Tuesday, October 2, 2012
LONG BEACH SIRENS DOMINATE OC SHERIFFS
On Saturday September 29, 2012, the Long Beach Sirens took on the Orange County Sheriffs in a charity football game. The Sirens were the second game of a football doubleheader. The first game was a match between the Santa Ana Police Department and the Orange County Sheriffs. The first match ended with OC Sheriffs coming out on top 18-7.
We started the festivities of this doubleheader event at 11 in the morning. The first game was going to start at noon and our game was not to start until 1:30. So, what is a team to do with nearly two and a half hours to wait for their game in 90 degree heat? I don't know if any of the Sirens were consciously thinking this but I know each of them were envisioning what was going to happen on the field and every now and then I will guarantee that the bitter taste of last years loss would creep into their minds. Their play on the field showed that this team was on a mission and they were not going to be stopped.
When the Sirens took the field for their warm-ups you could tell that they were ready. They stretched with intensity and their passing drills were crisp. While all this was going on, the OC Sheriffs waited in their locker room. I walked behind our team and kept looking towards their locker room. There wasn't an inch of movement until almost game time. In my mind I was thinking, "you cocky SOBs, you think you're going to just walk out and start to play against us?" My first order of business was for the Sirens to go on defense first, just to punch them in the mouth and they played right into the strategy. The OC Sheriffs won the toss and they decided to start on offense.
I looked over at the OC Sheriffs and I counted 27 players on their sideline. Their coaches told us that they didn't have enough for two teams so they said that they would play two games with the same team. Not sure how they didn't have enough for two teams but maybe I was missing something. I personally think that they thought they were going to have a game with Santa Ana and they were going to have a cakewalk with us.
OC Sheriffs did not fair well on their first possession and the Sirens took over. The OC Sheriffs were know going to see what the Sirens are all about. We went with a no huddle that completely shocked them. Amee Pina, our quarterback, was like a surgeon. She was cutting through their defense with crisp passes and never showed any signs of rattling. We were moving the ball with precision and eating up yards. We had a 4th and goal and we ran one of our bread and butter plays. Amee finds Danielle Quinones in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. At least that was what I thought when I saw the referee give the touchdown sign. The problem arose when one of the other refs, who was further away overruled this ref, no touchdown. I see how this day is going to go but that's OK.
OC Sheriffs take over on downs and on their first play from scrimmage, the Sirens defense sacks OC Sheriffs quarterback for a safety. Long Beach 2, OC Sheriffs 0.
The first half was dominated by the Sirens suffocating defense. We would use one of our fastest players, Maria Clay as a defensive end. Her job was to win the race to the quarterback and flush her to our other end who was playing contain. Our defense did a great job at getting the offense the ball back. The offense would hold the ball and eat up the clock but we just couldn't punch it in. We went into the locker room with a 2 - 0 lead.
A side note on the Three Stooges who were refereeing the game. The refs refused to address the fact that the OC Sheriffs would have their shirts over their flags, they refused to address the fact that the OC Sheriffs would place two flags in one spot, leaving them with two flags instead of three. I even saw one OC Sheriff turn her flag belt so that there was no flag in the rear and no flag on the side. I watched the refs allow one of the OC Sheriffs to come in on our quarterback and chuck her after she released the ball. This was going to continue through the second half.
Due to the extreme heat and most of our players going both ways, I needed to pace us. I made some changes to conserve our resources. I moved Ana Gill to quarterback so I could utilize Amee Pina on defense and a slot position. I changed up our offensive packages taking advantage of our superior athletic ability over their size.
We came out and I was happy to know that we were going to have the ball first and we would be throwing away from the sun. OC Sheriffs were going to have to defend with the sun in their eyes. I come out and I am speaking with Moe, Larry and Curley, and they inform me that we were still going in the same direction. I was told that the other coach has decided they are defending the same side. Are you joking me, the other team's coaches are deciding the rules now. Alrighty then!!!!
On our second possession, we ran the old Chinese fire drill. I had all the FBs run the plays in, setting the pace and the rythmn and not allowing OC Sheriffs to get set. We marched down the field, ate up the clock and used every receiver. Danielle Qinones made a number of catch and runs, Maria Clay came up with a big catch and run and to top the drive off, Chanel Kirk made a nice catch in the end zone for a touchdown. We went for two points and once again Chanel Kirk gobbled up the pass. Long Beach - 10 OC Sheriffs - 0.
We went back and forth a number of times and our defense was superb. Letty Carranza captained that side of the ball flawlessly. She saw the whole field and called a great game from her middle linebacker position. She was the offense's best friend.
Our offense stalled near the end of the second half and we had to punt for the first time all day. We were going to be punting from our 30 yard line. Jackie Parkhill took the punt and booted the ball at least 61 yards. Holy cow that thing took off. While I was watching the ball fly, I muttered to myself, "I hope we didn't out kick the coverage." Since the punt is a freeze play and the team can't run until it is punted, I was hoping that they couldn't get a return. The ball rolled into the end zone and they had the ball on their 20.
The OC Sheriffs ran a few plays and then they tried the old hook and ladder. They fooled no one especially Letty Carranza. She stayed home, reached out and grabbed the flag ending any thought of a big gain. OC Sheriffs hit on a long gain taking them into our end. They hit another pass that allowed the receiver to get to the outside and head for the end zone. Chanel Kirk, with a bad quad and a really bad ankle, chased this receiver down and made a touchdown saving tackle. As she said after the game, "I just saw red and I was not allowing them to score."
The clock was running down and the OC Sheriffs were desperate to punch the ball in. Whatever play that was called, had their quarterback rolling out to the right and throwing across her body. Our defense was getting a good push and when she released the ball, Letty Carranza stepped in front of the ball and picked it on the goal line. She charged to her left and up the sidelines. Around the thirty she turned right and at approximately the fifty she tried to avoid a flag being taken from her. OC Sheriffs missed and she ran the rest of the way uncontested, except for the yellow flag in the middle of the field. The refs called Letty for spinning. Needless to say, I had to say something. The ref was reminded of all of his non calls against the Sheriffs, all of his ignoring their flag shenanigans but most of all, I told the ref to let her have her moment. It was a great pick and a great run and the Sheriffs gave up. I reminded him that there were 4 seconds left in the game and the Sheriffs were either going to lose 10 - 0 or 16 -0. It didn't matter, they were going to lose. I also had to remind him that the paying customers came to see the girls not him.
We got the ball on the fifty, Ana took a knee and the game was over.
As we all shook hands, the OC Sheriffs Head Coach stopped and said to me, "You know it's real hard to play two football games in this heat." You just didn't say that to me. You, the coach with 27 players just didn't say that with me. You, the coach, who was making wholesale changes, just didn't say that to me. You, the coach, who could've rested half your team for the second game just didn't say that to me. You, the coach, who walked on the field and into your teams huddle on every play, just didn't say that to me. I didn't respond and I walked back to our well deserved winning team.
To the Sirens:
I salute each and every one of you for leaving everything on that field. You worked hard in practice and you out worked your opposition. Be proud of yourselves for a job well done. It was an honor to help you along on this journey and it is an honor to call each and every one of you my friend and co-worker!!!!!!