The Boston Whitecaps overpowered the San Francisco Dogfish today with a final score of 20-15 to win the 2013 Major League Ultimate Championship.
The teams met for the first time this season at Franklin Field in Philadelphia. It was a hot day on damp turf with no wind, and both teams were ready to battle for the first-ever MLU title.
The game started with a break as the Dogfish worked the disc nicely up the field but then were blocked in the endzone by Teddy Browar-Jarus. Browar-Jarus then went on to score off a huck, putting the Whitecaps up 1-0. A long pass to Lucas Dallman ended with Shaun Doherty blocking, but a foul was called and Dallman made the breakmark throw to Eric Greenwood to tie the game at 1-1. The Dogfish amped up the defense and double teaming, but Jake Taylor was able to get off the long throw to Peter Prial to put the Whitecaps up 2-1. The Dogfish answered with a long high pass from Dallman to Drew Kim, who boxed out his defender to make the jumping catch and tie the game at 2. Devon Anderson played a perfect poach to intercept a Whitecaps pass in the endzone, then the Dogfish showed how they could control the speed of the game with patient O that led to Jordan Jeffery throwing to Andrew Hagen for the first Dogfish lead of the game at 3-2.
The Whitecaps clearly had a return plan in mind as they ignored the Dogfish double-team for a long huck from Josh Markette to Prial to tie the game at 3. The Dogfish struggled a bit in forward movement coming off the next pull and Will Neff got a point block on Cassidy Rasmussen just outside the endzone. Neff quickly threw it to Alex Simmons to put the Whitecaps up 4-3. Shaking off their disappointment, the Dogfish marched the disc up the sideline then opened things up in the middle to allow Kim to throw to Evan Boucher and tie the game at 4-4. Following Prial’s throw into the turf, the Dogfish marched it again up the field and Hagen sent it to Ryo Kawaoka in the endzone to put the Dogfish up 5-4.
The Whitecaps didn’t waste any time, and Brandon Malecek sent a huck off the pull to Jeff Graham to tie the game at 5. The Dogfish displayed their textbook swinging offense and extreme patience until Greenwood got the disc to Boucher and put the Dogfish up 6-5. The Whitecaps then took advantage of a loose San Francisco defense and Danny Clark threw it to Markette to tie the game at 6. Rasmussen made a long throw that didn’t connect, and Boucher made a great defensive play on an endzone pass, but Seth Reinhardt was able to catch the deflection for the score, putting the Whitecaps up 7-6 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter started with the Whitecaps on offense. They made quick passes across and up the field until Markette could get it to Prial and put the Whitecaps up 8-6. A long throw to Dogfish Patrick Baylis forced him to make a great layout, but he went out the back of the endzone. The Whitecaps and Dogfish traded turnovers until Boston’s Markette scored on a throw from Graham to put the Whitecaps at 9-6. The Dogfish continued to struggle, and after a couple of opportunities opened up, finally got on the second-quarter scoreboard with a throw from Hagen to Anderson to bring the score to 7-9.
The Whitecaps followed with Cooper making a risky thread to Clarke to make the score 10-7. The Dogfish worked it nicely toward the endzone and then threw it away on a hard throw after a timeout. As the quarter was winding down, Boston’s Graham made a great layout catch and the disc made it into the hands of Taylor, who fumbled it at the endzone but was eventually called in. The Dogfish hucked it in the final seconds following the pull but there was no score, leaving the count at the end of the second quarter 11-7, Whitecaps.
The second quarter was an indicator of how the game had increased in physicality and speed, if not in actual scoring. Despite the Whitecaps’ pull ahead of the Dogfish, there were only 5 total points scored in this quarter compared to the 13 scored in the first quarter.
The third quarter opened on a Boucher huck that went too long. He then got the D on a Jon Hirschberger huck, and Tyler Grant threw it long to Boucher for the score. Defense continued to be the key for the Dogfish as Devon Anderson got the block. San Francisco beat the Boston zone to allow Zac Travis to make the long throw to Jeffery, putting the Dogfish within two at 9-11. San Francisco then got the disc following an offensive foul and Smith found Brammer in the endzone to bring the gap to 10-11.
The Dogfish pulled out a tough sideline trap defense, but Prial was able to force it up the line to Cooper to halt the Dogfish scoring run and keep the Whitecaps up at 12-10. Robin Meyers got the interception going up against Rasmussen and then sent the disc to Hatchett to put the Whitecaps up 13-10. On O it was turn for turn until Boucher found Baylis to give the Dogfish 11 to the Whitecaps’ 13. Following a Clark huck throwaway to Graham, San Francisco’s Abram released a hammer that Hagen was able to bring down in a crowd, but the play also brought down Boston’s Graham and sent him out of the game on a stretcher after a long delay. The Dogfish came back into the play with their heads in it, and a Schlag huck to Boucher brought the score to 12-13.
The Whitecaps broke out of a tough sideline trap with a hammer, and Malecek sent it to Brian Zid to put the Whitecaps up again by two. The Dogfish answered with a long throw to Boucher who brought it down to make the score 13-14. Markette sent the quick huck to Clark to put the Whitecaps up again by two. An exciting apparent score with Greenwood and Baylis was called back, then the disc turned over on a Schlag throw into the middle of the endzone. The Whitecaps moved quickly with a Hirschberger huck to Simmons to put the Whitecaps up 16-13. A long throw to Boucher attracted two defenders to him and they forced the turnover with four seconds left.
After a quarter full of more scores and more referee whistles than previously, and the Whitecaps’ loss of play-maker Graham, the score stood at 16-13, Boston.
The Whitecaps started out the final quarter with nice offensive flow but sent it out the back of the endzone. They followed it up with tough defense that led to a Dogfish timeout. With the offensive line now on the field, Boucher found Greenwood to put the Dogfish back within two at 14-16. The Whitecaps answered with a throw from Taylor to Malecek to put Boston up again by three. Following a Dogfish turnover and double-team defense on the sideline, the Whitecaps called a timeout and then came back with Markette to Dave Truesdale to bring Boston up 18-14. The Dogfish took a risk with Schlag’s long throw to Boucher with Hatchett right in the middle of the play. The turnover was reversed and the disc went back to Boucher, who eventually caught a hammer from Greenwood for the goal. The Dogfish kept up their tough defense but Cooper was able to break out and send the disc to Truesdale. The score was 19-15 Boston.
Now the Dogfish appeared to rush their play as time ticked off the clock. An errant throw was almost caught by two different Dogfish receivers but the Whitecaps got the D and took a timeout. Not ready to give up, tough Dogfish defense forced Prial to throw a scoober that was blocked by Anderson. It looked like the Dogfish had another goal under their belt but a drop by Travis put the disc back into the Whitecaps’ hands for a quick huck to Markette and a Whitecaps lead of five at 20-15. The Whitecaps blocked a throw by Boucher, the Dogfish responded with a block of their own, and Greenwood hucked the disc in the last seconds but it ended up in a crowd.
After a tough final quarter to cap a hard-fought game, the Boston Whitecaps clinched the title over the San Francisco Dogfish to become the 2013 MLU Champions.