Camp Pendleton, Calif. -- The 1st Light Armor Reconnaissance Highlanders won their opening game with a 28-8 victory over the 1st Marine Logistics Group Beasts at the Paige Field House here, Aug. 19.
The defense of the Highlanders was rock solid throughout the game, forcing three fumbles and an interception.
The Highlanders returned the opening kickoff to their own 25 yard line. They continued to march the ball downfield and scored on a 60-yard run, taking an early 8-0 lead after a 2-point conversion.
The Beasts tried to answer the touchdown with their ground game, but with the exception of one 40-yard burst, they couldn’t penetrate the Highlanders run defense. On fourth and 10, the Beasts failed to convert, turning the ball over on downs.
The two teams had trouble finding a rhythm on offense until the Highlanders quarterback Josh Bulla connected a deep pass downfield, taking a 14-0 lead with them into halftime.
Each year the Commanding General’s Cup is hosted on Camp Pendleton to breed the spirit of competition and team work that distinguishes Marines. In addition, the top two units competing in the CG’s Cup win money for their command at the end of each half of the competitions.
“Eleven people with one goal, to win, there is nothing like it,” said Charles Peoples, corner back and wide receiver for the Highlanders. “It’s not just a game to me, it’s a lifestyle.”
The Highlanders’ stifling defense came out in the second half and forced a fumble on the very first play, giving them excellent field position which led to them extending their lead 20-0. The majority of the second half was spent with a lot of back and forth with both defenses playing strong and creating numerous turnovers on downs.
Just when the Beasts gained momentum, Peoples snagged an interception and returned it to their own 43-yard line.
The Beasts stuffed the run game on the first two downs of the drive following the interception, but on third and 10, Bulla connected with a 24-yard pass down to the 36-yard line. The Highlanders managed to move the ball downfield as Bulla scrambled for a few yards at a time until he found Bennie Netters, his tight end, open in the end zone, taking a 28-0 lead after another two-point conversion with 8:44 left to play in the game.
The Beasts’ offense retaliated by moving the ball downfield methodically on the ground. Despite trailing by 28 points, they were determined to find the end zone. They punched it in on a 20-yards run, putting their first points of the night on the scoreboard with 1:30 left to play in the game.
Following the two-point conversion, the Highlanders ran down the clock and claimed a 28-8 victory in their opening game of the season. This win was their first step toward claiming the trophy for 1st LAR this year in the tackle football league.