Fort George G. Meade, Md. --
The Fort Meade Intramural Flag Football season began the week following Labor Day in September but, for many teams, the journey began months earlier. Coaches from various military units met at the traditional coaches meeting in early August and began to build their respective teams. The Tigers of the 7th Intelligence Squadron contend with their various administrative and operational duties before committing to the team.
In that short month before the first games of the regular season, teams deconflict those duties and worked to organize practices and game strategy (position assignments, offensive and defensive game plans and player availability). By the beginning of the season, the Tigers were unsure which player would even begin at quarterback. Of the few names on the list, the first option was on his way to the NCO Academy and the second was on his way to his wedding.
The seven-week regular season consisted of 14 scheduled games. The Tiger season was full of ups and downs and intense late-game moments that made almost every game worth watching. From the season opener ending in a 25-0 victory to a few late game-winning drives, the Tigers of the 7th IS fought through every game.
If there was a story to be written about this team, it would capture the tenacity of a “bend-but-never-break” defense that only allowed two losses and didn’t allow a single offensive score in the last four games of the regular season. The Tigers played 13 games, scoring 200 total points while allowing only 78 entering the post-season double-elimination playoff tournament in second place earning a first-round bye.
The Tigers would face off against the two teams that defeated them during the regular season; the Thunder Warriors of the 707th Communications Squadron and the first-place regular season champions, Defense Media Activity.
During the regular season, the Tigers and Thunder Warriors exchanged victories. The post-season battle lived up to all expectations ending in a close 20-19 victory.
The 7th IS team would face off against the DMA team, but would keep the game close losing by six points (19-13) and dropping into a losers-bracket where they would have to face off against the 10th Fleet Cyber team to get another chance to compete with DMA. The Tigers would win that in a close 14-12 victory.
Having moved on to the championship round, the Tigers would have to defeat DMA twice in the double-elimination format. The first of the two games began in a defensive stalemate with each team forced to turn the ball over on unsuccessful possessions.
A goal line stand by the Tigers resulted in an touchdown-intended interception. With five seconds left in the first half, the Tigers would find the end zone for the first touchdown score putting the Tigers up 7-0 at the half time break.
DMA’s first possession would end in an end zone sack resulting in a safety, extending the Tiger lead 9-0 and giving the ball back to the 7th IS. The Tigers would score quickly on their next possession, extending the lead 16-0. DMA would find the end zone and score a touchdown before the end of the game ending in the first defeat of DMA by the 7th IS and opening the opportunity for a rematch in a championship game; final score: 16-6.
The second game began with DMA striking early with a touchdown that was quickly answered by the Tigers tying the game 7-7.
A key defensive sack would force DMA to turn the ball over. The Tigers would find the end zone for another score just before the half, taking the lead 13-7.
The next DMA possession would end with another end zone interception, giving the Tigers the ball. With the lead, the Tiger quarterback led a 17-play, 11-minute drive ending with a score extending the lead 20-7.
DMA would move the length of the field in the final two minutes of play to score a touchdown bringing the score closer, 20-14; with no timeouts and no chance of possessing the ball, the game ended with an eruption of cheering as the Tigers of the 7th Intelligence Squadron were named the Division Two Flag Football Champions.