By Randy Dela Cruz, Ho'okele Sports Editor
With only two weeks remaining before the postseason, Patrol Squadron Special Projects Unit 2 (VPU-2) Wizards pulled off their biggest win of the year by beating 647th Logistics Readiness Squadron (647 LRS), 27-26, in overtime on Nov. 21 in a Blue Division intramural flag football game at Ward Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Wizards quarterback Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Robert Bond, a late replacement, tossed for a touchdown in overtime and then punched in the point after touch-down by sticking the ball past the goal line for the game-winner.
The 647 LRS scored on their turn in overtime on a pass from Tech. Sgt. Chris Sage to Tech. Sgt. Juan Rodriguez, but failed to tie the score after missing their PAT attempt.
With the win, VPU-2 evened out their record at 4-4, while barely staying alive for a playoff berth in December.
Meanwhile, the loss knocked the 647 LRS out of first place and left the team in sole possession of second place at 7-2.
“We just brought everybody together and told them to keep firing,” said Bond about the team’s clutch overtime win. “We got to get this win, so we just had to keep fighting.”
Early in the game, both teams seemed to be ready to play as the two squads traded touchdowns to start the first half.
Up first, Sage moved his team 60 yards on three plays with the final 39 yards coming on a scoring toss over the top to teammate Lt. Col. Mark Clifford for a quick 6-0 lead.
The Wizards stormed right back on just two plays to tie the score before going ahead by a point at 7-6 after converting their point after touchdown (PAT).
During the quick drive, quarterback Information Systems Technician 1st Class Jerry Toney picked up 10 yards on his first pass, before connecting on a short pattern to Bond, who made the catch and picked his way through traffic and took it all the way to the house.
After the Wizards defense stopped the 647 LRS on downs, VPU-2 took the ball deep in their own territory at the three-yard line.
The 647 LRS defense stepped up and forced the Wizards to punt.
The standoff turned out to be huge for the 647 LRS, when the VPU-2 center hiked the ball over the head of Toney and out of the end zone for a safety – giving the 647 an 8-7 lead going into halftime.
A quick four-and-out by the 647 LRS to start the second half opened the door for the Wizards and the visitors from Marine Corps Base Hawaii Kaneohe Bay took full advantage of the opportunity.
Starting at their own 30, the Wizards quickly marched upfield and on first and goal from the 19, Toney hooked up with Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class Francisco Alicea for a touchdown and 13-8 lead.
On the next series by the 647 LRS, Sage, after being sacked by Bond all the way back to his own five-yard line, got picked off by Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Tim Champagne. This gave the Wizards good field position at the 19.
Four plays later, Bond ran it in himself to give the Wizards a seemingly insurmountable 20-8 lead after the PAT.
Down by 12 with only a few minutes left in the game, Sage got back behind center and went to work.
First, the 647 LRS quarterback finished off a 65-yard drive on only six plays by finding Clifford in the end zone for the duo’s second TD strike of the game to make it 20-14.
Then after the 647 LRS defense stopped the Wizards on four plays, Sage shocked everyone at Ward Field by completing a 46-yard Hail Mary to Clifford, who made the catch in the end zone and sent the game into overtime where the comeback by the 647 LRS fell short.
“It’s always big to beat a top team,” said Bond after the game. “We just want to come out, compete and have fun. You can’t count us out.”