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Flag football team goes to nationals

By Chris Kessler
Don’t let their name fool you, this team is no joke. Moose Attack, a coed flag football team at VSU, has a staggering list of accomplishments that would make other teams green with envy.

In their two seasons, they’ve been VSU intramural runner-up, state runner-up, VSU intramural champions and state champions. Along with all that, they recently picked up a final four appearance at Nationals. Over the winter break, Moose Attack entered the annual NCCS National Flag Football Championships at the campus of University of Central Florida.. The team took on teams all across the country, and finished third. That is the highest finish by a VSU flag football team. Moose Attack, unlike most teams, traveled to Orlando for Nationals straight out of their own pockets.

The team hadn’t competed sin in the state tournament at the University of Georgia, and had only had four practices since.

But even with a lot of time off, the team was in sync from the start.Quarterback, Rachel Swiley said, “Team chemistry has a lot to do with it. Everyone gets along, we have fun, but we take it serious.”

The team kicked off the tournament with an impressive 26-18 victory over the University of Missouri, followed by a rout of Western Carolina 39-9 in pool play. It seemed that teams took this team from Valdosta a little too lightly.“We look a little goofy, but we go out there and surprise them. It teaches you not to judge a team before you play,”quarterback, Kyle Branch said.

Maybe teams didn’t expect Swiley, a girl, to be able to sprint out and throw the ball 40 yards.“They’re pretty surprised at first, but after a couple plays they adjust to it.”, said Swiley. Moose Attack kicked-off bracket play against a familiar foe in Georgia Southern and went on to beat them for the third time this year, 19-0. In the second round, Moose Attack battled Florida Gulf Coast in a classic. Down three, with less than 30 seconds left, Moose Attack scored the winning touchdown on an incredible play by Steven Cole that went for over 40 yards, giving them a 18-15 victory and sent them to the final four. Moose Attack would run into a buzz-saw by the name of Angelo State.

The team fought hard, but it seemed rust, youth and exhaustion caught up to them, as they lost to the eventual champions 53-27 in the semi-finals.

Along with their team success, Moose Attack had a player named to the All-Tournament team, Logan Petrey. The team was very proud to finish third in the nation, but still felt some disappointment. “We could have done better, considering how much time we had off. It never hurts to practice,”Branch said. Even though the team came up short, they still took the time to have some fun. They stayed at the Disney resort for the tournament and were able to bond and meet team from all over the country.

“It was fun to watch all the teams; you learn a lot. It was a good experience, our team is like a family. I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.”, said Branch.

With seven combined freshmen and sophomores on the team, expect to see Moose Attack continue their success for a while.

Moose Attack’s roster includes Swiley, Rebekah Swiley, Branch, Logan Petrey, Paige Petrey, Wesley Welch, Teddy Welch, Isaac Ringer, Brandon Bradwell, Branch, Jessica Wilt, Steven Cole, Seth Ennis, Lance Jarriel, and Jocelyn Zhuno.

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