The first half of this game was one of the most physical and intense halves of the entire NexGen tour to date. Despite the sweltering heat (the heat index at game time was 108F), both teams came out playing stifling man defense. NexGen capitalized on their first break opportunity (in the game’s first point) only after completing a number of high stall resets in their march down the field. Truck earned its break back and many more at 3-2 (NexGen): one swing miscommunication each and a NexGen goal line turn gave Truck the disc deep in its own territory, and Truck’s D-line worked the disc the length of the field to even the score. During the next point, a stranded Cody Bjorklund had to toss up a high-stall hospital pass, allowing Truck to get the disc back, huck for a break, and take its first lead of the game at 4-3. Truck cashed in another break on the next point, but not before NexGen mounted an impressive red zone stand that forced lots of horizontal disc movement and a Truck red zone turn. NexGen’s legs seemed to fatigue as the first half wore on, and Truck converted another break and a hold before Jonathan Neeley ripped an OI flick bomb to Jeff Wodatch for half, 8-4.
Wodatch’s reeling in of another long ball opened the scoring in the second half to secure yet another Truck Stop break, 9-4. The rest of the second half saw more NexGen experimentation with clammy and junk looks, but none seemed to slow Truck Stop down. As NexGen’s defense grew more tired, Truck’s handlers continued to abuse the break side with high release backhands (among other throws) that sat perfectly in the muggy Arlington air, and Truck’s O-line cutters worked almost perfectly in sync. NexGen opened up its deep game much more in the second half, allowing Nicky Spiva, Jimmy Mickle, and George Stubbs to showcase their athleticism and snag some quality hucks and 50/50 discs. Though the second half ended even, at 7-7, NexGen never really made any sustained comeback run. Sean Keegan closed out the game for Truck Stop with an absurd elevating hammer grab over Stubbs.
I am not as familiar with Truck’s D-line personnel, but Truck’s captains did a great job using the team’s depth to put fiery D teams out on the field repeatedly; so hats off to that faceless army. Although NexGen’s D was stout early on, Truck’s O-line cutters just warmed up and went to town as the game progressed. Alan Kolick released some ridiculous break throws to keep the Truck offense moving, Keven Moldenhauer worked hard to get open almost at will, and Wodatch and Sean Keegan made some highlight reel grabs to save possession and score goals—Keegan even had a few stellar puts of his own.
Stubbs’ throws were absolutely on, per usual. Spiva showcased a few more of the pretty OI flicks that came out in the Chain game and played tremendously in the air (I would be surprised if his second half grab for a goal isn’t the Patagonia Play of the Game on the NexGen website).
Truck did a great job containing NexGen’s deep game in the first half. A certain degree of that success also depends on NexGen’s patience in the first half, which was apparent, but Truck ran hard, threw some straight up marks on, and made sure there was always a deep defender behind NexGen’s vert stack.
NexGen’s poachy, zone looks are starting to be more easily figured out. Truck might have taken a few throws to navigate around said poaches, but they did so with ease on a few occasions. On the whole, Truck’s O-line really clicked, as well. A number of offensive sequences that looked like strings called on the line worked without hitches. I’ll be the first to admit it—Truck looks better and played better than I thought they would/did.
As you’ll see in the interview with Spiva below, NexGen’s dump sets were not clean tonight, and they had a harder time getting away with that than they did against Ring. You’ll also hear that NexGen had a number of forced and unforced errors—a few NexGen guys seemed a bit trigger happy in the red zone, and that hurt both their O-line and D-line.
NexGen’s marks were also subpar in comparison to past performances. They contained some around backhands early on, but the inside lanes were wide open and almost uncontested later in the game. Overall, Truck just kept up their defensive intensity longer than NexGen did, and Truck’s depth helped accomplish that end.
Full photo gallery available here: http://www.ultiphotos.com/nexgentruckstop
If, after watching this game on UltiVillage in the coming days, you think you saw something else, don’t hesitate to comment and keep the discussion about this game going. Make sure to keep checking the NexGen website, Twitter, and Facebook page for updates as the tour progresses.
Here’s the interview link if the embed fails: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-I6sZxF_bI8