By Alex French
Tuesday’s Division M clash between Roethlisberger and Cheese and Deutschland didn’t have much to boast on paper. The two teams sat at third and fourth in the division, respectively, and were each riding two-game losing streaks.
But as the old saying goes, something’s gotta give.
That’s exactly what happened Tuesday night, as Roethlisberger and Cheese defeated Deutschland, 35-15, on the “mercy rule,” which states the game must be called if a team is winning by 19 or more with less than two minutes remaining.
“We just came to play,” RAC teammates Charlie Mahoney and Corey Noel said simultaneously.
Not bad, considering RAC suffered a two-point loss last week.
“We [practiced] a little bit over the weekend — just worked on little things, [to try and] freshen up a little bit,” Noel said.
Roethlisberger and Cheese — who trailed only once in the game — did just that by getting an all-important victory and improving to 2-2 overall on the season.
With the loss, Deutschland ties Matt Chandler’s team for the division’s bottom spot at 1-3.
The game started strong for RAC, as the team scored on its second possession of the first quarter via a short pass from Noel to Derek Nelson. A converted extra-point made it 7-0.
Deutschland’s offense didn’t waste any time scoring on the first possession of the second quarter. A 58-yard strike to Carter Giese from quarterback Brian Callahan and converted extra point knotted the game at 7.
Roethlisberger’s ensuing possession was just as promising, as RAC moved downfield quickly and eventually scored with under two minutes remaining.
The combination of Noel’s feet and arm allowed RAC to move the ball easily.
“When I have the ball and if nobody’s open, I just take off and see what I can do,” he said. “We definitely try and roll to a side that’s going to help us. I’m looking to pass first and then run, it just so happens that they — the defensive line — gets in pretty quick.”
With little time on the clock, Deutschland looked to move the ball downfield and get a score, but strong defensive pressure by RAC forced a rare occurrence in intramurals: A safety.
“[It’s] pretty rare … Rare enough that one of our referees, who’s a pretty veteran guy, didn’t know where to place the ball afterwards,” said intramural supervisor Kyle Larson, who added he only sees safeties about once a week.
Roethlisberger and Cheese rode into halftime up, 15-7. Deutschland was not to be discouraged, however, and took its first possession of the third quarter all the way downfield and scored on another Callahan-to-Giese connection.
A successful two-point conversion saw Deutschland go ahead by one point, but it was be the last time they even smelled the end zone.
RAC turned up the defensive effort in the fourth and allowed no first downs, forced a punt, and snagged two interceptions. Even when Deutschland completed a pass, defenders wearing black were right on there to make a play.
“This week, we definitely improved on flag-grabbing on defense,” Noel said. “Bobby [Reitsch] and Charlie [Mahoney] did a great job getting in there, made a lot of sacks.”
They continued to push the throttle on offense too, scoring once more in the third quarter and twice in the fourth — the last of which occurred in flashy fashion.
“[I caught it] on my head,” Mahoney said, laughing. “I don’t know — it caught me a little bit off guard, so I just threw up some hands, used my head, and threw in a spin-move and dove into the end zone.”