GREEN DUKES OUT-COACHED IN 3-1 LOSS TO UCF GOLDEN KNIGHTS
The Duqueswood University Green Dukes
fell to .500 in the NCBB
after losing to the UCF Golden Knights
3-1 in a hard-fought game filled with several head-scratching Duqueswood coaching decisions. The old-world alliance UCF team scored its three touchdowns with a balanced attack generating 2 completions 49 rushing yards and 6 passing yards which led to TDs from sophomore blitzer Hudson Gibbs, freshman catcher Tyler Griffin, and sophomore lineman Andrew Dickerson. The Green Dukes, as usual, relied heavily on sophomore wardancer and team captain Mirlin Spinleaf ’25 (tree-bark studies), who scored their only TD with an impressive leaping touchdown run in the second half, bringing his TD total for the season to 5 (currently tied for second in the league).
“It’s not about individual achievements for me,” Spinleaf said after the game. “It’s about the glory of running and leaping across the beautiful green grass, the visual poetry of the distant tree branches swaying in the wind, the chirrup of the birdsong above us as we play. And, yeah, winning is kind of important too. So this game, there’s not much to celebrate.”
UCF struck early when, after two fumbled pick-ups sophomore thrower Timmy McClain hit Griffin with a perfectly thrown pass on the northern sideline. The speedy Griffin streaked up field, and the goal line was within reach when Spinleaf took him out and forced a fumble with a flying shoulder to the mid-section. Freshman Green Duke lineman Foren Longweed ’26 (undeclared) joined Spinleaf in surrounding the ball, and it looked for a moment like the Green Dukes might force an early turnover. But that’s when UCF’s standout sophomore dwarf troll slayer Stone Boss charged forward in a frenzy, head-butting Spinleaf twice in the sternum (due to the height difference) and nearly forcing him off the pitch.
Spinleaf fights to stay on his feet, stay on the field, and stay near the ball with some fancy side-stepping after a frenzy of head-butts from Boss
Spinleaf deftly side-stepped twice to stay on the ball despite being thoroughly dwarf-handled by Boss, but soon after, the wardancer was punched in the back of the head by rental star-player Ivar Errickson, whose expert guarding skills played a huge factor in the match. As Spinleaf lay face down, bleeding onto his beloved grass, Griffin grabbed the ball and high-stepped across the goal line to put UCF up 1-0.
“Definitely impressed with Mirlin’s effort there,” Green Duke Coach Gerric Smithson said after the game. “Kid did everything he could to stay on his feet and stay on the pitch. Though afterwards in the locker room he did tell me it was mainly because he loves the smell of the freshly mown grass. Come to think of it, I do wonder now if he stayed face down in the grass a little longer than he needed to. Well, it’s something we’ll talk about. Something we’ll work on in practice. Tackling the opponent—more important than smelling the grass. Seems like a simple concept, but … elves.”
The Green Dukes then got a taste of their own medicine when UCF executed an onside kick, leading to their second score of the half. Although Spinleaf was able to recover the kick, the UCF defense was closing in with the blitzing head-start the onside kick had earned them. When an elf journeyman wiffed on a block and fell to the ground—while the more capable blocker sophomore lineman Garon Streamsong ’25 (molecular acorn analytics) stood by—Errickson had a free run at Spinleaf, which ended with him grabbing the wardancer by the throat and slamming him onto the pitch.
“I’m not sure why Coach had the journeyman make that block instead of me,” said Streamsong after the game. “I mean, I am leading all our lineman on the team in casualties, and I’ve worked on my blocking skills a year longer than most of the guys. But who knows? The ways of humans have always been mysterious to me. As my grandmother used to say, ‘All humans are stupid and foul smelling.’ Oh shoot, that probably sounds bad in the common tongue. In elvish, it’s not insulting—or at least not as insulting.”
As the ball bounced away, Dickerson quickly scooped it up and ran for the goal line, putting UCF up 2-0 before halftime. While Spinleaf was once again lying face down on the pitch enjoying the greenery, UCF freshman lineman Karlis Bailey-Vice stomped on the back of the wardancer’s neck and stunned him for good measure. The ref quickly tossed Bailey-Vice for the foul, but the UCF coach argued the call, claiming that his player was only “helping the pointy-eared freak commune with the earth.” The ref was unmoved by that line of reasoning (though Spinleaf did note after the match that his closer look helped him see that the pitch actually had five species of grass and dirt made up of all three of the main soil classifications, sandy, silty, and clay).
The Green Dukes managed to get back in the game early in the second half on Spinleaf’s TD shortly following the kickoff. After making a run up the northern sideline, Spinleaf found himself hemmed in by Errickson and Griffin 10 yards from the goal line. Rather than wait for his blockers, Spinleaf delivered a flying kick to Errickson giving himself enough room to leap over Griffin and trot in for the score.
Spinleaf’s leaping touchdown run in the second half was the lone offensive highlight for the Green Dukes
Any momentum the Green Dukes had gathered was squandered moments later when Spinleaf attempted a second, but more ill-advised, leap. After McClain received the kickoff for UCF and made his way toward midfield surrounded by 6 Golden Knight blockers, coach Smithson made the questionable decision to send Spinleaf on a cage-leaping blitz. Not surprisingly, Spinleaf crashed to the ground in a heap among four opponents.
Having overcommitted toward the ball in anticipation of a successful blitz by the wardancer, the rest of the Green Dukes found themselves out of position, and McClain was able to find an opening to rush up field. Though a late charging blitz by freshman lineman Greeny Bullwind ’27 (quantitative rootconomics) was able to separate McClain from the ball, the rest of the team was still too far away to stop Gibbs from grabbing the ball and running untouched for the third UCF touchdown, which put the game out of reach.
“What do you want me to tell you, these kids got some impressive athletic ability,” said Smithson when his tactics were questioned after the game. “After the way Windfoot and Spinleaf have been jumping all over the place the last could of weeks, I thought they always landed on their feet. Kind of like cats. So yeah, that’s a lesson for me to take away from this one. Well, that and the fact that—according to Streamsong’s grandma—I need to find a better deodorant.”
Other than Spinleaf’s outstanding play (1 TD, 29 yards rushing, and 6 blocks), the lone bright spot for Duqueswood was the outstanding physicality they got from the new lumber-on freshman treeman Oakward Weatherborn ’27 (undeclared). After the treeman streaked onto the field last week
and proved nearly impossible to move off the pitch, Smithson reached out to Weatherborn about taking some classes at Duqueswood and joining the team.
“Reached out? Is that what he called it?” said Zephira Gettleaf ’26 (double major: Oakish and arbor & gender studies), the Duqueswood University student who was instrumental in removing Weatherborn from the field last week, and remains the only elf sufficiently fluent in Oakish to communicate with him. “That’s an interesting way of putting it. The truth is the university was going to press charges against him. Some trumped up charge of ‘in-tree-cent exposure.’ But they offered to cut him a deal if he played for the team. Now they got him in some remedial classes, and they want me to tutor him. I’m not sure brining this barbaric ‘sport’ to the university was a good move for Duqueswood. I plan on talking to this Coach Smithson, and we’ll see if Oakward has to go through this torment and exploitation much longer.”
Weatherborn, now in uniform, lifts Dickerson moments before driving him face first into the ground as the old world human lineman’s teammates look on in horror
Despite Gettleaf’s concerns, Weatherborn seemed to take to the sport quickly, delivering a game high 7 blocks and 2 casualties. Asked after the game how he liked his first match, Weatherborn emitted a low guttural grown for two hours. Though our scribes were unable to understand any of it, we reached out to Gettleaf, who reluctantly provided this translation: “Blood bowl fun.”