News: Falcons swoop championship
Story by Lance Cpl. Rebecca Eller
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. - The Miramar Flacons defeated the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms Headquarters Battalion Bulldawgs, 34-15, in the Best of the West championship, Dec. 10.
The Falcons started the game with a touchdown during their first possession, giving the Bulldawgs a taste of their explosive offense.
The second quarter began with a second touchdown from the Falcons during their first drive, making the score 14-0.
With less than three minutes before half time, the Falcons scored their third touchdown, going into the second half with a 21-0 lead over the Bulldawgs. The Falcons aggressive defense had stopped the Bulldawgs from even reaching field-goal range.
The Falcons dominated the third quarter by scoring their fourth touchdown with 1:17 left on the clock, but missed the field goal, ending the third quarter 27-0.
It wasn't until halfway through the fourth quarter that the Bulldawgs scored their first touchdown. Three minutes later, the Bulldawgs scored their second touchdown, making a two-point conversion to bring the score to 27-15.
The Falcons fought back and scored another touchdown with 2:12 left in the game. The Falcons’ defense held the Bulldawgs until the final seconds, ending the game 34-15.
This is the Falcons third visit to the Best of the West championship and first win.
"Third time is a charm,” said Bennis Branch, head coach of the Miramar Flacons, and a Newsoms, Va., native. "If you put hard work in, this is what it'll do for you."
The Falcons had a tough season, but managed to work past it and come together to win the championship.
“These young guys put in a lot of hard work all year and persevered throughout the season,” said Master Sgt. Ross Blain, the Falcons defense head coach and a Miami, native.
The Falcons’ season was humbled by the injury of Cpl. Joshua VanderLaan, said Blain. “He brings out our inspiration and motivation to achieve this goal today.”
The Falcons practiced twice a day the week leading up to the Best of the West championship.
“I felt after the championship at [Marine Corps Base Camp] Pendleton that we had a huge opportunity to win this game,” said Branch. “On the ride up here, I just had this feeling, this is our time, this is our time to win the Best of the West.”
Dustin Ellison, a lineman for the Falcons, was awarded most valuable player for the championship, and was speechless after his win.
The Falcons persevered through adversities during the season, which pushed them harder to achieve their goal. The Falcons’ drive and dedication led them to victory the in Best of the West championship.