(Recap by Muckety Muck – Photo Credit: Bob Dunnell)
(BALLWIN, MO) Saturday’s flat track action for Arch Rival Roller Derby (ARCH) featured plenty of intrigue, drama and eye-opening moments.
Going into the game, the then-winless M-80s faced a direct situation if they wanted to be considered a component of the League’s April 28 championship finale. Lose to the Stunts and the loggers’ post-season aspirations would be chopped. Conversely, log a duke against the daredevils and stay within the title picture.
Trailing by five points heading into the final jam, the M-80s’ 11-4 rotation netted the team their first win of the season.
“It was great, particularly for our newer skaters, who value the local season so much,” assessed jammer Shoulder, CO afterwards. “They were elated.”
With the two-point win, the M-80s (1-2) pushed the Stunt Devils’ final regular season record to 2-2. The red flannels meet the Smashinistas (2-1) on April 7 and if they should notch a “W”, then the final regular season standings would have all three teams sporting identical 2-2 finishes. Total point differential between points scored and points allowed will determine the two teams that meet at the League’s April 28 title game.
Leading 4-0 after the opening jam, the M-80s found themselves quickly behind the 8-ball as the Stunt Devils produced a 44-8 rally over the next two rotations. Jammer Psychokid D’ Freakout’s 23-4 collection was followed by Ultraviolet’s 21-4 jam five minutes deep that pushed the Stunts’ lead to 44-12.
The teams traded four-pointers on the next two flights and the Stunts maintained a 48-16 advantage with 23:10 left in the period.
The M-80s then capitalized on penalties and scored 32 points uncontested over a three-minute stretch. Newcomer Jedi Knight-N-Gale’s 25-point power jam sliced the score to 48-41. A four-pointer from Shoulder, CO followed and with Twig E. Smalls’ trey notched at the 19:10 mark, the game was tied 48-48.
Stunts’ jammer Bricktator claimed four on the ensuing rotation that pushed the score to their favor, 52-48.
Then after a scoreless jam, the M-80s reclaimed the lead as Knight-N-Gale posted nine with 15:40 remaining that made the score 57-52. They managed to keep their five-point differential intact as the period progressed and sported a 69-64 edge with twelve minutes left in the half.
With blocking paced by Shear-Ra Powers, Fletch-A-Sketch, Lethal Dose, Hardcore Parkour, Wonder Thighs, Joan of Spark, Splatter, Pegassas, Nox and Bruise Almighty, the Stunts went on a 23-0 rally in a five minute stretch. Highlighted by Aggie Wartooth’s nine-point scoreboard flipper at the 9:30 mark and finished by Bricktator’s 14-point power jam recorded with seven minutes remaining, the daredevils possessed an 87-69 lead.
Meanwhile, the M-80s’ blocking schema, consisting of Lumberjam, Ginger, BEECH, PLEASE!, Jenny Loggins, LuxFurious, Megabirch, Fionna Crabapple, Big Red, Maul Bunyan, Chop It Like It’s Hot, Fight Shrub, Sumack Down and Sequoia Destro-Ya, paced a 21-10 push – highlighted by multi-lap passes by Knight-N-Gale and Bad Axe – that shored the score to 97-94 heading into the half’s final jam.
The 5-5 frame that finished the half resulted in the Stunt Devils’ 102-99 lead at intermission.
The opening stages of the second period resulted in a trio of lead changes as the M-80s possessed a 119-116 edge six minutes deep.
The M-80s’ surge of momentum carried into Jams 7 & 8 that netted a 27-6 swing for the red-flannels. Knight-N-Gale’s 13-2 rotation at the 22:05 mark was followed by Shoulder’s 14-4 power jam that extended her team’s lead to 146-122 with 20:10 remaining in the game.
Undaunted, the Stunts countered with an 18-0, two-jam rally. Bricktator’s four-pointer was followed by D’Freakout’s 14-point collection at the 18:30 mark that shaved the score to 146-140.
The M-80s managed to widen their lead to 152-143 over the next five minutes but then saw their lead evaporate and lost with 13:00 left as D’Freakout’s 18-4 jam flipped the scoreboard back in favor of the Stunt Devils, 161-157.
Following a scoreless rotation in Jam 15, M-80s jammer Bad Axe’s 8-4 effort with 11:00 left tied the game, 165-165.
Ultraviolet claimed lead on the next jam and rolled out 20 points to give the Stunts a 185-165 lead with 8:45 remaining. The M-80s countered with Shoulder’s 13-4 collection with 7:10 left that whittled the score to 189-178.
A 6-4 rotation from the Stunts’ Bricktator with five minutes left pushed the score to 195-182. Then after a scoreless jam, back-to-back four-pointers from the M-80s’ Shoulder and Bad Axe narrowed the score to 195-190 with 1:50 remaining.
With the Queeny Park contingent of 900 sitting on pins and needles, Shoulder was given the task to don the star for the M-80s in what would inevitably be the game’s final rotation. The veteran had experienced similar experiences previously and was up to the task.
“Just do it,” she said of the duty. “Just make it happen.”
After claiming lead with 1:10 remaining, Shoulder made a pair of four point passes that flipped the scoreboard back to the M-80s, 198-195. Then as the period clock reached a goose egg, the Stunts’ D’Freakout posted four non-lead points that gave her team a 199-198 edge.
With the jam clock ticking away, Shoulder countered by adding an additional three points before calling off the jam and ending the game. With their 11-4 final jam output, the red-flannels netted the 201-199 come-from-behind triumph.
“We have been focusing a lot on offense lately,” said Shoulder, who finished with 67 points. “This is the first time, since I’ve been here, that we have four jammers and we are just working really hard to mesh all our styles together.”
D’Freakout topped the Stunts’ ledger with 66 points, followed by Ultraviolet’s 45. They are now in the role of anxious spectators that will await the result of the ensuing M-80s/Smashinistas game, and perhaps the final differential if the M-80s win, that will determine their post-season fate yet they still plan on preparing in advance.
“We’ll be getting organized so that when we step out on to the track, we’ll know exactly what our plan is so that we can execute all the way through,” assessed Bricktator, who finished with 38 points.
M-80s (201): Jedi Knight-N-Gale 68, Shoulder, CO 67, Bad Axe 55, Twig E. Smalls 7, BEECH, PLEASE!! 4.
STUNT DEVILS (199): Psychokid D’Freakout 66, Ultraviolet 45, Bricktator 38, Aggie Wartooth 22, Splatter 6, Pegasass 4.
Here is the post-game interview with the M-80s’ Shoulder, CO and the Stunt Devils’ Bricktator.
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