Green Dukes Disappoint in Another 2-2 Tie
The Duqueswood University Green Dukes
once again snatched a tie from the jaws of victory in a deflating 2-2 draw with the Mz State Bull Dawgz
. Despite much breaking Duqueswood’s way throughout the game, leading to TDs from wardancers Mirlin Spinleaf (tree-bark studies) and Angorn Windfoot (undecided), the Green Dukes gave up a last second score to first-year orc blitzer Bufford to deftly dodge (in true wood-elf style) their first potential win of the NCBB season.
“We made some great plays out there,” said Duqueswood Coach Smithson, whose in-game decisions once again came under fire after the game. “The other team just made an equal amount of great plays, combined with just a tad bit more murder. So, given that, I think coming out of it with a tie is something we can build on.”
The murder Smithson referred to was the death of sophomore lineman Jorel Birdsong (undeclared), who was decapitated by a mailed forearm shiver from Bull Dawgz senior blitzer Hargove while trying to make a block for the Green Dukes’ second touchdown. Despite the fact that Birdsong’s headless body was twitching and spurting blood near midfield, Smithson declined to use the team’s apothecary, whom he has heretofore only employed in the care of his star wardancers.
Hargrove delivers the forearm shiver that separated Birdsong’s head from his body
“Look, I’ll tell you the same thing I told that kid’s crying and grieving mother just before she was disarmed and removed from the locker room by security,” he said after the match. “There’s a lot of action out there for me to keep an eye on all of it. From where I was standing, I thought Jorel was holding his own. Heck, to be honest with you, kid was just as effective a blocker with his head as he was without it.”
Duqueswood’s first big break in the game came early, when the Bull Dawgz normally sure-handed orc thrower Parson fumbled the opening kickoff along the northern sideline. The Green Duke’s aggressively pushed forward, charging after the loose ball, and the gamble paid off when sophomore lineman Styrill Sidehill (creative foliage) pushed the Bull Dawgz star senior blitzer onto the loose ball. Though there was no chance that Sidehill could take down the much more powerful hulking wall of blood-thirsty green flesh, his push did make Parson step ever so slightly backwards and kick the ball up into the air with his heel. As luck would have it, a nearby Windfoot deftly snatched the ball out of the air, juked away and ran for the TD.
“You know what they say,” Sidehill said with a wide smile after the game. “The bigger they are … the more likely they are to kick the ball into your teammate’s hands when you fail to knock them down.”
Sidehill puts all his might into the push that moved Parson one inch—just enough to make him kick the ball up into Windfoot’s hands
The Green Dukes’ next break in the game came when Windfoot took to the air (for the sixth time this season) to leap over two blockers and land a flying elbow to the chin of Parson, who’d advanced into Duqueswood territory on the ensuing kick. The ball bounced from player to player, and the Green Dukes had the chance to keep the orcs from claiming the ball before the half ran out if they positioned themselves well. Coach Smithson, however, opted for a different tactic.
With two orcs standing near the ball, Duqueswood’s best blocking lineman, junior Garon Streamsong (molecular acorn analytics), came blitzing in and put one orc lineman in a vice-like headlock. He looked ready to put the Bull Dawg on the ground where he stood when Coach Smithson started shouting “push!” from the sidelines, apparently wanting him to push the lineman into the second orc to move both away from the ball (or perhaps forgetting that Streamsong was a skilled blocker). A confused Streamsong released the lineman, reached out to try to push him, and earned a stiff punch to the nose instead. As Streamsong went down in a heap, the Dawgz blitzer Williams scooped up the ball and sprinted for the TD to even the score at half time.
“There is an elven phrase for this kind of coaching decision,” said a dejected Streamsong after the game. “We call it ‘a ztoopyd wreerul.’ But there is no translation for this in the common tongue.”
Getting the kickoff to start the second half, however, the Green Dukes’ were still in a good position to come out with the win. They opted for a stalling technique, dropping all of their players back deep after junior thrower Elehorn Oakhand (quantitative root-conomics) scooped up the kick off. The orcs advanced in columns, covering the entire width of the field, giving the Green Dukes no lanes to dodge into.
Just as the Dawgz closed in, Spinleaf, his face once again dusted with a strange bright green substance, charged straight at them and leaped into the air. Miraculously, he landed on his feet behind them and raced up field with a skaven-like burst of speed. Bull Dawgz blitzers Hargrove and Williams charged after him and sent the wardancer sprawling with a vicious kick to the back. Their absence from the orc columns, however, gave Duqueswood the slightest of cracks.
After a key block from rental star player Willow Rosebark, Oakhand raced through the hole and pitched the ball forward to freshman thrower Bryden Branch (quantitative rootconomics). Branch then spun away from two orc lineman, and ran up field to get the ball to Spinleaf, who’d managed to get up from the turf and use his newfound speed to break into the clear.
“I must do everything I can to help this team win,” Spinleaf said after the game. “The smell of the grass, the wind in my hair, the poetry of the trees groaning as they sway in the breeze … None of it means anything to me anymore. All I crave now are touchdowns.”
That new zeal for the game may have worked against the Green Dukes, however. Poised for the score a few yards from the end zone with blockers between him and the pursuing Dawgz, Spinleaf had the chance to milk the clock. Birdsong, after all, gave his life with a desperate block to earn him a few more seconds. But as Spinleaf stood near the endzone, his legs began to twitch as if he literally could not stand still. With a desperate scream, he raced into the endzone, spiked the ball and paced around panting, while his teammates looked on with confusion.
Spinleaf stands near the goal line, struggling to resist the urge to keep moving
“He just really loves the game,” said Branch after the match. “And yeah, I think that was just grass on his face. Just like … glowing … green grass.”
With little time left to even the score, the BullDawgz took advantage of a short kick to get into scoring position with elf-like speed. After a hand-off and some desperate blitzing, they tied the game when Bufford stormed across the goal line as the final whistle blew.
With their record now 0 wins, 2 ties and 2 losses, the Green Dukes would need to win five of their last six games to be bowl eligible, a fact that seemed to irk Coach Smithson during the postgame press conference. When a scribe asked him if he thought his team could still win enough games to earn a bowl game, Smithson chuckled with exasperation.
“What’s that … Bowl games?” he said, the pitch of his voice rising in exasperation. “Don’t talk about bowl games? You kidding me? Bowl games? I just hope we can win a game!”
Additional Game Notes
Treeman Barks at Ref?
Controversy once again seems to be swirling around Duqueswood’s sophomore treeman Oakward Weatherborn, whom the referee mysteriously tossed from the game before the opening kickoff. “Tree was mouthing off to me,” was all the referee told scribes after the game, a curious explanation considering it takes Weatherborn up to three hours to utter a single word.
Not surprisingly, treepeople activist and sophomore linewoman Zephyra Gettleaf (double major: Oakish and women’s & arbor studies) has taken up Weatherborn’s cause, filing yet another formal complaint with the NCBB. “I will not rest until the realm treats treefolk with the same basic respect they show to humans and all the other races—well, not goblins. Nobody respects goblins,” she told scribes after the game. “Only then will I lift my voice and shout to the heavens, ‘Tree at last. Tree at last. Thank Nuffle, almighty. He can be a tree at last!’ ”
Gettleaf leads a protest for treepeoples’ rights down Duqueswood University’s A-Walk
Pondripple Neither Barking Nor Biting
Following the team’s second death in just two seasons, some might think Duqueswood Vice President of Student Safety Baerys Pondripple might once again move to cut the program
. However, when reached for comment on Streamsong’s death, Pondripple had nothing to say. His jaw, it seems, has been wired shut for months. Apparently he broke it when he reportedly tripped during a preseason meeting with Coach Smithson on the university’s Uther J. Rune-Elf Athletic Field.