Green Dukes Squander Early Lead, Fall 2-1 to UCF
The Duqueswood University Green Dukes
once again started strong and finished weak, bruised, and bloodied in a 2-1 loss to the UCF Golden Knights
. Despite scoring an early defensive touchdown and coming within the width or an elven ear-point to a second defensive stop, the Green Dukes gave up touchdowns to sophomore UCF wide receiver Tyler Griffin and freshman defensive back blitzer Ja'Cari Henderson, while failing once again to mount an offensive score of their own.
Henderson scores UCF’s game-winning touchdown
“It’s about learning to play complementary blood bowl,” Duqueswood Coach Smithson said after the game. “When the defensive is humming, the offense struggles, and when offense is clicking the defense sputters. That’s really been the story of the season. Well, that … and the fact that the dead bodies seem to be piling up.”
Coach Smithson’s “dead bodies” comment referred to the death of Harold Goldbrook, a walk-on freshman who joined the team from the stands before the start of the game, when the Green Dukes found they were one player short of a full roster. Goldbrook seemed confused most of the time he was on the field, trailing much of the action, and occasionally spinning on one foot, until UCF sophomore defensive back Matthew Alexander hit him with a brutal crack-back block on Tyler Griffin’s touchdown run at the end of the first half.
The clean block ripped open Goldbrook’s stomach when a steel spike from Alexander’s shoulder pad tore through Goldbrook’s jerkin. Having come out of the stands, the spirited little elf was not even wearing armor. As Alexander finished the block, taking Goldbrook to the ground, the steel spike slashed clean up to Goldbrook’s chin, spilling his liver, small intestines, and much of his lung tissue onto the pitch.
“Yeah, even I covered my eyes on that one,” said Duqueswood Apothecary Antwyn Longyo. “I’m used to seeing people’s insides, but there’s just something weird about seeing so much of those insides on the outside. Thankfully, he wasn’t a wardancer, so I knew there was no way Coach was going to ask me … uh, I mean, there was nothing anyone could do to save the poor kid.”
Duqueswood Apothecary Antwyn Longyo covers his eyes from the sight of so many of Goldbrook’s organs littering the field
What made Goldbrook’s death all the more tragic was that he was one of many spectators drawn to the game because of the university promoting it as the “Turf Stomp Tussle,” a rivalry game building off of last year’s 3-1 defeat to UCF, when Golden Knight lineman Andrew Dickerson was tossed from the game for fouling Green Duke wardancer Mirlin Spinleaf (tree-bark studies)
. However, when a large contingent of those spectators came to the stadium in elven formal wear (yes, apparently, they do make tuxedos out of leaves and tree bark), it was clear that they, like Goldbrook, had the wrong idea.
“Yeah, I talked to him just before kickoff, and he kept asking me if it was OK if he didn’t know the choreography” said Duqueswood junior lineman Kioric Rainwalker (creative foliage), whose postgame interview provided some insight into Goldbrook’s strange behavior in the first half. “I didn’t know what he meant, but then we started playing, and I thought, holy root blight! He thinks it’s a dance.”
Goldbrook performs a lovely leaping arabesque as Rainwalker looks on in shock and Alexander bears down on him for the block that would soon kill the spirited and graceful elf
Despite Goldbrook’s confusion, the Green Dukes managed to score first after UCF sophomore wideout Tyler Griffin muffed the opening kick. Swarming the ball, the Green Dukes managed to gain possession downfield, with junior lineman Garon Streamsong (molecular acorn analytics) deep in UCF territory surrounded by a cadre of three blockers. UCF reversed field and stormed back to try keep Streamsong from the endzone, but a few key blocks and one prancing and spinning dodge (which may have helped convince Goldbrook he was still attending some sort of dance performance) freed Streamsong for the TD.
“Hey, you don’t always have to jump over people to score,” said Streamsong when he was asked after the game how it felt to be only the team’s second non-wardancer to score this season. “Sometimes you just have to run away from them. And that’s something I’m good at. Coach says I don’t have much fight in me, but, as he puts it, ‘I got more flee than a stray hound doused in pig vomit.’ I think that’s a compliment.”
Duqueswood had a chance to establish firm control over the game midway through UCF’s next drive, when Windfoot grabbed Griffin near midfield along the southern sideline. Green Duke sophomore lineman Greeny Bullwind (history of dirt) had a double-team block opportunity on Henderson, which could have freed up first-year catcher Mardlyn Gittily (glyph painting) to help Windfoot with the tackle. But Henderson turned the tide of the game by stiff-arming Bullwind in the face and sending him to the pitch with blood pouring from his nose. Squandering the golden opportunity, Duqueswood then watched junior lineman Quan Lee wrestle Windfoot to the ground so Griffin could streak down the sideline for the score (while Alexander eviscerated Goldbrook).
“Yeah, that was a tough one,” said Coach Smithson of Bullwind’s failed block. “Some of the fellas told me after the game that there’s an elven phrase for that. They call it, ‘wrolyn dubyl zkuls.’ I have no idea how that translates literally, but it sounds awful. Just saying it makes me shiver.”
Receiving the second-half kickoff, the Green Dukes were still in position to grind out a 2-1 win, but the UCF defense quickly corralled Duqueswood junior thrower Elehorn Oakhand (quantitative rootconomics) at midfield and knocked out Windfoot, his most dangerous downfield threat. Surrounded by UCF defenders, Oakhand made a brilliant move to jump over one of his own stunned linemen, dodge past Golden Knight redshirt freshman dwarf lineman Chirstopher Flicka, and break into the clear. Gittily had a step on UCF’s lockdown defensive back Karlis Bailey-Vice downfield, streaking toward the goal line, and Oakhand spotted her, sprinted forward for the pass, and … tripped over his own feet, fumbling the ball.
Oakhand trips, dropping the ball as he falls to the pitch
“Yeah, that was another tough one,” said Coach Smithson. “I usually call that getting bitten by the turf monster, but then most of the fellas now think that’s a real thing, and some of them are afraid of the pitch. So I’m trying to learn the elven phrase for it. They call it ‘wrolyn dubyl wuns.’ Again, I have no idea what it means. But the sound of it … Just saying it makes me feel sick to my stomach.”
With Oakhand face-down on the pitch, likely fearing another attack from the turf monster, Henderson scoped up the ball and broke into the clear along the southern sideline. Though first-year receiver Scootyr Spinleaf (undeclared) and Bullwind were able to chase Henderson down and knock the ball loose at the goal line. Henderson quickly sprung back to his feet, grabbed the ball and ran across the goal line for the winning touchdown.
In doing so, UCF claimed the Bloody Boot, the Turf Stomp Tussle rivalry’s trophy, which confused many of the elves in attendance. Raising it above their heads, they marched off the field triumphant and will retain the trophy and bragging rights over the lowly Green Dukes for at least another season.
The UCF Golden Knights hoist the Bloody Boot in victory, claiming the first Turf Stomp Tussle rivalry game, which was not a dance—and we repeat this for the safety of elves everywhere: This was not a dance.
Additional Game Notes
The open roster spot that enabled Goldbrook to take the field, and subsequently die in a puddle of his own gore and viscera, came because Duqueswood’s captain, junior wardancer, Mirlin Spinleaf (tree bark studies) failed to show up for the game. Duqueswood University continues to insist that Spinleaf was not injured, despite the fact that there were reports of his strangely glowing femur sticking out of his thigh
at the end of last week’s game. Coach Smithson, for his part, declined to make any comment on the missing wardancer, insisting that he was only going to talk about the players on the field.
Oakhand, however, rose to his teammate’s defense when he was asked if he thought Spinleaf’s failure to show up for the game was the reason they lost. “It’s not about Mirlin,” he said, tears welling in his eyes. “You guys can point the finger at him. You can talk about him not showing up … . If you do that, that’s really unfair. Really unfair. That’s my teammate. That’s my wardancer. We lost as a team. We lost as a team, man.”
One bright spot the Green Dukes were able to take from the game was that UCF lineman Andrew Dickerson, who first sparked the ill will between the two squads by stomping on Spinleaf’s head last season, was knocked out in the first half. Bullwind, who delivered the forearm shiver that KO’d Dickerson, defended the hit as clean after the game, though he did indicate that the force of the blow may have been personal.
“That one was for Mirlin,” said Dickerson. When it was brought to his attention that Dickerson recovered, whereas the Duqueswood casualty box at game’s end held two badly injured players and one dead body, he added. “Well, yeah, those ones weren’t for Mirlin”