A lateral pass on a punt-return play resulted in a game-winning touchdown for the 169th Engineer Battalion, who beat the 1st Battalion, 58th Infantry Regiment 20-14 Sept. 11 on Fort Leonard Wood’s Field 2.
It was the season opener for both teams, as Conference B teams began their portion of the 2020 intramural flag-football Sept. 10 and 11.
Trailing 14-13 with a little less than one minute remaining in the game, the 169th Engr. Bn. defense was doing all it could to regain possession, when a third-down tackle in the backfield by defensive end Brandon Cook gave them their chance.
With few options on a fourth-down play from their own 25-yard line, the 1-58th Inf. Bn. offense opted to punt. The ball was caught at the opposite 25-yard line by 169th Engr. Bn. running back Louie Smith, who gained about 10 yards before making a lateral pass to wide receiver Shelby Fielder, who, with Smith blocking most of the way, ran the final 45 yards to the end zone.
“It was fun,” Fielder said after the game, confirming that the play was something the team had talked about in the huddle beforehand.
“We were down and we knew we had to make something happen. So, we said ‘pitch it,’ and (Smith) did,” Fielder said. “It was a perfect pitch.”
Fielder had already scored two touchdowns for the 169th Engineers. He ran 60 yards after catching a 20-yard pass from quarterback Josh Menninger to score on their first play of the game, with Menninger providing the extra point. Later, Fielder caught a 38-yard pass from Menninger, but the extra-point attempt failed with less than a minute remaining in the first half.
The 1-58th Inf. Bn. scored both of their touchdowns in the second half, the first on a 15-yard quarterback-keeper play by Drake Johnson followed later in the half by a 10-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to Christopher Heflin. Short passes from Johnson to Helfin and Curtis Pugh added the extra points, respectively, giving the 1-58th a 14-13 lead until the 169th’s punt-return TD. The 169th added the extra point on a pass from Daniel Stanavick, in at quarterback during the second half, to receiver Max Van Alstyne.
With only 39 seconds remaining, the 1-58th Inf. Bn. attempted to score through the air. However, on a first-down play from the 30-yard line, 169th Engr. Bn. defensive back Antonio Guillory made an interception that secured the win for his team. Stanavick took a knee and ran out the final 24 seconds.
“Honestly, my side was covered nearly the entire game, and they only went there a couple of times. But I told myself — I knew — that if they threw it to that side again, I was going to get an interception,” Guillory said.
In other Conference B games played Sept. 11:
— The Maneuver Support Center of Excellence defeated MEDDAC 32-6;
— The 14th Military Police Brigade beat the 31st Engineer Battalion 34-6.
In Conference B games played Sept. 10:
— The 515th Sapper Company defeated the 31st Engineer Battalion 30-6;
— The 50th Engineer Company beat the 1-58th Inf. Bn. 18-14;
— The 50th Engr. Co. defeated the Medical Department Activity 24-6.
Conference A scores
In Conference A games played Sept. 10:
— The 35th Engineer Battalion defeated the 58th Transportation Battalion 6-0;
— The 554th Engineer Battalion beat the 2nd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment, 18-12.
In Conference A games played Sept. 11:
— The 58th Trans. Bn. defeated the 3rd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment, 16-6;
— The 35th Engr. Bn. beat the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate 18-12.
Four weeks remain in the flag-football season.