Santa Barbara Invite-
We faced tough competition on Saturday, losing tough games to teams like UC Davis and UCSB. We ended the day with a dominant victory of Dartmouth. After a one win Saturday, we went to dinner that evening assuming we would play the next day in a consolation bracket. Between the first and second round of drinks, we discovered we had snuck our way in the championship bracket due to the point differential of the Dartmouth game. The Zontals came out the next morning ready to play. We faced the very talented handler core of British Colombia, amid the most intense downpour any of us had ever played through. After a dominant first half in which we controlled the game, we crumbed in the second half eventually losing 15-8. We finished out the tournament and spent Monday exploring around California.
The B team, led by Tony, took two vans of young Z boys to experience some Louisiana culture. Guest appearances were made by Jake Kotzman and Nate Daugg to help fill out the roster. Games were won. Jambalaya was eaten. Beer was drank. Made it back from Bourbon street. No one got arrested. Successful weekend.
2-2 on Saturday with a tough one point loss to Georgia Tech and a hard fought universe point victory against Virginia. The highlight of the weekend came in the final game on Sunday against Clemson. Frustration had started to set in, after what had already been a tough day and we were losing to start out the second half. What happened next is impossible to fully describe over a blog post. The 2016 team always played better when everyone was relaxed and having fun so Winkler decided at half it was up to him to keep the team feeling loose. After a 20 minute disappearance, he returns with a bucket of fried chicken and some beer for the nerves. Long story short, the Zontals thrives in the new mindset, got the break train rolling and finished the game 13-11.
We traveled to St. Louis to compete in the Midwest Throwdown and were hosted by the lovely Rotter family. We smashed our pool on Saturday going 4-0, lost a tight game to Missouri in the semis on Sunday and finished the weekend by beating Iowa State for 3rd. We left the weekend feeling good but frustrated we couldn't get past Missouri.
Back to St. Louis and Rotter family home. I think I had an excitement blackout during this tournament so its hard for me to recall all the details. We beat the defending sectionals champions, WashU, somewhere in the mix and played what was probably, up until that point in the season, our game of the year against Missouri. Our zone absolutely dominated in that game, grinding out points that lasted well over ten minutes. Zontal zone made multiple All Region Missouri players look confused and frustrated all game. We won on a huck to Trent which he caught over a Missouri player. It was the exact scenario in which we had lost to Missouri on universe point the year before. That wasn't the championship game but it was probably the one that mattered to us most. We ended the weekend as Ozark Sectional Champions. That's all that matters.
The team could not have been more excited in anticipation for this tournament. We got to play close to home and we knew we would have a large alumni contingent to be cheering us on. We cannot say thank you enough to those who came and supported us. We started Saturday by with a win over an athletic but fairly inexperienced Houston team. Brooks led the team by getting a lay out D on almost every point he played. Our second game was absolute battle against a talented Colorado State team. Zontals took the lead and controlled the game early, In the middle third of the game we got a little complacent and let Colorado State get back into it and take a few point lead. We score to make it 8-12 and are essentially looking at the end of our season. We know we have to make something happen right then. We get the first break back. Then the second. Now we have some momentum. We break a third time to make 11-12 and we can see the frustration mounting on the Colorado State sideline. The next point is an absolute with turns going back and forth. CSU had chances to end it but couldn't convert. After a serious injury forced us to change fields midpoint, we get the break and tie it up 12-12. Confidence was extremely high as we were able to force a turn and punch it in endzone right in front of the home crowd.
Our big victory on Saturday earned us a spot to play Colorado Mamabird on Sunday morning. The most points Colorado gave up in a single game on Saturday was 4. We knew Colorado wasn't going to take us seriously and we could see it in their overly confident attitude during warm ups. First play of the game Brooks gets a huge layout D on an All region player. From then on it was a great game. The Zontals hung in there and kept frustrating the Mamabird team the entire game. What had been a one or two point game for the majority ended in a 11 or 12-15 loss. We felt good about the way we played and definitely earned some respect from a top dog in the region.
Next game was against Arkansas. We were a little drained after the game against Colorado and didn't come out with our usual swagger. It was a close and hard fought game the entire was through. Our frustration mounted when calls continued to not go our way. In the end we weren't able to pull it out. It was extremely difficult to end the season this was but were proud of what we pulled off not only during regionals but through out the entire year.
The saddest part of the season isn't the conclusion of the final game, but knowing that brothers are leaving the program. This year we lost some Zontal legends, great players and even better people.
Senior class included: Charlie Rotter, Trent Kuhl, Jason Finklestein, Kyle Strickland, Eric Winkler, Will Mason, Tommy Gebhardt, and coach Jack Caliccio. Everyone still on the team is honored to played and learned from each of these guys.
Sorry that was so long. A lot to fit in and I'm sure there were probably moments I forgot. We will be posting and updating much more regularly this season to avoid the massive info dump.
That's all I got for now.
Proud to be HorrorZontal
- Young Neil