Green Dukes Squeak out Hard-Fought 1-1 Tie vs. Thundering Herd
The Duqueswood University Green Dukes
fell just short of earning their fourth NCBB
win of the season, managing a 1-1 tie against the Marshall Thundering Herd
. The Green Dukes got their score on a thrower-to-thrower pass that saw Elehorn Oakhand ’25 (quantitative root-conomics) find paydirt for the second consecutive game, and the Marshall chaos chosen squad got its TD from beastman runner lineman Andre Sam, who led all players with 32 yards rushing.
Sam scores the game tying touchdown as the Green Dukes chase fruitlessly
Duqueswood got on the scoreboard first when freshman thrower Bryden Branch ’26 salvaged a broken play early in the first half to find Oakhand wide open near the northern sideline. The opportunity came after the Green Duke’s expertly drawn-up opening play fizzled when new catcher Perys Pondripple ’26, who broke into the clear deep in Herd territory on a post pattern, dropped a perfectly thrown pass by Oakhand.
Pondripple is the son of Duqueswood VP of Student Safety Baerys Pondripple
, who cleared Coach Gerric Smithson of all wrongdoing in his controversial recruitment of Zephyra Gettleaf ’26 (double major: Oakish, women’s & arbor studies) last week. As a result, some speculate that his spot on the team and his being featured on (and then botching) the first play of the game, resulted more from a backroom deal between Smithson and the catcher’s father than his actual Blood Bowl skills. But Smithson did his best to end those rumors.
“Perys earned his place on this squad just like any other elf out there,” he said. “I mean, it’s our first year, and most of these kids don’t even know what Blood Bowl is, so we’ve pretty much let anyone with a pulse and a pair of pointy ears join the squad. But the kid’s got some speedy little feet. You saw how open he was. He can definitely be a downfield threat for us. Unfortunately, on that play his hands were pretty much just like another pair of feet. We’ll have him working on the Jugs catapult this week—see if we can’t improve those little mitts a bit by next game.”
Marshall beastman runner lineman Toby Payne quickly scooped up the ball, and his teammates formed a four-man cage around him. It looked like the Green Dukes were quickly going to go from striking first to getting down early, but freshman wardancer Angorn Windfoot ’26 (undeclared) came flying in with another one of his cage-leaping blitzes, delivering a flying windmill kick to the side of Payne’s head. The fumbled ball bounced around as several players tried to grab it, finally settling at the feet of hulking chosen blocker Koby Cumberlander, who had 8 blocks and 1 casualty on the day.
Branch didn’t blink, however. Racing in from the northern sideline, he deftly picked the ball up and dodged away from Cumberlander with a one-handed cartwheel, then broke into the clear back along the sideline and hit Oakhand with a quick pass. Oakhand, who’d been standing all alone cursing Pondripple for dropping his pass, caught the ball and trotted into the end zone for his second score in two weeks.
“I can only hope that Pondripple was watching that so he now understands how you actually catch the ball,” said a somber Oakhand after the game. “Who knows how many touchdowns we’d have if I could catch my own passes?”
Branch makes the quick pass to Oakhand, as he trots past a Herd blocker and beastman
With plenty of time to even the score before halftime, Marshall quickly mounted a drive deep into Green Dukes territory. Windfoot and his fellow wardancer, Mirlin Spinleaf ’25 (tree-bark studies), seemed to be engaged in an aerial-violence ballet competition, as they repeatedly leaped into the Herd’s cage around the ball carrier. But Sam was unfazed, stiff-arming each desperate attack and then moving up field behind more blockers.
A tying score looked inevitable until an unlikely hero emerged. With Sam on the 20 yard-line, the Herd were one block away from clearing a path toward a touchdown. The only Green Duke in position to attempt a tackle was the undersized Pondripple. Closing his eyes, the catcher lashed out with a half-hearted slap that made a glancing connection with Sam’s ear. Rather than causing pain, the blow appeared to tickle the beastman, eliciting a bout of laughter that caused him to stumble and lose the ball. Before the Herd could regain possession, the halftime whistle blew, and the Green Dukes ended the half with a 1-0 lead.
Pondripple delivers the slap that made Sam fall over laughing as his Herd teammates look on
“I think that half shows you how far we’ve come as a program,” Coach Smithson said after the game. “We drop a pass like that or have a ball carrier deep in our territory early on in this season, and we had a tendency to just crumble. Now, these fellas keep fighting. They never say quit. No, seriously, Elvish has no ‘Q’ sound in it, so even the ones fluent in the common tongue can’t pronounce it. They say it and it just sounds like ‘kit.’ ”
Despite their newfound fighting spirt, the Green Dukes were not able to keep Sam out of the endzone in the second half. Injuring three wood elves and KO-ing one more, the Thundering Herd, stampeded their way down field, despite a few more attempted cage leaps, and Sam scored just a little over midway through the half.
Having discovered some new quick-scoring ability last week, and with both wardancers still in the game, Duqueswood had plenty of time to go for the winning score. Instead, the team looked to be content with the tie. Spinleaf took the opening kick, followed his blockers to midfield, and then stalled there, making only a half-hearted attempt to send Windfoot on pass route into potential scoring position in the final seconds. When Windfoot failed to leap through the Herd’s defensive column, Spinleaf just held onto the ball to try to run out the clock. Despite a last-second, cage-dodging strip by beastman Charles Montgomery, Spinleaf and freshman treeman Oakward Weatherborn ’26 (undeclared) were able to protect the loose ball and keep Marshall from gathering it before the final whistle.
When asked why the team was so conservative despite knowing they needed a win to have a chance to reach .500 by the end of the season, Coach Smithson took full responsibility. “Yeah, that one’s on me,” he said. “I was trying to get them motivated to score no matter what in that last possession, so before they went out for the kick, I told them a tie is like kissing your sister. I didn’t realize this, but apparently for a lot the smaller Duqueswood elven clans, it’s pretty common for families to marry brothers to sisters, so yeah … I guess a lot of them don’t see kissing their sisters the same way I do. Lesson learned.”
The Green Dukes will close out the season next week, seeking a win in a tough match-up against the Slam Diego State Aztecas, an amazon team that is currently undefeated at 5-2-0