hacking Manny 4 straight times, before Animal gets salty and whips a hammer to the River Ganges for an easy score 5-2. Florida goes immediately to their bread and butter, bringing Brodie into the backfield to get more touches (and trying to huck to Kurt) before getting brutally mark blocked on the near sideline. Animal is generally incredulous with the call and the sideline crowd lets Florida have it – heckling, giving brutal cat calls, and a rousing chorus of boos that only a Muffin at Nationals could relish. Florida indeed scores, closing the spread to 5-3. Brodie Smith continues to be the only standout player for Florida, getting an under layout D as well as a ridiculous full extension flailing lane jumping bid about 4 yards off on a lazer huck that he takes like a sliding hockey player in the hip – about 3 feet horizontal in the air. It was at that point that Wisconsin fully realized just how big of a frame and unshaven face Bodie had, and just how much smaller every Hodag other than Shane was, that was guarding him. Rolling on the momentum and the cheating brutal hacking fouls by Cole Sullivan, Florida breaks the Hodags with a fast huck down the line 5-4. Wisconsin is working the disc through the zone and finally breaks through the cup as Feldner pivots through a foul, hitting Animal with lots of open space along and the River Ganges flowing nearby. Meanwhile, Florida hears the foul call and "thinks" they hear "travel" because they are so used to hearing “travel” after the cup gets broken. However, this was not the case. As Florida players halted everywhere, frozen like red-light green-light, Manny was frolicking through a valley of statues, throwing his dirtiest dischoops moves, before giving it the clap spike from the MastaGanji 6-4. There was nothing to argue and Florida took the line with sour faces, determined to stay in the game. The Brodags continue to play the lines open and Florida scores off an under poaching mistake to make it 6-5. Madison is playing a solid O Line by now and Lazer finds gets a good O2 before ripping a ridiculous IO backhand to space, giving the speedy J-Fo plenty of room to run it down 7-5. By now the Gators have come to an exasperating realization, “Man, these guys can really run.” The Blodags stack the line to take half, but Florida resorts to hucking to their top stud, putting up a huge blade to which Brodie can box out and sky the undersized Benji 7-6. Wisco punches in a push pass goal, despite the brutal fouling, as Hollywood finds Bergen to take half 8-6. Madison is feeling comfortable with the lead and decides to keep the lines as open as possible, wanting to get the new players in on the feeding frenzy.
As the second half starts, Wisconsin begins to utilize the infamous early 1990’s Carleton sponsored Trident Spread (which will undoubtedly arise next weekend at MLC) – thoroughly confusing Florida and allowing murder and havoc with soft IO’s. Gayor and Foster combine on the destruction, scoring an unconventional look to lead 9-6. The Hodags are going upwind now and after a Princess Jasmine sick layout D in Brodie’s face near midfield, the huck is completed to Benji near the cone. Two passes later the finish cut to the cone is dropped and Florida seizes momentum, as Brodman throws a hammer to make it 9-7. A rare drop gives the Gators all the opportunity they would need as the game closes to within a single point 9-8. 5th years Foster and Annen meet eyes on the walk back to the line, and is one simultaneous command they scream, “Hodags do NOT drop discs! That is fudging unacceptable!” As soon as Manny can calm down enough to stop choking Feldman, Animal breaks the mark something brutal to the widely flowing River Ganges 10-8. It was getting late in the round, the soft cap looming in the distance, and Florida was looking to get within striking range. Wisconsin leaves the lines open, believing that their depth with eventually make the difference. Evan Klane gets a D in the lane and Alter sends a rocket flick down the line. Diablo is closing quickly into the space and near the back of the end zone, Donovan has a picture perfect chance to make a 15 foot layout catch of his life, but can't make the Harrison Ford leap of faith. As Pat pulls back, fearing injuries worse than death - he draws the unmistakable ire of his dark master - Darth Klane! Florida wastes no time with their possession as Smith jacks another deep looping huck to a single receiver as 3 Hodags converge. None of the Brodags can get to the spot as the receiver pulls it in, eventually scoring 10-9. And this is when the Hodags really needed observers for the first time all weekend. First of all, Florida gets a layout D, as Feldman throws into another turn - but what else is new. Florida works the disc to inside the red zone and then is struggling to keep the disc moving against the in-your-shorts tight goal line defense of the Hobags. At stall 9 a dying wobble of an O2 pass to the middle of the field puts 4 players in position to have a shot at the disc. Darth Blaine is clearly first to spot, ripping a catch D in full stride. However, Bergen was guarding the Gator the disc was intended for, and the box out position of Bergen was said to be cause enough for a foul, despite the poach D. A 10 minute discussion, right into and through the hard cap, couldn't settle anything. The Gators needed that call real bad, and despite how much angry disbelief Foster showed or the calm well-reasoned replies of Master Blaine - it was no use. Florida desperately needed this call and wasn't going to back down with the game on the line. As soon as the disc is live, Florida scores the last 3 yards to tie the game 10-10 – setting up universe point. During the insanity of 10 minute entire team argument - the captains had overlooked the hard cap rules - and for now it was universe point. At this point, Wisconsin hadn't realized the game was this close and James Foster Jr. was damn near livid with the situation and Florida shenanigans. Hurricane Foster storms to the line and furiously presses his Dark Mark. Animal instantly appears at his right hand and Tom Murray at his left - for these Death Eaters held no remorse for slaughtering the wicked. Darth Blaine and Feldman were quickly joined by Gangji and Drews - giving this line speed over speed. The pull was centered to Manny and Feldner was given a free under, taking the yards and quickly hitting Drews. Without even a single spin move, Tom Murda has the disc and is loading up, bombing a backhand to Hurricane Foster, rampaging deep, and blood leaking through his jersey with every step. Florida sensed their demise and sent three defenders deep, but none could catch J-Fo nor the game winning spike that went through the trees and rolled down the road, 11-10 Wisconsin. Madison had finished like ballers, not ever giving their opponent a chance with the disc to win. Florida took it gracefully and took strides toward becoming a team - taking solace that they had played the defending national champions to game point. As Wisconsin took a deep breath, it was clear from the post-game chatter that Gaynor was not to be stopped, scoring 5 times and Manny chalking up 3 more. The Hodags were also happy with the amount of D's, as Madison punched down 11 in the game, and Murda, Evan, Masler, and Jake all getting at least 2, not to mention the super dirty Princess Janet layout D, literally in Brodman's eyeball.
After the exciting conclusion, Wisconsin readied itself to hit full stride in semifinals against North Carolina. As the game is set to begin, both teams make opposite chunnels to celebrate the starters as Jasler, Manny, Mr. Murray, and the River Ganges strut to the line. The River Ganges loves to play UNC, vowing to shoulder the burden and make his best babyface during the D point. In no less than 30 seconds into the game, the Hodags turn suddenly ruthless and savage - exposing fangs and claws and taking out as many Darkside players as possible. One particular player couldn't take the pain, "Noooo! Fudge!" The crowd hushed as the trainer came slowly onto the field, carrying Vitamin I and red bulls. Muffin wonders out loud, "Why do you think he screamed fudge so angrily?" Diablo leans forward, "Probably because the trainer isn't hot enough." There was nothing to do; the teeth marks on his ankle and the internal bleeding in his leg were too much, as SeaMonster of GA drove him away in the water filling golf cart. As soon as play resumes, Adam Drews gets a deep D. Immediately, Gaynor was all action to get the disc, dominating unders and resetting dumps. However, Babyface Gangji hits his quota of spin moves at 4 less than when Adam Drews usually becomes aware that he is doing the Crazy Frank pivot spin move. Darkside needs only two attempts before punching in the goal and celebrating by spiking the disc 25 yards off the field into a tree 1-0. Zach Alter was so excited to finally be a Hodag he jumps the gun and sky balls a disc to somebody who obviously can't just as high as Will Lokke, resulting in a turnover. It seemed that Wisconsin was still convinced they needed to huck, having been partially brainwashed by Florida. Animal snaps back out Florida's mind control scheme long enough to demonstrate to Bergen how to properly break a mark. At this, UNC becomes chippy and #13 brought back two Alter hand blocks on close plays, clinging to the 1-0 advantage. Manny gets another deep D and double scores on the goal line - completing the marathon point upwind by utilizing easy unders 1-1. The game remains wide open as the Wisconsin D Line has 4 chances to break, while UNC was bleeding huge unders. However Wisconsin was still in the huck first mentality - bombing regardless and missing the easy opportunities while trying to make the big play. UNC finally gets lucky on a huck and scores to lead 1-2. Feldman takes advantage of the big unders and gets a good luck at Cinnabuns, leaking icing on his way deep, and hauling in a big looper to tie it 2-2. This was the breaking point of the game as Wisconsin made a gritty goal line stand and JonKillStrong got an all effort D. Manny eventually got a pitch he liked over the center of the plate, and ripped a huge IO flick into space, praying that Armstrong could overcome noob status. John "Murder He Wrote" Armstrong hauled in the goal and Wisconsin rushed the field as the Hodags took the lead 3-2. UNC was getting nervous, throwing a low huck which Tomacide skys for the D right in the lane. Adam Drews eventually gets trapped on the line after his 6th straight spin move, and just HAD to throw is lefty hammer, finding a space with two wide open Hodags, as T-Murda skies Wiseman and brutally wipe spikes the disc on Dave to make it 4-2. UNC calls a timeout and the Hodags freak out, "Why do they call timeouts? Because they're scared!" J-Fo was so pumped he grenade launches a giant outside in backhand hanging blade which lands back corner and rolls to an unsteady stop - completely killing UNC’s first set play. On the run down field Foster announces to all, "How good are my freaking pulls - Seriously?!" Lil' Jimmy follows up his big talk by hitting Dan Park for the break now 5-2. The Hodags were starting to pull away, but the wind had certainly made the game contested to this point - as 55 minutes had already elapsed to play 8 points. LiveJonStrong is so excited about dominating that he holds nothing back - determined to do something as vile as "eating a soul." UNC puts up a deep pass and Feldman is again poaching deep - but Benji plays it awkwardly and can only barely mack the disc. But it certainly gave the bidding JonKillStrong a better shot at the disc, and John goes big and hard, smacking the disc... right into the UNC receiver's outstretched hand. The trauma of the collision went from moderate to extremely savage as the pile came crashing down, so violently the ground ripped the disc from the receiver’s fingers. The 2nd impact was only amplified by Armstrong landing squarely on his chest, and put over the top as KillMode monkey barrel-rolled over his head, adding dirt and sand to his wincing face. UNC cried "Oh Uncle Jerry!" and relented a bit, taking a full 15 minutes to cart the 2nd player to go down off the field. It was ruled a foul due the murder beginning prior to the drop and this deadly play was in clear violation of the Geneva Convention, which it now seemed are rules that the Hodags have ruefully ignored. However, after the 26 minute delay - UNC subs in and calls a timeout?! "WTF is that?" sneers Animal. “Didn't you just have 34 minutes to set a play?” It was clear the UNC was now stalling - trying to keep the game close and hopefully hit the cap. UNC punches in the short goal making it only 5-3 Wisconsin. This is about the time Georgia shows up, apparently having perfected their heckling skills - undoubtedly with several years of practice watching semis and finals. Wisconsin only thrives off of trash talk and the fresh Offense is rearing to dominate as Feldman hucks pretty nice to J-Fo who is unbelievably sky D'd in the end zone. Newcomer Davidman gasps at this play, “Has that ever happened before? I’ve never seen Jimmy not make a play on a disc in the air!” On the second go around, the point finishes as Simmons skys deep and floats up a pass to Drews for the sky spike score triple combo 6-3. Madison keeps the defensive pressure on, generating more deep turns from UNC. Janet lofts up a huge curveball that sails around the length of the pitch, hitting Tomacide in stride 7-3. The Hodags are prepared to take any measures necessary and with a boot to the neck mentality - there was little Darkside could do, but turn it over quickly. Zach Talter gets a swing and loads up a boom headshot to a jogging wide open Jimmy Foster 8-3 and halftime. Madison rushes the field, happy for a blowout, but the captains vowed more, "You see this?" As Foster pulls a gleaming jagged dagger from his shorts. "That is how you stab with the dagger," suddenly jabbing it into nearby Jake's left calf. Smart is streaming with tears, but doesn't dare move for fear of retribution from Darth Blaine. Without warning, Crazy J-Fo now has a dark gleam in his eyes and face more determined than Dexter. "And this is how you twist the dagger!" Foster’s childhood friend, shrieks again and shudders on the ground, irreparably harmed, but in a flash of light, Jake is healed as Darth Klane sneers, "Beware the wrath of the Hodags!" But for all the drama and puzzled looks on rookie player's faces, it was actually the Offense's turn to play, and Bergen was so excited to finally play, he needed anything but a Red Bull. The Hodags hold out of half easily, despite UNC’s zone efforts as Gaynor rips a perfect midrange bomb to a wide open Alex Cinnabuns 9-3. Wisconsin now opens up the lines and Uncle Jerry proves he can pivot with the best of them – clearing space with very hard pivots and rough elbows. UNC is able to score and tighten the game to 9-4. UNC again employs a zone to try to slow Wisco down, with their sidelines screaming, “Body up those crashers! Knock those fudgesticks over!” North Carolina was surely buying into the hate, but did not have the dark heart to follow it up, giving up a double score as Feldman (gaining confidence in his IO flick) bombs twice in a row to Adam Drews for a cartwheel spike 10-4. UNC makes it 10-5 on another completed huck. Adam Drews is proving overwhelming to the Darkside as Straight Drews speeds for an easy under and bombs to a wide open Chris Pearce to lead 11-5. UNC is able to keep pace, scoring to make it 11-6 just as the girl’s start horn is confused with the soft cap – as Cinnabuns spreads rumors and attempts to undermine the stalling effect. The wind picks up and UNC intensifies their zone, getting a turn from Hollywood Feldner who had his heart set on bombing this year and liked a dubious match-up, sending it deep as Jasmine barks, "Ben I hate you. I fudging hate you Ben." UNC would break back to 11-7. Again with the zone, but the poppers decimate it with quick disc movement upwind until Animal finds Drews to lead 12-7. The hard cap sounds and the game is officially over - but the Hodags agree to play one more point. The closest thing to an all n00b line took the field, giving Yossi once last chance for a big layout, skidded to a halt more gracefully than a bearded walrus, but UNC scored anyway to make it a respectable 12-8. Adam Drews had apparently taken up a personal vendetta against UNC, scoring 5 times and snacking on 2 D's.
Meanwhile, it is 12-12 universe point next door with Notre Dame battling Pittsburgh to the death. The team exchange deep hucks and conversations before Pitt lands a finishing blow 13-12 and the right to lose in finals of CCC 2008. Pittsburgh is eventually able to switch fields and J-Fo lets them know right away, "Game time is now." Madison starts on Offense as Zach Talter bombs a laser forehand deep to Benji Feldman 1-0. This quick start got the Hodags in a full fledge frenzy, ready to consume any pure soul they might venture across. Manny started the action hot by getting a sky D, breathing a sigh of relief and muttering, "No Pebbles." Yossi loaded up a flick which was mack D'd, but nonetheless caught by Gaynor who finished to LiveJonStrong 2-0. Pittsburgh calls a timeout to collect themselves, clearly concerned about getting completely shut out. Wisconsin brings in the huddle at top tier rage - screaming, "Why do they call timeout? Because they're scared! Who wants to get a fudging D?" At least 10 Hodags thrust their hands in the air and steped forward, beating their chests and in Yossi's case, stripping his shirt, hoping Belladonna had finished their games for the day. "Who's tired?" The war cry was no one as Wisconsin readied to break again. J-Fo juices a pull OB out the back because he is so excited to decimate on Defense. Pittsburgh takes their time before a rabid Jimmy Foster closes quickly on an under cut makes a perfect layout D. Pittsburgh rookies can barely contain their looks of shock and fear at the sight of such a man-child. Meanwhile, Animal pulls a swim move O2 that is so filthy, a foul brings it back. Manny is unphased as he finishes to Uncle Jerry 3-0. Tom is in the zone and bombs an anvert IO huck to Dan Park who scores to Gaynor for his 1st ever college assist 4-0. Pittsburgh is able to stop the bleeding and connect on a huck as Alter gets lost downfield. The Hodags needed to score to take Pittsburgh completely out of the game and had two shots at it as Drews throws a nasty O2 pass to Alter who tries to jam it into Simmons at the cone for a turn, and then later in the point, Talter again hucks it to Cinnabuns who can't come down with it. Pitt is fed up with Cinnamons and breaks to make it 4-2. The Madison West handler duo of Animal and Bergen combine to keep Wisconsin rolling 5-2 with the Swingtime cheer "OOOooooOOOOooo Sucks!" Pitt puts up a double helix jack and scores it, now 5-3. Jon Gaynor and Ben Feldman do most of the dirty work, getting huge unders before Feldner breaks the mark brutal to Bergen, who finishes to Chris Pearce for a 1 handed snag because Tim doesn't like to pancakes 6-3. ESN keeps it close using breakside lazer hucks to their fast kid as the poachy sets of Wisconsin are unable to contain the bombs 6-4. Pitt is trying to stay competitive, but a brutally terrible pull comes up way short, yielding field position again. The Hodags can't punch it in and Pitt tires to huck until Alter steps in for his 5th handblock of the weekend. The points are sloppy downwind and Pitt gets another chance, throwing midrange across of the middle of the field and also when when #5 of Pitt makes a suspect strip call as Adam Drews flys in the catch D – similar to Darth Klane’s catch D late in the Florida game. However, Pitt players are not quite as douchy as Florida, and eventually relent the call in the best interest of spirit. Feldman bombs big huck deep and the sideline comments, “That is a nice throw.” But Jake is quick to chime in, “Nice throws don’t have defenders near them!” The marathon ugly point continues and the River Ganges flows swiftly for a layout under D, as the Hodag n00bs scream, "Sick!" Gaynor puts the finishing touches on the point, ripping it to Drews who calls a timeout on the goal line. Manny has to finish the point, DH to the Ganges 7-4. Wisconsin throws out another fresh line and ramps up the intensity as T Murda makes a nasty under layout bid and Zach Talter responds to that with a good around the back layout D strip play, but Pitt scores to make it 7-5, sticking around. Ben Feldner is starting find his groove, ripping a backhand to the non guardable Adam Drews 8-5 for half. Wisconsin is getting angry (pretty much all the time) and urges the team to give everything in the last half of the day, especially on man defense. In the second half, Wisconsin starts playing in-your-pants man D until Pittsburgh cannot handle the pressure. Masler gets an O2 and bombs to Uncle Gary, allowing Foster to finish to Yossi 9-5. The game trades until a foul-turnover discussion gets going and the controversy turns ridiculous as both teams admit not knowing the rules. Players off the field convince the thrower that it goes back, when it should have been a turn - whatever. The argument goes so thorough that bystanders cheer for change soon, "Conference One! C1!" Benji bombs a flick upwind to J-Fo, finishing to Drews to lead 11-7. With the points so ugly and long Bergen is livid and ashamed of the Defense for not finishing and demands to play a D point. Jon Raynah riles up the sideline determined to give a full effort. Janet da Princess Jasmine rips a nasty IO to Animal, but sails all the way to Murda in the end zone for a violent spike 12-7! Foster is still not satisfied, and screams for hard marks as Pitt tosses a lazer goal despite the WI efforts to play tough and physical. Klane rips a full field huck to Feldner to make it 13-8 after Alter's 9th and 10th handlocks of the game, not to mention his 2 layout snags to save possession. With the weekend winding down, Jasmine rips a moonshot backhand similar to the number of Z’s on a pull, letting all 14 players have a shot at it. Jimmy Fosters skys a whole pile with a solid read and immediately rips a blade to Gaynor upwind, forcing Ganji to accelerate for the slider catch 14-8. By this point, Pitt has some despondent looking dudes on the sideline who are not only getting killed in finals but also with a partially shaved head. Darth Klane finishes to Chris Pearce with a solid spike and chest bump, ignoring the original called iso Mingie Benji 15-8 and the Blodags rush the field. Pitt can only comment, "Chalk up another one for the Ho-Dags."
WI kept the pressure on both halves, taking 3 breaks in both, but J-Fo was not safisfied screaming, “I want to score every point!” He springboards off that idea saying, “They should never score upwind, especially deep!” It was a solid weekend altogether as the Offense went 50/62 to score at 81% and the D went 43/87 scoring at 50%. Foster carried the load with 72 points as the other studs played at least 60 points. Gaynor wins fantasy at +24 without throwing barely a turnover, leaving Foster, Animal, Feldman and Drews to fight for second ranging from +18 to +13.
After the Hodags celebrated the victory, they made sure to cool down as best they could without doing any stretching whatsoever – for fear of tearing their huge muscles. They also made sure to not play through any slight injuries, fearing their symptoms could develop into something worse - a principle Dan Miller would be proud of. After a quick circle jerk, the Hodags gather their championship glasses for the fourth straight year as Murda chimes in, “4Peat in the eyeball.” The Hogads celebrate properly by taking a team picture and heading straight to the Dragon Buffet for feast on baby lamb flesh before heading back to the frigid tundra, barely studying through the dark night, to take tests first thing Monday morning.
Back in the chilly caves of the Northwoods, the Hodags get two practices within the sacred “Shell” to prepare for MLC. However, these practices were full of implementing zone, which involves a lot of talking and explaining, which was dull business to athletes eager to murder and consume souls. The last practice on Thursday was a fiasco, as the off-the-bat scrimmage was without intensity or proper defense, as the O-face goes 0-5 on possessions. The Defense plays well enough, but two-time Captain and leader Jimmy Foster is freaking angry mad. He calls for a team huddle and berates his team for playing like pussies, not running hard, and wasting our valuable practice time. Manny takes the worst of it for 5 straight minutes before exploding, “Practice? Practice! How the hell can I make my teammates better by practicing?!” Diablo couldn’t contain his laughter and proclaimed, “Manny’s stock has to be rising, I’m going to hold onto Animal Corp stock for this weekend, because that shiz is gonna skyrocket!” Wisconsin is definitely excited to play CUT in finals with a full squad and concuss some CUT bitches KillStrong style stamping their dominance on the Central Region. However, Manny did admit , "They are better at cheating than we are." There are still many questions for the Hodags as they perform at MLC – like if Talter will lead the negative highlight reel for drops or if the captains will get the team to the fields with more than 15 minutes until game time. Of course the fans want to know the over-under on how many people KillMode will concuss this weekend and obviously, what is the lowest temperature at which Yossi will strip his shirt off when the Bella ladies saunter by? Lastly, how many more feminine nicknames will Jasmine/Janet get this weekend?