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Sit down! Stick Wigglers bench Lyster, 30-22

Jake Freeman, Stick Wigglers team captain, runs the ball between opposing team members during an intramural football game at the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Center football field Sept. 23. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Jake Freeman, Stick Wigglers team captain, runs the ball between opposing team members during an intramural football game at the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Center football field Sept. 23. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: September 25, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (September 25, 2014) -- With fall officially arrived, Fort Rucker kicked off its 2014 Intramural Football Season Sept. 22 as teams began their quest for the crown.

On the second day of the season, the 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment Stick Wigglers made the Lyster Army Health Clinic Bench Warmers take a seat during an intramural football game Sept. 23, where the Stick Wigglers came out on top 30-22.

Two-point conversions were the name of the game as each team pushed for all the extra points they could, but the Stick Wigglers managed to make the most of what they had.

“For (it being) the first game and us having no time for practice, it feels good to pull out a win tonight,” said CW2 Jake Freeman, Stick Wigglers team captain. “We were afraid we weren’t going to have enough players tonight and it was lucky that we all got off work. It feels good to be able to play this well.”

Freeman attributes the team’s success to its speed and coordination, and the ability to work cohesively.

The game began as Stick Wigglers received the kickoff, which fell short to put them on the opposition’s side of the field.

Within two plays, the 1-145th had their first touchdown with a 20-yard run by Freeman. They followed up with a successful 2-point conversion, which would set the tone for the night.

The Bench Warmers received and managed a small return, but were starting at their own 20-yard line.

Lyster managed small gains, but the Stick Wiggler’s defense held strong, and try as they might the Bench Warmers weren’t able to break through and they gave up possession at the 35-yard line.

The 1-145th seemed to have lost some of their early-game vigor as they struggled to make any gains. As the two-minute warning sounded in the first half, the Lyster team took possession and started to aggressively push toward the opposing goal line.

As the clock ran down, the Bench Warmers came closer and closer to the end zone, and with nine seconds left in the half, they had their chance to get on the scoreboard, but an interception dashed their hopes and the half ended with the Stick Wigglers ahead, 8-0.

The Bench Warmers had the upper hand going into the second half as they took possession to start, and came back with an aggressive offense and a first down on their first play. Followed up by a 15-yard pass to Adrian Austin, the Bench Warmers secured their first touchdown for the game.

They decided to go for the 2-point conversion to tie, but were unsuccessful and trailed their opponents, 8-6.

Not to be outdone, the Stick Wigglers matched their opponent’s momentum and managed first down after first down to push toward the opposing goal line. Now within 20-yards of the end zone, a 10-yard pass to Bryan Harding led to the 1-145th’s second touchdown. Again, they were successful with the 2-point conversion, extending their lead to 16-6.

The Bench Warmers came back with a vengeance, however, with a 30-yard pass to Austin who then ran in for the team’s second touchdown. They again went for the 2-point conversion and this time were successful, keeping on the heels of their opponents, 16-14.

The Stick Wigglers didn’t let up, however, as they managed a 40-yard return on the kick to get to Lyster’s 20-yard line. Within one play, they had another touchdown and successful 2-point conversion.

With two minutes remaining in the game, the Bench Warmers had their work cut out for them if they were going to catch the 1-145th, and work they did as they pushed hard toward the goal line getting first down after first down.

Another pass to Austin locked in their third touchdown, and to keep the trend going, they went for and scored another 2-point conversion to pull within two points of the Stick Wigglers.

Determined to not fall to their opponents, the 1-145th came back with a 60-yard run off the kick off for another touchdown, but were unsuccessful for the first time when going for the 2 extra points.

The Bench Warmers had only one chance to tie the game with less than 20 seconds left, but were stopped dead in their tracks by Stick Wigglers’ defense as the buzzer sounded, ending the game 30-22.

Freeman said the first-game win helped set the tone for the season for his team.

“We still have to practice a little bit and I have to see the other teams, but I feel good about the rest of the season,” he said. “Tonight was a good confidence boost and we’ll see where we go from here.”

This article was originally published at http://www.army.mil/article/134536/

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