Going into the fifth week of adult co-ed flag football action at The Center of Anna Maria Island, two of the three games were not played due to forfeits but the friendly rivalry between Ray Gardner and Tim Shaughnessy did not disappoint.
Missing his late pick-ups, Don Purvis and Lexi Sato, Gardner was forced to play with just four men on the field against the nearly full Lancaster Design squad. Gardner’s Progressive Cabinetry team showed it did not need the fifth player or the quarterback strength of Purvis to take the win last Thursday night.
As castmates in the annual Murder Mystery fundraiser at the Center, members of Team Progressive Cabinetry, Ray Gardner and Don Purvis, and Team Lancaster Design, Brianna Roberts, Mike Shaughnessy and Caleb Roberts, work together and have team chemistry, but on the gridiron, the individuals play hard for their respective teams.
To start the action after four minutes of play, quarterback T. Shaughnessy, brother of Brianna Roberts, found his favorite target, brother-in-law Caleb Roberts, for the first touchdown of the game. League veteran Karri Stephens caught the extra point throw in the end zone to take the early lead at 7-0.
Gardner and company quickly met the challenge with a touchdown and extra point of their own. On the second snap of the series, Ben Sato caught a short pitch but gained significant yardage for a first down.
League newcomer Connor Haughey scored the first touchdown for Progressive Cabinetry despite immense defensive pressure by B. Roberts on quarterback Gardner. Sato made the reception for the point after tying the game at 7-7.
Haughey showed his defensive ability by getting a reaching hand between the football and Stephens on the first down play. Haughey disrupted Lancaster Design’s offensive push by nabbing the C. Roberts pass intended for Shaughnessy.
The flag pull by C. Roberts prevented the pick six, but Progressive Cabinetry quickly found the end zone and put six more points on the scoreboard with a Sato touchdown catch.
Looking to tie the ball game, if not pull ahead, Lancaster Design struggled to put together plays. After a reception by Lane Burnett, two incomplete passes put the football back into the capable hands of Gardner.
With 26 seconds left on the first half clock, Haughey and Sato put the Progressive team in scoring position. Haughey took the ball after the snap and hit Zachary Holder for the touchdown and point after, advancing the score to 7-20.
Lancaster Design had another chance to score, but Sato’s speed led to a quarterback sack on the first down. The second down and last play of the half showcased the speed and agility of both the ball carrier Stephens and defender Gardner.
The second half started with Progressive Cabinetry on offense, but the Lancaster defense and non-stop effort by B. Roberts quickly gave the football back to Shaughnessy’s team.
Keeping the win within reach, C. Roberts and Shaughnessy both hit Stephens to gain big yardage. Haughey’s flag pulls temporarily kept the Lancaster Design squad out of the end zone. Stephens’ moves led him to the score, closing the Progressive lead to seven points.
Flag pulls by Jake Parsons stopped Haughey and Gardner on the first two plays of Progressive’s possession. After taking the ball to the 10-yard line, a scrambling Gardner finally found Holder at the back of the end zone for the team’s fourth touchdown of the game with less than six minutes left to play.
Unable to score, with incomplete passes by the team patriarch Mike Shaughnessy and C. Roberts, Progressive Cabinetry took over on offense for another Haughey touchdown with 47 seconds left on the clock.
Roberts closed out the game with a nice reception, ending with the final score at 13-33.