Flamethrowers extinguish the Riptide
Sunday morning dawned grey and cold, but by the time the Riptide stepped on the field to take on the San Francisco Flamethrowers, the sun was occasionally showing through the clouds. Like the weather, this game had bright and dark moments. The Flamethrowers have a good record so far, with their only loss being a hard fought game against the widely acknowledged Western Division favorites, the San Jose Spiders. San Francisco has a deep, experienced roster, with players well known from the college scene and familiar faces from the Bay area club powerhouse, Revolver. Therefore, the Riptide squad knew this would be their biggest test thus far.
The Flamethrowers looked good right off the bat, surprising the Riptide with their speed, and quickly picking up a 4-1 lead. It was competition on a level above the previous three games, and it was definitely an adjustment for our Vancouver team. However, it is a level Riptide is capable of competing at, and at that point our boys began to respond.
Due to injuries, the college schedule, and Spring Reign, Riptide was missing some big names in their lineup. The lack of Fenton, Tam, and Guo was felt, but their absence left room on the field for other players to step it up. Our handlers picked up speed, with Gnarlee and Will Vu involved in Riptide’s first couple points. Despite the score, the play on the field was tight, exhibiting some great plays from both the offensive and defensive line.
On the D line, Max Hunter shone as the core of Vancouver’s transition offence, second to only Will Vu in assists. Max is quickly establishing himself as a leader and one of our most consistent two-way players. It was also good to see Gyorgy Aponte come off the injury reserve and play his first game with the Riptide. He brought down a gravity- defying layout D off a dump pass, playing the kind of intense D the Riptide will need to succeed for the remainder of the season. Brain Baker also exemplified that level of determination, leading the team with three impressive D blocks.
However, the Flamethrowers continued to take advantage of each of the Riptide’s inconsistencies, maintaining a strong lead as the first half came to a close. Worth mentioning was a picture-perfect Callahan by San Fran’s Lucas Dallmann, forced by a smart double team on the endzone line.
Riptide came out after halftime clearly not willing to give up. After six players went up for a hospital pass, young Darren Wu came out with the point after the disc somehow landed in his lap. Taking his good luck and running with it, Wu was Riptide’s star receiver for the remainder of the game. The crowd went nuts each time he brought down a long bomb, and he was so successful he will challenge Fenton as team leader for goals in a game or two at this rate. Kevin Lore helped keep the game moving with a few miracle grabs, and Taylor Nadon had his best game so far, second to only Wu for goals.
In the end, the second half push from Riptide wasn’t quite enough. The Flamethrowers played a consistent, high intensity game and we couldn’t make up for the first half. The Flamethrowers won 29-20, and it was an entertaining ride regardless. One of the highlights of the game was a celebratory backflip from Captain Graham Landon after catching a hammer for the score. He’s more agile than he looks, folks!
The Flamethrowers may have knocked some steam out of the Riptide, but hopefully when we meet again in June the Tide will be stronger!