Surprising “Staff” Infection wins 2010 league crown

Danny Spatchek, Sports Editor

A tradition that has been built at Lakeland College is to hold an intramural flag football season and tournament in the fall. This year’s season was held from Oct. 12-Nov.3 and consisted of seven teams. As usual, it was a slogging month of muddy fields and gruesome injuries ranging from broken glasses to a dislocated finger, sparking league pundits to call for the usual better padding and actual medics on-site. As the media clamored about nothing, the round-robin style regular season continued with some exciting games between the top teams, and games that would make Vince Lombardi blush between the teams in the league’s basement. After the regular season was over, the teams were seeded according to how they finished in league play.

The top team in the league, Fighting for 2nd, won games by an average of 24 points during the regular season, and was the clear favorite heading into the tournament. The first round of the tournament went as expected with the No. 1 seed getting a bye and seeds 2-4 all winning in the first round. In the second round, everyone’s brackets got screwed up. The No. 2 seeded Teddy Bears won a close game against the No. 3 Pink Panthers, 40-32. But the upset of the Lakeland College Intramural Flag Football Century occurred in the other semifinal. The self-proclaimed “Cinderella” of the tournament, the No. 4 seeded “Staff” Infection team who Vegas had as a 15 1/2 point underdog in the game, upset Fighting for 2nd, 45-42. “Staff” Infection players credited the win to the defense’s consistent pressure on Fighting for 2nd’s quarterback, Ryan Polizzi, and their focus on execution in clutch situations.

“I still don’t know how we lost that game,” said a very dejected Andew Schartner.

Members of “Staff” Infection said they know just how they beat Fighting for 2nd: better talent at the skilled positions.

“It’s nice to have more than five guys show up. With five guys playing you can go deep one play and then take two plays off like Randy Moss, or you can go hard on offense and then take a break on defense to catch your breath,” said “Staff” Infection wide receiver Mike Bachar, “Staff” Infection’s postseason touchdown reception co-leader.

Bachar’s teammate, Mitch Heinemeyer, who tied Bachar for the most touchdown receptions on the team in the postseason, wished Fighting for 2nd luck in the future.

“That’s the beauty of a single elimination tournament; there are no re-dos,” Heinemeyer said.

So, the championship match up was all set with the No. 3 seeded Teddy Bears, led by Doug Novak at quarterback, facing the surprising No. 4 seeded “Staff” Infection. The game started out as an offensive battle with both teams scoring in their first three drives and the Teddy Bears holding a slim 24-21 lead. Then the defense stepped up from “Staff” Infection as Chris Thousand ran an interception back for a touchdown; Heinemeyer then intercepted Novak on the next series. Showing considerable mettle, the Teddy Bears converted a fourth and goal for a touchdown and then a two-point conversion courtesy of a highlight snag by Erik “this game ends when Eric Kozey says it ends” Kozey. The “Staff” team answered back with five minutes remaining in the game to bring the score to 46-34. The Teddy Bears were driving, but an interception in the end zone sealed the deal for the “Staff” Infection team. They assumed victory formation and ran out the clock to claim the 46-34 victory.

“We had a game plan going in and we executed it good enough to win. Winning the championship means a lot to me, and it’s good to see the “Staff” team back on top again,” said a slightly choked up Thousand.

Novak, whose 17 touchdown passes in the regular season were good for second in the league, commented on the loss.

“Unfortunately for our team we didn’t play our best game in the championship, but overall, the game was a blast and the coaches played very well,” Novak said.

Following “Staff” Infection’s win, controversy arose concerning the status of league MVP Jeff Sonntag, whose name was conspicuously missing from the online roster.

Sonntag responded to the issue in an online interview.

“At the start of the season, I was entertaining contract offers from a few teams, but I felt that “Staff” Infection gave me the best chance to win a championship. Then, after I had decided to join “Staff Infection,” I was left off of the official roster in order to maintain my status as a secret weapon.

The league office is continuing to investigate the matter.

“We haven’t ruled out stripping Sonntag of his MVP title,” said one league representative who wished to remain anonymous.

Bachar, the director of intramurals at Lakeland, encouraged all students to participate in upcoming intramural events.

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