Blues Beat Bombers

The reigning MAAFL premiers are back atop the standings after a close game and tough win against Milwaukee.  The game was tense and the victory all the sweeter because St. Louis trailed from the early minutes of the game until five minutes were gone in the last turn, ultimately prevailing 9.10.64 to 8.7.55 over the Bombers.  As the venerable D-1 leaped into the arms of youthful D-.5 and the largest crowd of the season roared, Blues Team President and Captain James "Hits Of Stone" Martin summed up the feelings of the Archers and the crowd when he said to this reporter, "It's games like this that make it worth buckling on your scarf every Saturday. Or so."


The day broke clear and bright on August 21- not that Dan "Imal" King would have known it.  In the first stanza the Bombers kicked true and quick from the outset, taking a 3.0.18 to 0.3.3 lead before Imal rolled out of bed or the Boys Who Wear The Guernseys Of The Gathering Day knew what hit them.  The Dons added two more goals before the first intermission.  Kudos to some guy in Milwaukee's half forward line who took several marks and scored.  In response, the Blues made some personnel adjustments and improved in their halfback area.


Then Dan "D-.5" Sarbacker slotted the first major for the Navy Blue with some effective ball shepherding by the forward line, and the Moose Claw defense lived up to its name for the rest of the game, holding Milwaukee to three goals over the last three quarters.  D-.5 added tremendous mid-field play to his goal, and his antics, together with a first period goal by Phil "Sticks" Brereton, and kept the game from getting out of reach.  When asked about his importance to the team, Sticks opined, "crikey!," or something to that effect.  The first period also saw the return to action of Robert "Coach Q" Whitehead, whose creaky arms managed a mark or two.


Back on the Blues' back end of the field, the Moose Claw clache did not have an easy time holding down the Dons, by any means.  The first quarter had ended with the Bombers ahead 5.0.30 to 2.4.16, and the Azure Bowmen had their work cut out for them, which Meat Curtain Stalwart John "Molnare, Oh, Oh" Molnar commented was a good thing, "owing to our not having any scissors handy."  His optimism was not shared by the crowd, which had grown hush by the initiation of the second quarter.  Even Larry "Superfan" Hagman was biting his nails, thereby annoying Marilyn "I Promised Her A Mention" Lipman when he would spit them on her.  Hagman got it together, though, and so did the Blues.


The second quarter dawned... oh, never mind.  Here's the thing.  Sergott.  Call him Thunder Dan.  Call him Quiet Riot.  Call him late for dinner.  It does not matter.  The big man won virtually every ruck and took too many marks in too many places on the field to remember (which could be the only excuse for the tragic omission of Sergott from the MAAFL B.O.G. voting).  Without his dominating presence up and down the oval, the cause would have been lost like the Minnow with Gilligan at the helm.


The second quarter was tale of two speeds.  The game seemed to stop every time a ball came near Sergott, and he would languidly pull it out of the air and dispose of it, and the game seemed shot from a cannon every time D-.5 got hold of the ball.  D-.5 would gather, dazzle and dispose, moving the ball up field.  The rest of the Navy Guernseys started to wake up, too.  Jason "Goal Posts" Goodger, Chris "Bluey" Carroll and Shoe "Shoe" Shoe began controlling the ball more often in the midfield and half forward lines, and even the Aged D-1 managed two marks and two goals during the period.


The most visually appealing goal came when The Aged One scooped a ball off the ground in traffic at an impossible angle, and then kicked while getting hit.  As the ball hit his boot there was no doubt that it could not be kicked for a goal.  As the ball left his boot, there was no doubt that it was going to curve right through the middle of the uprights.  While the Venerable One kicked, the youthful Kevin "Diet" Gaffney did spirited work in the wings, and the half ended with the Blues desperately staying in the game, trailing 4.6.30 from the Bombers' 6.3.39.


I ate part of a banana during half time.  Larry Hagman was baking meat pies for intermezzo, and Junior Vice-Captain/Treasurer Matt "There Is No 'I' In Team" Jagger summed up the first half by pointing out that a "number" of Blues had not yet paid their subs.  The empty coffers must've fired him up, because, as his mother looked on, Old Internal Quotes had a marvelous Premiership Quarter.  He and the rest of the defense did a number on Milwaukee.


OIQ took marks and sent some beautiful long kicks out of the back.  Matt "T-Rex" Hans took his share of stubby-armed marks and the midfield play of Sergott (of course), Adam "Aim High" Ellison and Goal Posts Goodger allowed St. Louis to outscore the Bombers 2.3.15 to 1.1.7 in the stanza.  And Coach Q himself kicked his first major in the U.S.A.  Welcome back old boy.


The fourth quarter began with the Old Dark Navy Blue down by just one point, trailing 46-45, not that anyone could tell given the mathematically challenged scoreboard keeper.  St. Louis took the field to humming sounds of their Captain Hit regaling one and all with "I Want To Marry A Scoreboard Keeper," but the tunes could not mask the tension.  In the Blues' tensest quarter of the year, they scored a quick goal from fifty meters out off the boot of Bluey to take the lead, the footy crossing the endline by mere inches before bouncing back into the field of play.


Milwaukee never gave up, though, and played better through the midfield than the Blues over the last interminable fifteen minutes.  But charge after charge by the Dons was thwarted by the defensive play of Mo-Mo, Steve "Angerholt" Aderholt and the rest of the defense.  Even Imal managed to wake up long enough to school a mark at the goal line to end one of the Bomber's many threats.  Sergott's inspired play gave St. Louis just enough chances and they did not squander them.


With just several minutes remaining, Dan "747" Kocka sent a major through from way out and gave the Blues the cushion they needed.   As he showed off his airplane maneuver, the crowd erupted and the Blues found themselves in control of their own destiny in the MAAFL.  Imal summed up the game with this missive: "destiny, it's like a child to me."


Footy- yeah, that's the game.


Best on Ground:


Dan Sergott, Dan Sarbacker, John Molnar, Jason Goodger, Benjamin Lipman, Matt Jagger, Steve Aderholt




Benjamin Lipman (3), Rob Whitehead (2), Dan Sarbacker, Phil Brereton, Chris Carroll, Dan Kocka

- Benjamin Lipman

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