D1FW: (3) Arch Rival Holds Off (7) Wasatch, 235-154

D1FW: (3) Arch Rival Holds Off (7) Wasatch, 235-154 Photo: Dave Wood.

FORT WAYNE, IN — The final game of Saturday playoff action in Fort Wayne found 7th seed Wasatch going up against 3rd seed Arch Rival in a game to determine who’d advance to the 5th place game against Rose City on Sunday. While Wasatch trailed for all but a few seconds of the bout, they seemed to be one or two big jams away from the lead for nearly the whole game. Arch Rival’s hard-nosed defense — and some hard-to-handle jamming from Brickyard — refused to ever let those one or two jams happen, though, and Arch Rival finally pulled away for good in the last 7 minutes to win solidly, 235-154.

Arch took a kickoff lead jammer status to Mighty Mighty Boston while her blocker May Require Stitches forced a track on Moonraker; that one ended 3-0 as Boston apparently didn’t realize she was unopposed. Wasatch did a decent job on the penalty kill against South City Shiner, holding the damage to 14-0 even though they filled their penalty box, but Arch Rival kept it going with 3-0 after the power jam and enjoyed a 20-0 advantage after the opening three.

Strong defense from Shimmy Hoffa, Grave Danger, Mayor Francis Slayer and the ubiquitous May Require Stitches kept Wasatch blanked for the first 7 minutes before a 5-0 made it 31-5. The next jam was Arch Rival’s first jammer penalty; Bunz Bunny took 5 and passed the majority of the power jam to Ali3 Kitt3n, who bulled her way through Slayer and Danger for 12-0. With about ten minutes gone in the game, Arch’s lead was nine at 31-22.

The next jam saw Moonraker and Smarty McFly trade residence as jammers in the penalty box, but only Arch got points out of it, making things 48-22. The majority of Smarty’s penalty took place on the next jam, though, and once again Ali3 Kitt3n was there to whittle away at Arch’s advantage, taking 19-0. At the midpoint of the half, the Wasatch fans were starting to get rowdy as their team had pulled to within seven, 48-41.

That lead was just 3 points after the next Wasatch jam win, and Bunz Bunny momentarily flipped the lead during the next jam — but before it ended, Arch Rival went back ahead when Bunz was blocked. Arch pivot May Require Stitches took a star pass and ran up all of ARRG’s points; at the end of the somewhat chaotic jam, Arch Rival led 58-50.

Apparently galvanized by their brief loss of the lead, Arch Rival played a very solid series of jams next, marked by a big 20-0 power jam to Boston over Bunny. They kept Wasatch blanked to a new score of 95-50 with about 6 minutes to play in the half, which was ARRG’s biggest lead of the game; Wasatch managed to rally and take a little bit of that away in the half’s final jams to go into the break behind by 30, 99-69.

Wasatch opened the second with a 3-0 to Ali3 Kitt3n, but Harry Slaughter picked up a penalty as Wasatch jammer; Wasatch bled blockers to the box trying to hold back South City Shiner’s 10-0. Wasatch actually caught a bit of a break on the other side of the power jam, as it was a quick lead for Arch Rival’s Brickyard, but the jam was called on injury to Wasatch blocker Melanie Pfister before Brickyard could score. The time elapsed there ended the ARRG power jam, but it didn’t keep Arch from extending their lead to 118-72 with about 25 minutes to play on the next jam.

Wasatch speedster Ali3 Kitt3n pleased the Wasatch faithful with 9-0 on the followup as her blocker Colonel Skirts did a good job stuffing Mighty Mighty Boston; the good news kept coming for Wasatch as Arch Rival completely filled their penalty box and Harry Slaughter dropped 14-0 on power jam. Ali3 Kitt3n added more on the other side of the power jam in an odd sequence that saw South City Shiner get sent back to the box on an apparent illegal reentry but then quickly return.

After it was over, it was suddenly a one-pass game at 118-114 — but once again, Bunz Bunny got hit with a jammer penalty at the worst possible time, and then the problem was compounded when she looked askance at the referee and was given a second minute for insubordination. With Wasatch on the wrong side of a 4-2 pack situation, Brickyard ran up a huge 34-0 jam — and Wasatch was reduced to just one blocker on the track during the beginning of the next jam.

But Wasatch was saved from having the wheels completely fall off when Arch jammer Mighty Mighty Boston low-blocked her way to the box during her second scoring pass; what could have been a nightmare sequence turned into a 20-5 redemption jam for Bunz Bunny. It was 157-136 with about 15 minutes to play, narrowed to 157-139 on the followup.

Brickyard wasn’t having it, though; her 19-0 on the next jam moved the margin a hair out of striking distance for Wasatch. As Arch Rival continued to play just well enough to keep Wasatch at bay, they led 181-148 with 9:24 left; Wasatch called their first timeout there.

With 6:40 to play, Wasatch trailed by 30 — 181-151 — but that was the last time they truly threatened for the win. Another unfortunately timed penalty to Bunz Bunny ended Wasatch’s hopes of finally finding a way to close the gap. A star pass from South City Shiner to May Require Stitches doubled the margin following the 30-0 tag team, and it was 211-151 with 5 minutes to play; from there, Arch sealed the deal with a 24-3 run to end the game at 235-154.

Arch faces Rose City in the 5th place game at 2pm; Wasatch takes on Cincinnati for 7th at noon.