VSU's Moose Attack finishes third at national tournament
Top: Teddy Welch, Wesley Welch, Isaac Ringer, Jocelyn Zhuno, Brandon Bradwell, Kyle Branch, Seth Ennis, Lance Jarriel, and Steven Cole Bottom: Rebekah Swilley, Rachel Swilley, Logan Petrey, Jessica Wilt, and Paige Petrey.
One intramural runner-up, one state championship, one intramural championship and one state runner-up; Moose Attack, a Valdosta State University coed flag football team, has an impressive resume for just two seasons, and during winter break, they added a final four finish at nationals.
Moose Attack took on the nation’s top teams in Orlando, Fla. at the annual NCCS National Flag Football Championships Jan. 4-6. The team finished third behind Angelo State and host team, University of Central Florida.
After placing second in the state tournament at the University of Georgia in Oct., Moose Attack traveled to Orlando on a fully self-funded trip.
Senior and team captain Wesley Welch said, “The tournament was not cheap, but our team has very supportive parents in the community that would do anything to give us the opportunity to represent Valdosta in the national tournament. Through their support and sponsorship, we were able to pay the entry fee, so the team would not have to pay the full price out of pocket.”
To start the tournament, Moose Attack dominated their pool beating the University of Missouri 26-18 and Western Carolina 39-9.
Senior quarter back, Kyle Branch, said, “After we beat Mizzou and Western Carolina, I felt that we were more prepared and ready than I had expected. When I realized we were one of four undefeated teams going into the bracket drawing, I felt we had a great chance to make a run at the title.”
Moving on to bracket play, Moose Attack was paired with neighbor Georgia Southern and gained their first round win 19-0.
The second round game between Moose Attack and 2011 Swamp Bowl Regional Tournament champions, Florida Gulf Coast University, proved to be a nail biter.
Welch said, “The game against Florida Gulf Coast was the craziest game of the tournament! I was proud of my team for never giving up even when it seemed impossible to win. With 20 seconds left in the game and down three, most people probably gave up on us, but Steven Cole made the play of the tournament running 40+ yards for the winning touchdown! That game was the greatest victory of my flag football career!”
Moose Attack won 18-15 gaining final four status.
Unfortunately, the team’s run came to an end after playing Angelo State in the semi-final game, 27-53. Angelo State continued on to win the tournament against University of Central Florida.
Sophomore quarterback, Rachel Swilley said, “After the Angelo State game, I was pretty disappointed about losing right before the championship. I mean, third in the nation is no small accomplishment, but playing for the National title would have been unreal. Angelo State was a very mature team, full of seniors, and they went on to win it all. Moose Attack had seven freshman and sophomores which is a huge difference as far as experience goes. I think we did very well to be the only co-rec flag team from VSU to participate at nationals so far. I'm only a sophomore and hope to compete again next year, and I'm excited to see how well the Moose will do in the years to come.”
Moose Attack had one player make the All-Tournament team; Senior Logan Petrey was honored as one of the top players in the tournament and therefore the nation.
Branch said, “For Logan to be selected to the All-Tournament Team at the national tournament is something that I consider incredible. I believe it is something she truly deserved, because she played her heart out every play of every game. We wouldn't have made it that far without her.”
Team members include: Brandon Bradwell, Kyle Branch, Steven Cole, Seth Ennis, Lance Jarriel, Logan Petrey, Paige Petrey, Isaac Ringer, Rachel Swilley, Rebekah Swilley, Teddy Welch, Wesley Welch, Jessica Wilt and Jocelyn Zhuno.
VSU Campus Recreation is an Institutional Member of the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association.