St. Louis, MO - Many had called it the “freebee bout.” Their Championship spots already clinched, the Stunt Devils and the M80s met Saturday night, July 11, knowing the outcome of the game would not affect their status. A dress rehearsal, some said, for what was to come.
If that’s the case, then the 2009 Championship bout is going to be historic. There are games, and then there are games. Saturday night’s bout was one of the latter.
A little background – In three years of play, the Stunt Devils have never beaten the M80s. In fact, over the last two seasons the M80s have lost only one game, this season’s opener against the Smashinistas in February. Usually a M80 game holds no surprises, the team easily dominating their opponent and crushing them with a heavy score. Also in their favor, the Stunt Devils were shorthanded due to injuries and retirements, having only 12 players to the M80′s 13.
Two-time champions, the M80s have a history of running away with a bout from the very start and keeping a solid lead. This game was no different, with the M80s scoring 18 unanswered points until the 4th jam. By the 7th jam they led 22 – 8. Then Stunt jammer Artemischief scored 11 points in the 8th jam, chipping away at that lead. Going into the half, the score was M80s 50 – Stunts 38. The crowd was already talking about the level of play and unexpected showing by the Stunts. It was a good game.
But the first half was nothing compared to what happened during the second.
Crippled by penalties, the M80s found themselves playing the beginning of the 2nd period with half their pack in the box. M80s jammers were sent to the box in jams 8 and 10, which allowed the Stunts to score 39 unanswered points over three jams. Even with heavy penalties of their own, The Stunts pulled away with the lead during the 10th jam, making it 81 – 73. It looked as if the Stunts had the M80s on the ropes, gaining momentum until the 15th jam, when Overland Offender racked up 15 points to put the M80s back on top.
From that moment on it was all out war. Every player was having his or her very best game. Aggressive from the very beginning, the hits got harder, the packs tighter, with each jam. Every jam was played like it was the last. Both teams were saving nothing for later.
The Stunts found themselves down two players at the start of the 16th jam. Enya Nightmare secured lead for the M80s. However, she only managed to score 5 points. South City Shiner closed the gap in the next jam, getting lead for the Stunts. The score was 103 – 92 for the next two jams, neither jammer able to get past the pack more than once.
With 1:42 left on the clock, it all came down to the very last jam.
Enya Nightmare got lead and called off the jam. Oh, wait, no she didn’t! The M80s jammer was not lead. Slowing down, raising her hands into the air, she celebrated until Artemischief sped past her, securing lead and perfectly poised to win the game. Nightmare chased her down. The noise was unbelievable, the fans going crazy as both jammers re-entered the pack. Herculaneum efforts from blockers on both sides kept the action going until the final whistle, with the M80s winning 107 – 100.
The message is clear, The Stunt Devils are out to win and they have the ability to do it.
The narrow victory over the Stunts means the M80s will have to work hard if they want to secure their 3rd Championship in a row. The Championship game will take place August 29, 2009, at the All American Sports Mall in St. Louis, MO. All bets are off, folks! This is one game you do not want to miss!
Most points scored: Artemischief, 56 (SD), Enya Nightmare, 24 (M80s)
Most Penalties, Minor: Grave Danger (SD), Ana Warpath (M80s)
Most Penalties, Major: Mayor Francis Slayer (SD), Overland Offender (M80s)
Total Lead Jam Percent: Stunt Devils 50%, M80s 47%
Total Lead Jam: Stunts 19, M80 18