This piece is contributed by Ring’s Victor Smith
Ring of Fire Day 2 Recap
Day two featured strong winds that were gusting and swirling throughout the day. On the other hand, all the teams at the Open had now had an opportunity to adjust to the altitude. With that combination of factors, the second day of play at the US Open featured some interesting games. Let’s get right into it.
Game 1: Doublewide
Doublewide’s squad at the US Open is missing many of the players traditionally associated with Doublewide, such as Brodie Smith and Kurt Gibson. Additionally, I had heard that by the time of this game three of the fifteen players Doublewide brought with them to Colorado had sustained injuries and were no longer playing. Despite all this, the wind came up during this game with high sustained winds and gusts wreaking havoc with throws and leveling the playing field somewhat.
Ring started the game strong, picking up a break by capitalizing off a floated pass that caught the wind. Ring picked up a second break two points later to go up 3-1. After this point Doublewide went on a 7-2 run to take half, capitalizing on several O Line miscues in the wind, many of them hucks thrown too far.
Ring came out of half on O and calmly worked it down the field and scored, setting up the D line’s first break since the fourth point of the game. Ring and Doublewide traded two more points before Ring was able to take advantage of an unforced Doublewide drop and punch in another break and tie the game at 9-9. Doublewide and Ring traded two more points as regulation expired, leaving the score tied at 10-10 and leaving Ring in a break-or-lose situation. This double game point featured several turns, many of them off of hucks, before Brett Matzuka was able to connect with Thomas Ward on a deep shot for the game winning goal.
Game 2: Johnny Bravo
During the bye period, the wind continued to gust, although the orientation of the wind shifted, turning the Johnny Bravo game into something of an upwind/downwind game. To make matters more interesting, this game featured the only two unbeaten teams remaining in the tournament. To be sure, this game would be for at least some of the marbles.
Johnny Bravo started on offense downwind, conceding an early turnover after overthrowing a deep cutting Jimmy Mickle. Bravo was able to get possession back off a footblock to prevent the early Ring break. Over the next two points Johnny Bravo was able to take advantage of early O Line turns and scored two breaks in a row, cementing the upwind break with a follow up downwinder. The rest of the game was essentially all Johnny Bravo all day, with Ring turning several hucks and Bravo capitalizing, forcing four more breaks.
The bright spot for Ring happened at the end of the game, when, down 13-7 Eric “EO” Olivier was able to connect with Brian “BC” Casey for a deep goal. The following point, Ring was able to take advantage of an overthrown Johnny Bravo huck and convert the break. During the next D point the regulation period expired, but Ring was once again able to take advantage of an overthrown Bravo huck and connect on a huck of their own from Brett Matzuka to Tuba Bensonjaja, making the final score 14-10.
Game 3: Chain Lightning
Ring’s first matchup of the year with their new regional rival, Chain Lightning, featured the same strong winds of the earlier games, although the wind began to swirl making the game not strictly upwind and downwind. Fittingly, it also featured lightning delays. Chain started on offense going into the wind. Ring rookie Micah Hood was able to generate a block but unfortunately turned it on the subsequent throw. Chain was able to take advantage of the second turn and score the goal. On Ring’s first O point they ran a pull play, however it didn’t quite work as planned and resulted in a huck turn on the second throw. After a pair of turnovers Chain was able to convert a break.
Ring and Chain traded for a few points, until the 4-2 mark where Ring turned the disc on a huck that the wind, now blowing crossfield, took hold of and pushed out of bounds in the endzone. Chain inbounded the disc on the cone of their endzone, but Ring’s downfield defense was strong, forcing a dump which the wind picked up. Subsequently Ring’s Paul Weeks was able to climb an invisible ladder in the endzone, snagging the disc and coming down with a Callahan. Around this point the skies began to darken and there were several lightning strikes visible in the distance, a few points later the game was put on a lightning delay with Chain up 7-5.
After a 45 minute delay the game started back up, with Chain quickly taking half 8-5. Ring and Chain would trade for 3 more points until more lighting would strike near to the tournament fields, leading to a final score of 9-7.
Said captain Josh Mullen about today’s performance: “I thought [today’s games] were a good experience for us. We got to see what we need to work on, and now we can work on correcting our mistakes tomorrow.”
Ring went 1-2 on the day, and will face Inception first tomorrow, and likely will face Chain in the semis.