Turkey Bowl - 2013
T-Bone wins a controversial Turkey Bowl
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The Winning Team
(From Top Left to Right Eric, Mike, Mike James, Joey,Cory, T-Bone, Zach, Andy, Clayton)
The Losing Team
(From Left to Right Mike, Ben, Tyler, Michael, Andrew, Garrett, Sean, Zach, Brian, Wes)
Somewhere, Charles Bruce is wondering why Garrett is late for dinner. Somewhere Sean's family is wondering where the 3 side dishes are that he and Tyler were bringing over for Thanksgiving. In the longest Turkey Bowl on record, Young T-Bone's team defeated Zach Greene by a score of 5-4, in a bittersweet victory that will leave players talking, families waiting and christening the need for independent referees going forward.
Coming out of retirement with a fresh #3 jersey off of eBay after the prior night's fortune cookie said to "keep an eye out for opportunity" , Manchisi was drafted 18th out of 20 (yes sneakered players were selected earlier!) and while adding a win to his record, spent most of the time willingly on the sidelines as last years cleats were still hanging from the trees.
The game started off very offensively with both teams scoring on their first three possessions with Brian and Tyler catching them for Zach's team, and Higdon (who scored three touchdowns and took MVP honors) catching for T-Bones team. After that defense took over and held the game close with great line play by both Andy and Ben (Andy Kihn making his first Turkey Bowl appearance had this writer's vote for MVP) . Michael Kennedy caught an "up for grabs touchdown" to send the game in to half time. Michael then had to leave and therefore has fond memories of the game, unlike the rest of those who played the second half.
Quarterbacks Sean and Cory had challenges with the defenses resulting in with a number of interceptions thrown (Garrett, Higdon, Cory, Eric and others I can't recall) and Garrett was again very strong as free safety and made a circus interception at the end of the game that was probably the play of the day even if it was out of bounds.
Zach Greene caught a touchdown to put his team ahead 4-3 and then while driving to win the game, Sean threw a pass that bounced off of Ben and into the hands of Cory who ran it back for a touchdown. This tied the game at 4.
And then it all got VERY controversial.
With the score tied at 4, Brian Manchisi had beaten Higdon to the corner but couldn't hold onto what would have been the winning touchdown. Bill Greene was MVP (Most Valuable Photographer) and captured the moment brilliantly and one could argue that none of the controversy would have happened if the catch had been made.
This led to a 4th down play that started it. With Brian and Higdon fighting for the ball in the endzone the ball popped loose and into the hands of Tyler for what seemed to be the winning touchdown. But T-Bone's ruling on the field was that Brian was out of bounds nullifying the catch. Independent observers including the game being played next to us ruled it a touchdown. I've included Bill's stellar picture in high res detail for viewer's to judge.
And then it got even worse. Cory fumbled on the next possession, Garrett scored a touchdown on Zach's next possession on a great run which was nullified by a block to the back (you read it right - a block to the back), perhaps the first time that call has ever been made in a Turkey Bowl game. Andy Kihn had a first down on T-Bone's next possession which was debatable and ultimately overruled. Finally Eric intercepted a pass that led to Zach Higdon catching the winning touchdown for T-Bone's team, sealing a bittersweet win.
Asterisks abound on this one! While the game was one of the best in recent memory right up to the 4-4 tie, here's hoping 2014 sees a cleaner cut game.
Photo Gallery (Click for a larger picture)
Letters to the Editor
First of all, I would like to thank and congratulate everyone who played in a hard-fought Turkey Bowl this year. I feel everyone showed excellent comradery and, above all else, sportsmanship.
With that having been said, this was a very controversial game. There were multiple calls for both teams at crucial points which changed the face of the game. However, I feel it is unfair to label this game with an asterisk for those who won. I feel controversy itself should not merit an asterisk for two reasons-
1. There have been controversial games in the past, none of which, have been labeled an asterisk. 2. In accordance with the previous reasoning, what standard will be used in the future to label controversial games with an asterisk?
I suppose that ultimately it is up to you, the editor, to the have the final say on which games are labeled and which are not. I can only hope that your decision for this game was based only on your own opinion and not by the pressure from the losing team. Needless to say, I feel the captains and senior members of this great tradition should discuss the impact and standards as to the labeling with asterisks.
I feel I can speak for most players that playing in the game after the 4-4 tie was not enjoyable. As mentioned in your article, I agree that there is a "need for independent referees gong forward." This is a plausible solution to the problems which will, most likely, be repeated in the future.
Again, I would like to congratulate everyone for their performance today, especially the winning team. As we approach the 50th Anniversary of this great tradition, I am optimistic that the problems of today will not be an issue in the future.