Photo Information

First Tank Battalion?s Daniel P. Wininger outruns Thomas Ulrich, Karl Taylor, Robert Osborne and John Ivans of 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Nov. 23 during the championship game of the Commanding General?s Tackle Football League.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Brian A. Tuthill

Tanks wins title over 3/4 in championship, will play Camp Pendleton

23 Nov 2005 | Lance Cpl. Brian A. Tuthill

More than 250 spectators roared as the final two teams went head-to-head in the Commanding General’s Tackle Football League championship game Nov. 23 at Felix Field.The Marines and Sailors of 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment took the field against 1st Tank Battalion, whom 3/4 soundly defeated at their last meeting earlier in the season, 22-6. After the long and heated struggle for the league title, Tanks emerged victorious, 16-8, and will go on to battle the Camp Pendleton “Mad Dawgs” in the Best of the West competition.“This was very exciting and unexpected based on Tanks’ season standings and how their last game with 3/4 went,” said Skip L. Best, director of Marine Corps Community Services Sports. “Tanks had a great defense all year, but did not put many points on the board, and it really surprised everyone. This was a great game to close the season.”The game appeared challenging for 3/4, who failed to score until the final minute of the game. Tanks had already scored three points with a field goal by the end of the first half.Both teams, however, did see their share of punts, fumbles and turnovers throughout the second half as they tried to advance toward their respective goal lines.Tanks scored their first touchdown not long into the third quarter, but it was the second tanker touchdown by Kyle Lazenby on the receiving end of a long pass that created the point deficit that 3/4 would not be able to recover from. This put Tanks ahead, 13-0.“3/4 played a hell of a game and have a great team. We just came out on top today,” said Tanks head coach Steven Santana. “We learned a lot from playing them, and they did a great job today.“The key for us was that we needed a kicker. We got him close enough and put three on the board and knew our defense was going to hold them through the game,” said Santana about his top-rated defense. “We had a plan, and it worked. It worked like a charm.”After a number of defensive penalties in the fourth quarter pushed 3/4 the wrong direction, Tanks soon had their offense back on the field and were able to send another field goal through the posts, extending their lead to 16.As cheers from wild fans echoed across the field, 3/4 again took possession as the game timer slipped under two minutes. Driving for gains measured in single digits on each play, 3/4 completed back-to-back-to-back plays without huddles to try and beat the clock. Their attempts paid off as 3/4’s Mark C. Rau, receiver, crossed the goal line after a successful catch. With the clock poised at 57 seconds, 3/4 completed a two-point conversion and brought the score to 16-8.Unfortunately for 3/4, the Tanks defense did what they do best and snuffed their final efforts to salvage a win.“This feels good, and our Marines pulled through,” said Tanks defender Roy Cheeks as he took his turn to hold the championship trophy after a brief awards ceremony on the field. “The last time we played these guys, they beat up on us and wore us down, but today we came out and had our heads up.“We were just more physical than they were today,” he said. “They scared us a little with that play, but we hung in there.”For Santana, who has already coached teams to league victories in softball and volleyball, his next game with Camp Pendleton will be a personal battle as well.“This is very personal for me, because I’ve played football since 1992 and I’ve never been able to defeat Pendleton at the ‘Dust Bowl,’ as we call it, but I feel very confident with this team,” he said. “It’s been a good year, and I look forward to playing Camp Pendleton here on our turf because it’s game on.”Tanks will take on Camp Pendleton’s finest Dec. 10 at Felix Field in the Best of the West championships.
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