WICHITA, KS – The 5th place game ended with Boulder County rolling the rocks over Houston to secure a place in history being the lowest ranking team to ever take out a #2 seeded team in playoff history. The Houston All Stars are currently ranked #43 in the WFTDA listings while the Boulder County Bombers come in at #58. Don’t let the rankings or seedings fool you, in typical D2 fashion the upset came with evenly matched athletes as Boulder lit up the sky, 184 to 181 over Houston.
Boulder County started the game with a “hit-it-and-quit-it” strategy. The trend of back and forth scoring continued for the first 13 minutes. Houston dominated in lead jammer statuses nearly 60% of the time and capitalized on power jams, leaving Boulder County stranded in the water. Houston showed poise and posture, forcing penalty draws on Boulder County.
Death by Chocolate, a fan favorite, only jammed twice and concentrated on providing offense throughout the entire first half. The longest lead jammer status streak belonged to Houston while Boulder County shined with Feist E. One earning the most points with 86 and the most lead jam statuses with 11 jams.
The score between the two teams went the usual nickel-and-dime route up until Smashalotopus earned two cut track penalties which extended the time on the track, giving Houston three power jams with less than 10 minutes on the clock. Houston’s Poysenberry Pie mastered a swiveling technique to assist the jammers out of the pack, helping Houston add 45 points. The “mini-van jam”-a pack advantage of 4-2 with the smaller pack’s jammer in the box- was a contributing factor to Houston’s defensive dominance. Boulder County played a smart game and used a team time-out early to ice Houston’s momentum.
With 5:21 left on the clock in the first half, Mad Cap’N Cap had a positive 7 points against their opponents. Houston’s pack dominated with excellent bridging skills while Arrak-Kiss made a reputation for tearing the pack apart. The half ended with Houston on top 92 to 85.
The air in the arena changed as Boulder came into the 2nd half with a flurry, tying the score in the first 2 jams. For the next 10 minutes these two extraordinary teams dueled in lead changes, counting five more switches until tying up the score in jam 15 with the game clock ticking down to roughly ten minutes left. The crowd and social media streams were cheering out-of-control as four more lead changes happened within the last 7 minutes of the game.
Defense was the main focus of the game for Houston. Jekyll & Heidi partnered with Betty Watchett and Poysenberry Pie as a wrecking crew. Houston chose to field Death by Chocolate in the last jam with only three points separating the two teams. The strategy, as Houston led into jam 20, was to use DBC as an extra blocker to suffocate Feist E. One. By this time, 2x Force had fouled out with forearm penalties being the most prevalent issue for the skater. Honorable mention to Houston’s Slayer Moon who tied lead scorer with Nikkity Split with 55 points each.
As the game came to a close, Boulder County turned it on. Boulder County returned to their game defining race pace as they sped up the contest, throwing Houston into a tizzy. Boulder called for another team time-out with just 21 seconds left in the game clock before the last jam of the game etched history with a #8 seeded pencil.
Boulder County All Stars earned the #5 spot in the first playoff weekend with a closing score of 184 to 181 Houston.
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