CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
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
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
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
“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,
“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.”