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Highlanders defeat Spartans to win CG's Cup football championship

By Cpl. Keenan Zelazoski | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | November 19, 2014


The 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Highlanders claimed a tough 20-19 victory over the Headquarters and Support Battalion Spartans to become the undefeated champions,  in the 2014 Commanding General’s Cup championship at the Paige Fieldhouse, Nov. 18.

The game was a grueling, back-and-forth match-up that came down to the final seconds.

Despite the Spartans starting the game with the ball, the Highlanders struck first after a quarter of excellent play by both defenses.

The Highlanders’ offense went for it on fourth-and-16 and quarterback Josh Bulla connected with wide receiver Charles Peoples for a touchdown, taking the lead 7-0 after a successful extra point.

The clock was running out in the second quarter, and the Spartans needed to score before the Highlanders got the ball back in the second half.  After losing their next possession, all eyes were on the Spartan’s defense.  They needed the ball back, and fast.

Defensive lineman Devante Young forced and recovered a fumble at the 30-yard line, giving his offense excellent field position with 1:37 to score left in the half.

The Spartan’s offense struggled on first and second down, but quarterback Cody Miller scrambled for two first downs to keep the drive alive. 

On the last play of the half, Miller was able to run the ball in from the 25-yard line.

The Highlanders led the Spartans, 7-6 going into half time after a blocked extra point attempt by the Spartans.

The Highlander’s offenses started the second half with possession of the ball, but were unable to extend their lead when linebacker Terry Thomas recovered a fumble.

The Spartans went up 12-7 when Miller found running back Mycqwan Nubine wide open in the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown pass.

The Highlanders’ offense immediately went to work, piecing together a scoring drive. Highlanders’ running back Zerbin Singleton found room up the middle for a first-and-goal. The Highlanders scored again to make the score 14-12.

Unlike their last drive, the Spartan’s offense seemed unstoppable on their next possession.  A 40-yard pass to wide receiver Bryce Pruitt brought the team to first-and-goal from the two-yard line.  The Spartans went up 19-12 on a two-yard scramble by Miller with six minutes left in the game.

The Highlanders’ offense needed to score, and Bulla came through on a critical fourth-and-16 situation, connecting with Peoples for a 20-yard gain.

Fullback Bennie Netters ran it in from the two-yard line, giving the Highlanders a 20-19 lead with one minute to play.

The Spartan’s offense put together what appeared to be a game winning drive when it all came down to a field goal attempt by kicker Aldo Alejandrez.  The ball sailed wide and left of the uprights, making the Highlanders base champions.

“We came up short this year,” said Michael Hall, a defensive end for the Spartans.  “We won one more game in this season than we did last year, though.  We can build on this team and win the championship next year.”

The Highlanders will go on to represent Camp Pendleton in the Best of the West game against the Marine Corps Communication Electronic School team from Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twenty-Nine Palms at  Paige Fieldhouse, Dec. 6.

“This game was way too close, but you can’t expect anything less when the two best teams in a league clash,” said Peoples, who received the Most Valuable Player award. “It feels good knowing the hard work paid off, and even more important than the game, winning the championship boosts the morale of our entire unit.  We have the best football team on the base, and that is something to take pride in.”