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Ninjas triumph in mud

BY MATT SCHOMMER | OCTOBER 12, 2009 7:20 AM

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On a cold and mud-churned turf, the seventh-ranked Ninjas squad came up with a flag-football regular-season finale victory, 40-7, over Touchdown There on Sunday night at the Hawkeye Recreation Fields.

The win pushed the Ninjas record to a perfect 4-0 heading into postseason play.

“We don’t feel like we’ve really been challenged yet,” Ninjas senior quarterback Korey Hahn said.
Sunday night was no different.

After falling behind 7-0 on Touchdown There’s first possession, the Ninjas stormed back, scoring 40 unanswered points.

The only points Touchdown There could muster came on a deep pass from senior quarterback Jon Geppert that was tipped into the hands of one of his receivers for the score.

Hahn had an easier time finding his teammates. He led the Ninjas with four touchdown passes.

“Most of us have been playing together for three or four years,” Hahn said. “So we’ve had some turnover. I think we fit in well together.”

The Ninjas’ cohesiveness was most evident on defense. The squad was able to force five interceptions — one returned for a touchdown by senior Shaun Flander.

“We always try to force turnovers,” Hahn said. “We like to play pressure defense.”

Touchdown There’s Geppert can certainly attest to the Ninja’s rush.

“They have some good athletes,” Geppert said. “They’re fast and play aggressively.”

The Ninjas sent seniors Clint Kadolph and Jake Havenridge to rush the quarterback on every play.

The pressure didn’t result in many sacks, but it did force Geppert to throw on the run and often off his back foot, causing inaccurate and dangerous passes.

“We’re speed-oriented, but the mud kind of slowed us down tonight,” Hahn said. “But it does that to everyone. Both teams have to play in it.”

The weather and playing conditions seemed to affect Touchdown There a little bit more. Several players had trouble running their routes and rushing the quarterback.

“The field sucked, but we didn’t play up to our potential,” senior Jacob Darby said. “We have to blame this one on ourselves.”

Playing without any subs, Touchdown There had a hard time getting into any kind of rhythm. The squad took a more pro-style approach on offense, huddling before every play — although, it didn’t seem to yield any positive results.

“We don’t really have any plays,” senior Jason Williams said. “We huddle up, see what the defense gives us, and then go from there.”

The Ninjas didn’t have nearly as much trouble finding their offensive stroke.

Much of the Ninjas’ offense came off short slants and outs that turned into laterals.

“We don’t really practice doing that or anything,” Hahn said. “We just kind of start doing it, and then, it’s contagious. It’s our X-factor.”

Another factor that may start to affect the playoff-bound teams is the weather. With temperatures dipping into the 30s for some night games, the style of play for teams changes.

“Well, the weather sucks by the time the playoffs start,” Hahn said. “It’s definitely going to be a factor.”


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