So close, but yet so far.
PoNY had Ironside seemingly on the ropes, but didn’t have enough to finish the job. Despite New York carrying a lead late into the game, Boston would break to take a 14-13 lead. PoNY would hang on to force universe point at 16-16 before Ironside’s Danny Clark struck deep to take home the win 17-16.
As much as this meeting looks like a meaningless game from the outside, with Ironside playing with tryouts, and the game not being sanctioned, this had the feel of a late season match up. Both squads had easy roads to the finals, being able to rest players in earlier blow outs ensuring that the finals would not be a test of depth, but rather star players playing fresh. With the absence of Southpaw, Truck Stop, and GOAT, teams featured in Boston Invite 2011, this was the one and only game that both teams would be tested.
There was a bit of question whether or not this would be a game, as a miscommunication on PoNY’s opening possession led to an easy Ironside break, and a 1-0 lead. PoNY would battle back on the strength of its defensive play, with Andrew Wilkes laying out past George Stubbs for the block, and PoNY punched in the break, bringing the game back on serve 3-2. Seth Crockford added another block, this time in a goal line stand while matched up against Peter Prial. (Prial would exit on the play with a foot sprain, sitting out the rest of the game, but it didn’t appear to be too serious.) New comer David Ferraro displayed his speed on the ensuing possession, running down a long Chris Gore flick huck for New York’s last break of the game, going up 5-3.
The Ironside offense and Stubbs went to work for the rest of the game. Stubbs showed why he’s considered one of the best players in the game, going deep several times and skying his defender for good measure. PoNY was doing everything they could to hold on, with Ben Van Heuvelen providing the necessary creativity to hold early 5-3 on a stall 9 throw to Jack Marsh. While New York’s offense seemed to be surviving, Ironside’s offense started to make things easy. Several possessions of dump swing end zone offense was pleasing to head Coach Josh McCarthy, who remarked “That’s Beautiful”. Regardless, PoNY’s offense traded out for an 8-6 half time lead.
The seemingly inevitable happened in the second half as the Ironside defense clamped down. Smooth defensive line offense led to Ironside getting their break back at 11-11, but Van Heuvelen kept answering once again for PoNY with a high stall backhand break to space to Marsh for the 13-12 lead. David Vukovich also helped New York hold serve, by going around the back of Ironside receiver Jack Hatchett for the layout block. However, Boston’s defense proved to be too tough after an offensive hold, regaining the lead 14-13. Kevin Riley would answer for New York, busting up the line for a Marsh flick that would tie the game at 14’s.
Stubbs would continue to dominate the game, throwing the hammer for the assist to make it 15-14, and finding a wide open Alex Kapinos to bring the score to 16-15. PoNY stayed in the game with a little bit of luck as Robbie Gillies found his hands around the disc after two tips by teammate Ryan Morgan to knot it up at 15 a piece. At 16-15 Ironside, the game hung in the balance when Misha Sidorsky picked off a pass in the end zone, giving Ironside a chance to break for the win. Vukovich once again kept New York alive intercepting a pass intended for Teddy Browar-Jarus, allowing the offense to hold. On double game point, Ironside worked it up to midfield before Stubbs put a huck deep for Clark. With the disc curving towards the break side, the PoNY defender had little chance to deflect the winning catch, and Clark reeled it in for the win.
Seth Reinhardt (Ironside) played sparingly after being out for some time due to surgery. Ironside’s offensive line was a perfect 9 for 9 in the second half, without a single turn. PoNY has only one win in the all time series, dating back to 2008. Ironside roster was set after the tournament. Ironside will take the month of July off and rejoin competition (and PoNY) at Emerald City Classic.
Feature photo by Joanna Albert