T-Town Throwdown: 2012 Recap – Prequarters

by | February 10, 2012, 6:55am 0

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Alabama vs. Harding

Starting on offense, Apocalypse came out in a horizontal stack. Typical of many teams running ho, cutters looked for an immediate dump or power position dish after earning an under. This worked well for Harding as they came out firing, taking a 1-0 lead. However, Alabama was ready for war after their crushing loss to Ohio State the night before. After holding on offense, the defense quickly forced two turnovers on an Apocalypse offense that was heavily reliant on the deep ball. Subsequently, Alabama was able to convert on both of these chances, running a vertical stack through Michael Venezia and Brian “Bieber” Bartlett.

Battling back, Harding stopped the bleeding and was able to score twice in a row and tie the game on an assist from Taren Goins. Alabama continued to cruise, as Brian Moore hit one of his favorite targets, Matt Hardman, for the quick offensive hold and the 4-3 lead. Off of a deep D by David Anderson and a poach by Venezia, Yellow Hammer broke two more times before the end of the first half, leading 7-4. The field erupted with cheers from the large hometown sideline of Alabama, while Harding was as silent as could be. Given the mood of the game and since Alabama would be receiving out of half, I considered this game a done deal. With three other prequarters games to cover, including the Georgia Southern vs. Tennessee matchup located some distance away, I decided to walk away…making one of my biggest mistakes all weekend long.

I returned to this game since I heard a ton of noise being made by the small school from Arkansas and found myself amazed to find Harding leading 11-10. With Alabama on offense, Daniel Gilstrap hit Matt Hardman upline to tie it up. With intensity and pressure reaching their peak, a “decade point” (10+ turnovers) ensued, where both teams were making a ton of mental errors. After a heavily contested up/down call against Bartlett, Yellow Hammer finally brought an end to the madness, as Moore threw the around to Anderson for the 12-11 break. After throwing it away on a deep shot, Goins got the D back for his team, leading to by a big one handed layout grab by Nick Doores from Tucker Bankston.

Getting a hand on an around break attempt, Gilstrap once again came up big again for the Yellow Hammer defense. After some solid dump-swing offense, the Alabama tandem hooked up again, Hardman blew right past his guy, receiving the upline goal from Moore, just as soft cap blew: 13-12, game to 15. I would try to explain how awesome the last few points were, but I’ll let the following video do the talking:

Final Score: Harding Apocalypse 15 – Alabama Yellow Hammer 13

Auburn vs. Ball State

The Wizardz vs. Tigers game started off on serve. As I turned to watch some of the action, I found myself watching a balanced attach from Auburn, who was using the full width of the field. Just outside the endzone, James McCracken threw the upline goal to Trey Russel for the 2-1 lead. After a Ball State turnover, Will “Bama” Drumright forced a Tigers throwaway with tight handler defense on the dump. Striking immediately, Drumright sent it deep to Dana Granholm for the Ball State hold a 2-2 score. At this point, Hans Rasmussen started to really assert his dominance as he was able to get up to D an Auburn deep shot. A Ball State handler tried to return the favor as Hans was cutting upline, but a defender got position to make the play first. Smacking the disc instead of catching it, the Tiger broke one of the cardinal rules of defense and the speedy Rasmussen was able to run it down and give the Wizardz the break and their first lead of the game.

In the next two points, big pulls by Ball State played major roles in early turnovers by Auburn and subsequent breaks, with both assists coming from Luke Broderick. At this point, Auburn began abandoning the grinding offense in favor of a riskier style of play. Trey Russel was able to break free against Ball State, earning himself the disc on the goal line after an uncontested foul. Off of a timeout, Stephen Brandon beat his man to the cone for Auburn’s third goal. Quickly returning the favor Granholm gave Ball State the 6-3 lead off of an easy dump swing opportunity created by a Jake Johnson deep cut.  The Wizardz used the long ball again to finish the first half up 7-3, this time with Mike McClain getting the boost from Rasmussen. In the end, the play of Brad Smith, McCracken, and Russel were not enough to stop the onslaught of Ball State, who ruled the skies with Rasmussen, Granholm and athletic freshman Travis Carpenter.

Final Score: Ball State Wizardz 13 – Auburn Tigers 7

Cincinnati vs. Tennessee-Chattanooga

Picking this game up as it went to half, I found Tennessee-Chattanooga up 7-4. Coming out on offense, the Cinister looked like a well-oiled machine as their cutters were constantly in motion and resets were always available. After some impressive looking flow, Scott Schriener found what he was looking for as he sent an inside-out break flick huck to Gus Misleh for the 7-5 hold. With my first look at UTC, I found that they too had a consistent vertical stack offense that kept the disc in the middle of the field and rarely forced the issue. After wearing down the Cincinnati defense, Player Pierce found a wide open Charlie Coffey with a perfect flick put to space.

Trying to stop Cinister’s flow, Tennessee-Chattanooga came down in a zone. However, with the wind virtually non-existent, Cincinnati looked like a totally different zone O team than the day before, tearing through the UTC defense with relative ease for the 8-6 hold. Just how much more UTC was outworking Cincinnati on O became very apparent on the next possession. Tennessee-Chattanooga never took any unnecessary chances, with a Pierce to Michael Boven hammer sounding a lot harder than it looked.

With a slip on a dump pass just outside the endzone and a first throw turn on their next possession, frustration was reaching its peak for Cinister. As Cincinnati was at one another’s throats, Blake Waldron sent the short outside-in flick to a rising Charlie Coffey for the 10-7 break as UTC did not look back on their way to victory.

Final Score: Tennessee-Chattanooga 13 – Cincinnati Cinister 11

Georgia Southern vs. Tennessee

The Georgia Southern vs. Tennessee game was the only prequarters game located in a different spot. While I was able to see some of the game from afar, it was hard to discern any of the specifics, including the game’s count. Reaching the sidelines just after halftime, I found an Eagles team playing strong, despite Jericho Barbour not suiting up. Down 7-5 at half and pulling, Georgia Southern was able to force a turn and generate a break off of a Channing Watson break backhand to Matt Altieri. After this, Tennessee applied a level of pressure that could not be recovered from, with their cutters having no issues in a tightly run vertical stack. Agent Orange consistently worked the dump swing all of the way up the field until just outside the endzone, where Mark Allmon cut upline and towered over a poaching defender for the 8-6 hold. Georgia Southern continued to show their youth and inexperience as a midfield miscommunication led to another Tennessee break, this time with Matt Ractliffe striking to Trey Williams on the force side.

While the Eagles were certainly playing better in calmer weather conditions, they looked like a team that was still trying to find their identity. Their physicality and athleticism were definitely present, but that was not enough to compete with Agent Orange, whose Tanasi players were also performing significantly better than on Saturday.

Final Score: Tennessee Agent Orange 11 – Georgia Southern Eagles 9

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