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2023-05-11 16:58:12
4 votes, rating 6
Green Dukes Suffer Another Heartbreaker in Late-Game 2-1 Loss to UNLV

Green Dukes Suffer Another Heartbreaker in Late-Game 2-1 Loss to UNLV

The UNLV Throwin’ Rebels lived up to and beyond their name, besting the Duqueswood University Green Dukes 2-1 in a game that featured a dazzling combined 7 completions and 35 yards passing as well as a last-minute sideline scamper for the winning TD. Duqueswood got its lone touchdown from freshman lineman Greeny Bullwind ’26 (history of dirt), while the UNLV high elf squad got scores from catchers Kevin and Mike Thomas. But the most impressive performance came from Rebel freshman thrower Randall Cunningham, who put on a passing clinic with 6 of those combined completions, and 32 of those combined passing yards.

Green Dukes players watch in shock and envy as Cunningham prepares to throw and complete his 6th pass on the day

“We’re definitely proud to be part of a game that put up those kind of impressive passing numbers,” said Duqueswood Coach Gerric Smithson after the game. “Now granted, all you analytics mavens out there are going to tell me our side only contributed to less 10 percent of those numbers, but still it’s an accomplishment we’re going to take pride in.”

The Green Dukes actually did jump-start the game’s passing attack, despite contributing little to the overall aerial highlights. After receiving the opening kick, new freshman walk-on thrower Bryden Branch ’26 (quantitative root-conomics) set up near midfield behind Green Duke Treeman Oakward Weatherborn (undeclared) ’26, as several Duqueswood players streaked up field on pass routes. The play quickly broke down, however, when Rebels sophomore blitzer John Lotulelei lowered a shoulder into the side of Mirlin Spinleaf’s (tree-bark studies) head, sending the Duqueswood team captain and standout sophomore wardancer to the pitch with a vicious head wound that kept him out of the rest of the game, and will see him miss time next week as well.

There’s been some speculation that Spinleaf’s injury resulted from his teammate, fellow wardancer Angorn Windfoot ’26, intentionally failing to protect Spinleaf’s blind side for the second time this season. As the team’s only athletic-schoalrship player, Windfoot came to the Duqeswood from the distant Loren Forest with the promise of playing time and an offense designed around him. After touchdowns in the first two games, however, Windfoot has seen his offensive role reduced because of the emergence Spinleaf, who despite only playing Blood Bowl for one year—after a century playing the popular wood elf youth sport of competitive tree hugging—has more than doubled Windfoot’s TDs and been elected team captain. But Coach Smithson insists there’s no truth to the rumors.

“No, no, no,” said Smithson. “I talked to Angorn extensively, and he told me he’s happy with his role and there’s no way he would do anything to hurt one of his teammates. Of course, the kid only speaks elvish, so I didn’t understand a word he said, but trust me. He’s got his head on straight.”

In any event, Branch, who got the start in place of oft-injured sophomore thrower Elehorn Oakhand ’25 (organic alchemy), didn’t panic when Windfoot went down, and instead sprinted up the northern sideline and flicked a nifty little pass to Bullwind 10 yards from the endzone. UNLV catcher Mike Thomas dove to the side to get a hand on the ball, but despite his deflection, Bullwind still found the ball in his hands, made the catch, and ran across the goal line to put the Green Dukes up 1-0.

Bullwind is surprised to find the deflected pass in his own hand moments before scoring the game’s first TD

“Shoot, that was nothing,” said a cocksure Branch, who grew up in the northern region of Duqueswood, known for its tree-disputes between fairy and elven clans. “Just like chucking acorns at fairies back home—except for the part where there were other elves trying to take my head off.”

As Cunningham warmed up his arm on the other sideline, however, the Green Duke’s lead was far from safe. UNLV took the following kickoff and quickly moved up field, with Cunningham handling the ball, and several catchers scattering on routes that posed several immediate scoring threats. When Cunningham hit catcher Henry Bailey just 5 yards from paydirt, it looked like UNLV would tie the game quickly. But controversial Green Duke linewoman Zephyra Gettleaf (double major: Oakish and women’s & arbor studies) deftly dodged around a blocker through the endzone and hit Bailey with a flying scissor kick that knocked the carrier and the ball to the turf.

“Looks like somebody’s starting find her footing in this senseless display of gratuitous violence, as she put it in her little petition,” Coach Smithson said of Gettleaf, who only joined the team to get better access to Weatherborn for her research on Oakish and treeman culture after protesting the university’s Blood Bowl program. “Now we just have to teach the elf maiden how to pick up the ball.”

Just when it looked like Duqueswood was going to end the drive and take control of the game, however, Cunningham scooped up the ball, ran backwards 10 yards, and hit Kevin Thomas in the endzone with stunning step-back fall-away pass. With little time left in the half, both teams were content to go into halftime tied 1-1.

UNLV opened the second half much in the same way it ended the first—with Cunningham tossing the ball as deftly and dazzlingly as a juggling mummer at a royal wedding. Once he gathered the kickoff, the freshman phenom, who currently leads the NCBB in passing, completed three second half passes, including one deep throw to Bailey near midfield only to have Bailey race 20 yards backwards and hand the ball back to Cunningham. The strategy seemed curious, but it definitely demoralized the Green Dukes defenders, who momentarily stood with their hands on their hips mystified by the seemingly senseless aerial wizardry.

Once again, the UNLV drive seemed to stall, when Cunningham hit Mike Thomas with a pass near midfield, and the catcher caught an elbow from Bullwind that sent both elves and the ball to the turf. Thomas was the first to his feet, however, rolling over, grabbing the ball, and racing up field. But he soon found himself hemmed in by Duqueswood defenders near the southern sideline, and with the clock ticking down, the Green Dukes looked poised to force a tie or perhaps even a last-second TD of their own.

Charging Thomas from behind, Windfoot had his best chance to become a hero in Spinleaf’s absence. The wardancer tried to blitz a nearby blocker so that he could get into position to help freshman lineman Styrill Sidehill ’26 (creative foliage) take down Thomas. But as Windfoot lunged for the blocker’s throat, the high elf grabbed the wardancer’s arm, spun him around and tossed him to the ground like a sack of woodchips. With nothing but green in front of him, Thomas trotted down the sideline for the game-winning TD as Windfoot beat his fists against the pitch (no doubt upsetting some of this teammates with this senseless act of violence against the sacred blades of grass).

Windfoot falls to the pitch, after failing on a blitz that would have put him into position to help bring down Thomas and prevent the game-winning TD

“Look, I know there’s no such thing as a moral victory in Blood Bowl,” said Coach Smithson in the post-game press conference. “But our fellas played their hearts out, so how about we call it an immoral tie?”

Despite the loss, there appeared to be some good news for Duqueswood in Gettleaf’s apparent enthusiasm for the game. In addition to enjoying her first successful blitz, the linewoman was spotted celebrating when Weatherborn earned his fourth straight casualty, maiming UNLV’s Ickey Woods with a mighty branch blow to the face.

With the Green Dukes’ at 2-5, their season on the brink, and the hearing on Gettleaf’s potentially improper recruitment scheduled for this week, it seems that Coach Smithson might dodge one rock headed his way, as the investigation’s key witness appears to have just become a Blood Bowl enthusiast. Asked after the game what she thought of the sport now, Gettleaf quoted Weatherborn by emitting a low guttural 2-hour grown. Though none of our scribes speak Oakish, we already know exactly what she was saying from her week-4 translation of the same statement from Weatherborn after his first game: “Blood bowl fun.”

Gettleaf celebrates as Wetherborn shows Woods that his bark is, in fact, much worse than his bite

Next up the Green Dukes will try to right the tree against the Oregon State Reavers who stand at 1-2-4 after last week’s victory over Washington State Orkricultural.
Rate this entry
Posted by BeanBelly on 2023-05-11 17:01:47
Fantastic again
Posted by Arcayn on 2023-05-12 06:33:17
Amazing stuff! Thanks.
Posted by BlarghBowl on 2023-05-13 08:30:38
Always love these write ups!