By Staff Sgt. Candy Knight, 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 21, 2007
TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Although it lacked the glitz and glamour of the NFL's Pro Bowl, Travis' very own All-Stars brought their A-game to the Intramural Flag Football All-Star Classic Nov. 20.
Chosen by their individual teams as the best players, these All-Stars did not disappoint.
The Gold All-Stars got things started quickly, scoring on their second play from scrimmage, when Brandon Chavez, Gold All-Stars halfback/linebacker, turned a busted halfback option pass play into a dazzling 50-yard touchdown run, giving his team a 6-0 lead.
On the play, Chavez not only evaded five defenders, but also kept his balance and tiptoed down the sideline on his way to the endzone.
The score remained 6-0 until Max Briggs, Red All-Stars' quarterback, connected with James Wilson, wide receiver/cornerback for a 10-yard touchdown pass. The team converted the extra point and took a 7-6 lead with two minutes left in the half.
The Gold All-Star's next possession fizzled out, giving the Red All-Stars one last opportunity to score with 40 seconds left in the first half.
Briggs marched his team down the field to the opponents' 20-yard line; however his Hail Mary pass as time expired was intercepted by Shaun White, Gold All-Stars' cornerback.
After rethinking their play-calling strategy during halftime, the Red All-Stars came out firing to start the second half.
Unfortunately, their "shotgun" was firing blanks, as Chavez picked off one of Briggs' errant passes and returned it for a touchdown.
With that touchdown, the Gold All-Stars reclaim the lead, 12-7, although they once again missed the extra point.
"After my second interception, I was thinking 'I just ruined my team's chances ofwinning the game,'" Briggs said. "But my receivers stayed with me, never gave up and that gave me the confidence to bounce back."
That confidence showed on the Red All-Stars next possession as Briggs completed three straight passes for 30 yards and ran for another 10, giving his team a first and goal on the Gold All-Stars' one-yard line.
However, a controversial ruling by the referee nearly broke Briggs and the Red All-Stars' spirit.
Unable to punch the ball in for a score on first and second downs, Briggs dropped back and threw a high-angled pass to his receiver in the back of the endzone. The receiver jumped up and caught the ball and came down for what look like a touchdown.
The Red All-Stars celebration was short-lived as the referee ruled that, although the receiver had control of the ball, one foot came down out of bounds, thereby the play was ruled an incomplete pass.
Yet, photographic evidence showed that the receiver gained and maintained control of the ball, and got both feet down before stepping out of bounds.
"It's times like this that make you wish we had instant replay," Joe Neejer-Widener, Red-All-Stars coach said after the game.
On the very next play Briggs' pass was picked off by White, giving the Gold All-Stars the ball with two minutes left to play.
The Gold All-Stars attempted to run out the clock, but made a crucial error.
Facing a fourth and seven on their own 30-yard line, the team elected to try for the first down instead of punting the ball. The pass was incomplete, giving the Red All-Stars, and their quarterback, new hope with 90 seconds remaining.
Briggs, showing Tom Brady-like calmness and using Peyton Manning-like precision passes, guided his team to the endzone, where he connected, once again, with Wilson on a five-yard touchdown pass, giving the Red-All Stars a 13-12 lead.
They converted the extra point, making the score 14-12, and thus giving the Red All-
Stars a hard-earned, and emotional, come-from behind victory.
"It was touch and go there for a minute, but the squad came together and we pulled it out," Coach Neejer-Widener said. "It was a close game and everybody work hard and had fun."
"I have to give the Gold All-Stars credit because they came out and played tough," Briggs said. "I'm just happy we got the victory in the end."
Intramural Flag Football All-Stars
-- Max Briggs, 60th Security Forces Squadron
-- Lazarus Brown, 60th Diagnostics and Therapeutic Squadron
-- Larry Martinez, 60th MDTS
-- Joseph Cooper, 60th Operations Support Squadron
-- Brendon Victory, 60th Aerial Port Squadron
-- Adrian Jackson, 60th APS
-- Shane Hierlmear, 60th Equipment Maintenance Squadron
-- Justin Weber, 60th EMS
-- Joe Neejer-Widener, 60th Civil Engineer Squadron
-- Mike Plant, 60th Medical Support Squadron
-- Marcus Carrion, 60th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
-- Carter Brazell, 9th Air Refueling Squadron
-- Michael Goirl, 6th Air Refueling Squadron
-- Levar Alexander, 860th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
-- Brandon Chavez, 60th AMXS
-- Shaun White, 60th Logistics Readiness Squadron
-- Nigel Gholston, 60th LRS
-- Francis Colson, 573rd Global Support Squadron
-- Tim Wilcox, 860th AMXS
-- Joseph Harris, 660th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
-- Joseph Harris, Gold All-Stars wide receiver/inside linebacker, was chosen as the game's most valuable player. Harris finished with 50 yards receiving, two sacks and one pass defended.
-- Brandon Chavez won the Intramural Flag Football All-Star Classic's Elite Challenge, held before the All-Star game. The event consisted of quarterback accuracy challenge, running back skills challenge and punt challenge.