Friday, August 19, 2005

South rises again in Ultimate finale

All-star game ends summer season


The much-anticipated Ultimate match-up between North Valley and South Valley took place on Tuesday at Atkinson Park in Ketchum to wrap up the 2005 disc season.

East Fork Road was the line drawn in the sand. It separated the two squads and smack was flying leading up the confrontation on the upper field.

South was confident, coming off of an improbable victory last year after falling behind 8-1. North, eager to avenge that loss, looked to rally its veteran squad, lining up baby sitters, shining up cleats and scheduling massages prior to the game.

With bleachers full, the game got off too a sizzling start despite the unusually cool, windy weather at the fields.

North struck quickly, pulling out to a 2-0 lead. The South woke up and evened the score at 2s. Gusty winds played havoc with the disc. Even the routine passes and catches became adventures and multiple turnovers were the norm.

Led by the defense of Wes Southward who used his long arms to knock a sure goal away from the hands of North's Joel Mallet, South started to click.

Scoring on a combination of deep hucks and short passes, South took the half 8-5 and quickly built the lead to 9-5 on a strike from Scott "Kidd" Runkel to Ryan Baxley.

Stretching its lead to 11-7, South oozed with confidence.

Then something happened to North. Some thought it was the play of long-time Ultimate legend Jeffrey Baggette, playing his first Ultimate in several years. Others attributed North's resurgence to the overconfidence of the South. Nevertheless, North stormed back.

Trent Stumph's strike to Chase Fetter in the end zone tied the score at 11s and sent South scrambling for an answer to the new and improved North.

Falling behind 12-11 on the fifth consecutive score by North, South dug deep and tied the game at 12s. With the game scheduled to cap at 15 points and darkness falling, the last three points were challenging.

North, not hindered at all by the gloom, quickly answered as Stumph unleashed a hammer that traveled upside down 45 yards, over the hands of South's Reid Smith, into Herb Kaup's fingertips making the score 13-12 North.

North was poised to take a decisive 14-12 lead when a sure goal to Mike "Payno" Payne ended in turnover, as Payno lost his footing on uneven ground. Capitalizing on the luck, South's Mike Connolly pulled down a 50-yard pass and assisted in the goal to speedster, Jordan Dale, equalizing at 13s.

South clamped down on the zone defense, taking advantage of the low light and wind, to get two quick turnovers on blocks by Christl Holzl leading to quick scores.

And the South escaped with a 15-13 win.

North's James Saylor won the much-coveted Wrapcity Spirit of the Game award to honor the Ultimate player who best exemplifies sportsmanship and love of the game throughout the Ultimate season.




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