By af Czarnecki
Despite blizzard-like conditions last Wednesday evening, another chapter of the oldest and most fierce rivalry in the world of intramural sports was written at Caniglia Field.
In the estimated 50th match-up (ball park figures are underrated) between two rival fraternities, Pike A battled Sig Ep A in a game that will be remembered as the “Warm Ball Bowl.”
With an impressive 6-0 record heading into Wednesday’s contest, Fraternity League leaders Sig Ep A were 17 1/2 point favorites (point spread established by former Pike quarterback Jeff Hansen and myself minutes before kickoff and, by the way, gambling is unacceptable) over the middle-of-the-pack 4-2 Pike A squad.
Led by intramural legend quarterback Scott Schmieding and a solid defense, the Sig Ep gang was very confident in its abilities to shut down quarterback Bob Giese and the rest of the Pikes in front of an estimated 70 fans.
With an inch or two of snow resting on the field and more on the way, it is safe to say that playing conditions were not exactly ideal.
The opening kick was at 9:15 p.m. and soon after, Sig Ep A took control of the game. After forcing a Pike interception on their opening drive, Sig Ep quarterback Scott (call me Bart Starr for snow can’t hold me) Schmieding went to work in dissecting the Pike defense.
Schmieding found wide receiver Rollie Kenny wide open in the middle of the field for a short completion which turned into a 50-yard touchdown play after Kenny pitched the ball back to teammate Aaron Grote. Grote ran down the left side of the field untouched to put Sig Ep A on the board first, leading 7-0.
After forcing another Pike turnover, the Sig Ep offense marched the ball deep into Pike territory using a mixture of short passes and nice runs by the elusive Schmieding.
On third and goal from the Pike 8-yard line, Schmieding rolled to his left, avoided a sack and found receiver Justin Taylor all alone in the back of the end zone to put his team up 14-0 at the half.
After running into the referee tunnel to talk “football politics” with the officials, I regained feeling in my hands and feet. Soon I was back on the field eager to see if Pike A could make a game of it and give the fans another dramatic finish to add to the rich history of close battles in this heated rivalry.
So much for wishful thinking. Sig Ep A scored on its first drive in the second half when Schmieding hooked up with receiver Brian Stringer for a 40-yard pass play to give the Sig Eps a commanding 20-0 lead.
For the rest of the way, the Sig Eps took the Randy Moss approach to football and took “a few plays off.”
Giving up a touchdown when Pike quarterback Giese connected with Justin Harris on a 10-yard touchdown pass, the Sig Eps never seemed to regain their concentration or their intensity and instead lethargically ran out the clock to finish off the less talented Pike team, winning 20-6.
“We shut it down in the second half and it was a whole lot easier than I expected,” Schmieding said.
Next Friday we’ll break down the Intramural “A” and “B” League Football Playoffs. Until then, late.