Green Dukes Bashed But Not Beaten in Home Opener Vs. Bama Bumpkin Tide
The Duqueswood University Green Dukes
fought their way to a costly 1-1 tie with the Bama Bumpkin Tide
in their home opener for the NCBB season 44
. Bama got its lone score on a long, time-consuming touchdown run by dwarf runner Jim Bob Cooter, who led all players with 29 yards rushing on the day. Duqueswood earned the equalizer late in the second half with a TD by freshman wardancer Bixtyr Brightwing (magical leaf studies), who continues to be a bright spot for the team, with his second TD on the season. The game’s huge dark spot, however, came in the form of the death of junior wardancer and team captain Angorn Windfoot (elven military history), who was killed while making a key block for Brightwing’s score.
Coach Smithson shed a few tears at the podium as he discussed Windfoot’s death during the postgame press conference, his broken wrist a painful reminder of the brief joy the coach and player had shared
“Words fail me right now,” said a clearly choked up Duqueswood Coach Smithson after the game. “I guess that’s kind of fitting, since words so often failed me with Windfoot, seeing as the kid could only speak elven
his first two seasons. All I can say is I think that kid had a future in the pros, and it’s a damn shame to see a bright future cut short like this. I mean, he was only 112 years old.”
Bama took control of the game early with a punishing touchdown drive that ate up almost the entirety of the first half. After quickly grabbing the opening kick, Cooter followed his blockers up field as the dwarves cleared a path through the wood elves, aided in no small part by the controversial death roller, Big Ol’ Chevy.
“I was not aware one could bring the machines of war onto the pitch for these contests,” said Brightwing, who drew most of Chevy’s wrath throughout the first half. “I’m sure there are rules against it. But as we are all well aware, dwarven kind care as little for rules as they do for the trees they fell to feed their forges. At the very least, however, you’d think they could refrain from running you over with the smoke-belching monstrosity whilst you’re lying on the field stunned.”
Chevy mows down Green Dukes as Cooter follows on his way to the endzone
That was exactly what Chevy tried to do late in the first half, when Cooter neared the end zone along the northern sideline. With Brightwing on the pitch, Chevy rolled forward in an attempt to turn the wardancer into what the dwarf lords call in their tongue “roedkyll.” Thankfully for the Green Dukes, the referee spotted the foul and banned Chevy from the rest of the match.
“It’s good to know these refs can still see something,” said Coach Smithson on the call. “I mean, I don’t know how you miss a rolling contraption of steel and death the size of two carriages on the field, flattening over elves like a stampeding oliphant, but at least he noticed the thing by the third foul.”
Despite losing the key blocker, Cooter was able to cut back to the middle of the field in the closing seconds of the half within just a few yards of the endzone. Picking up key blocks from dwarf blocker Skeeter Jones and troll slayer Cleetus White, Cooter crossed the goal line and put the Bumpkin Tide up 1-0.
Bama started the second half with a surprising onside kick, surrounding the ball near midfield, just behind Green Dukes treeman Oakward Weatherborn. Duqueswood then spent much of the second half simply trying to get their hands on the ball, as it was scooped up by Bama blitzer Charles Ray Hendricks.
Hendricks trundled from one dwarf cage to the next, trying to avoid the fleet-footed Green Dukes baring down on him. At one point, Bama troll slayer Larry Cableman threw a vicious block on the Green Duke’s Kioric Rainwalker, gutting the junior wood elf lineman with his shoulder spike, leaving him sliced nearly clean in half on the pitch. By the time Rainwalker was dragged to the sidelines for the apothecary to take a look, he was mostly dead but not all dead. Accordingly, there was one thing that could save his life—the apothecary’s sole healing potion.
“Look, I’ve taken a lot of flack for only letting our apothecary work on our wardancers,” said Coach Smithson. “People say I’ve just stood by while players have bled out and died or told dead players to rub some dirt on it and get back on the field. So this time, I told the Apo to do his thing on Kioric. Is everyone happy now?”
As the Apothecary stitched Rainwalker’s body back together, poured the potion into his mouth, and said a few elven prayers on the sidelines, Bama’s Hendricks moved from the southern sideline to midfield and back to the southern sideline. Windfoot charged across the field, his red eyes locked on the dwarven blitzer. Cutting behind rooted Weatherborn, the wardancer used one of the treeman’s branches to vault himself into the air and deliver a flying kick to Hendrick’s jaw, sending the ball flying.
Windfoot delivers a dazzling blitzing kick to Hendricks face, helping Duqueswood reclaim the ball, but also delivering what few knew then would be the wardancer’s last block
Brightwing rushed in to snatch the ball off the pitch and get behind a few elf blockers near midfield. He quickly broke into the clear along the southern sideline, but the Green Dukes had already wasted so much time reclaiming the ball that there looked to be too little time left in the game for them to mount a potential second score after this one and earn a come-from-behind win. With this in mind, Coach Smithson signaled the team to stall in the hopes of scoring the tying TD without giving Bama enough time to retake the lead.
Windfoot, who has struggled in pervious seasons to follow coaching directions at times
, nodded solemnly at his coach, and stepped in the way of a hard-charging Cableman to give Brightwing some extra seconds before he needed to cross the goal line. Enraged and emboldened by already having killed one elf, Cableman blitzed forward in a frenzy. At first his block only pushed Windfoot back, but Cableman kept coming. As Windfoot nodded again toward his coach on the sideline, confident that he could hold the troll slayer off, Cableman lowered his shoulder and drove his steel shoulder spike into Windfoot’s left eye, through his skull, and clean out the back of his head.
The home crowd gasped in unison as blood, bone fragments, and brain matter sprayed out of Windfoot’s head. Then all was silent, save for the chuckling of dwarves, and Windfoot’s body dropped to the ground like a fallen leaf, dead, twitching slightly, but never to leap again.
Brightwing turned at the sound of metal on bone. With his face white as ash, he slowly backed into the endzone and scored the tying touchdown. The crowd gave no cheer. Windfoot’s body ceased its twitching and was still.
“I knew him not long, but he taught me much,” said a clearly shaken Brightwing during the postgame press conference. “I remember how he told me, ‘Our coach is but human. He may smell funny. He may be dull and dim as the setting sun in early winter, but we must listen to his council.’ I trust you won’t tell Coach Smithson I spoke of this. Why are you all writing with your quills like that as I speak?”
Shocked, and horrified, Brightwing backs into the endzone for the tying TD
With less than a minute left in the game, Bama was unable to mount a drive after desperately throwing an errant pass up field. So instead they stormed toward midfield to join the elves in a scrum of violence and anger. Punches were still flying as the final whistle blew and armed stadium security guards closed in to separate the teams.
“You never like to see a game end like that,” said Coach Smithson. When asked if by “like that” he meant in a tie or with a brawl at midfield, he replied, “Neither, what I meant was you never like to see the game end with one of your guys dead and all of theirs still living.”