Hammer Tournament XIV – Championship 1st Half
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome, to Hammer Bowl XIV, the tournament to decide the true champion. Over the next two days we here at FanaticalHammer.com will celebrate the conclusion of football season with our annual Hammer Bowl. The 5 teams that comprise the Hammer Tournament League have battled it out in a 5 team, single elimination, pre-seeded, mock tournament. Our secret formula evens the playing field between NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, Junior College, & the NFL. Today the dust has settled from the Wild Card Game and the two Semifinal Games and only the #3 Kansas City Chiefs and the #1 Central Missouri Mules are left standing. Now let’s look at how these two teams got here.
The #3 Kansas City Chiefs concluded their regular season 9-7 with a divisional record dead even at 3-3. They defeated San Diego twice, lost to Denver twice, and split the series against Oakland. Kansas City did everything in their power to claim the final NFL Wild Card spot but due to reasons outside of their control found themselves just barely on the outside looking in for the NFL Playoffs. Then came the Hammer Tournament. #3 KC drew the short straw and was selected to play the #2 Oklahoma Sooners on OU’s home field in Norman, OK. In the previous 13 years of the Hammer Tournament OU has lost exactly 1 game ever and have taken home 12 of the last 13 Hammer Bowl Trophies. Kansas City was going to have to find a way to upset the most successful Hammer Tournament participant of all time. And an upset is exactly what they pulled off. Keeping the game close during the first half KC found themselves leading by one point at half time after a risky by successful 2 point conversion. Then the Chiefs defense found a way to keep OU out of the end zone for the entire second half. KC defeated OU 11 to 10 and advanced to their first Hammer Bowl.
The #1 Central Missouri Mules finished their regular season 7-4 and blew out Southeastern Oklahoma State in the annual Texarkana Bowl 48 to 21. They found themselves Hammer Tournament pre-seeded at #1 for the first time and played the winner of the Wild Card Game. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M embarrassed UCM at Miami Oklahoma in the 2012 semifinals and broke UCM hopes at a 3rd consecutive Hammer Bowl appearance. Now in 2014 they were given a chance at revenge. UCM played an outstanding Semifinal game on their home field at Warrensburg Missouri and found a way to shutout NEO A&M 13 to 0. A potential goal line stand by NEO A&M ended in an interception shutting out the Norsemen and advancing UCM to their 4th Hammer Bowl in 5 years.
Hammer Bowl XIV will be a game of firsts in a lot of ways.
Hammer Bowl XIV will be the first Hammer Bowl without the Oklahoma Sooners playing in it.
It will be the first Hammer Bowl without a team from the state of Oklahoma in it.
It will be the first Hammer Bowl the Chiefs have ever gone to.
It will be the second Hammer Bowl that the Oklahoma Sooners will not win.
It will be the second Hammer Bowl that doesn’t have #1 and #2 seeded teams in it.
And it will be the first Hammer Bowl to feature both teams that were a product of the 2010 Hammer Tournament expansion process.
It truly feels like the Hammer Tournament has come full circle. 15 years after the first bowl ever played we are getting to experience it all again for the first time. New teams, new goals, new experiences, and now new beginnings.
Since UCM traveled the farthest they will call the coin toss. This fictional game is being played at a neutral site here at AT&T Stadium here in Arlington Texas. Also the home to the first NCAA DI National Championship determined by a playoff. UCM has won the toss and has elected to get the ball first. Last year was the first time we saw a #3 seed team make it to the championship. Last year UCM was that #3 seed. This year UCM is the #1 seed and they are clearly fired up before the start of this game.
The Kansas City Chiefs (KC) kick off and Central Missouri (UCM) receives he ball in their own end zone. The UCM kickoff returner does not even attempt to kneel on it as he bursts out of the back of the end zone and is met and tackled at the 10 yard line. Wait a minute he actually spun out of that tackle and has scrambled to the 20. He dodges a tackle at the 25 and cuts to the left of the field. He dodges 2 more tackles and he is at the 45. There are only 2 Chiefs between him and the end zone as they appear to trip over each other. Neither KC would be tackler actually touches the UCM kickoff returner as he makes it to the 40, the 30, the 20, the 10. Touchdown UCM.
UCM 6, KC 0
In the very first play of the game UCM returns it 109 yards for a touchdown on the opening kickoff. Unbelievable. The extra point is good.
UCM 7, KC 0
The UCM crowd is fired up and every single fan is on their feet here at Hammer Bowl XIV. On the ensuing series KC returns the ball to the 15 yard line. KC converts their first 3 first downs and crosses the 50 yard line. 1st and 10 from the UCM 45 Alex Smith throws an interception. It is nearly half way through the 1st quarter before the UCM offense steps on the field for the first time. KC’s defense steps up and forces UCM to punt after a failed 3rd down conversion. On the first play of their second drive KC’s Alex Smith finds a wide receive wide open and gains 25 yards on a single pass. KC has crossed into the red zone for the first time tonight.
1st and 10 from the UCM 18. KC’s quarterback hands the ball off to the running back and he charges up the middle for 5 yards.
2nd and 5 from the UCM 14. Alex Smith drops back and throws a pass into the end zone. Incomplete.
3rd and 5 from the UCM 14. It’s another run up the middle but the running back is stopped short of the 1st down.
4th and 2 from the UCM 11. KC lines up for a chip shot field goal and it is good. KC is on the board.
UCM 7, KC 3
And that ends the 1st quarter. What an amazing and well played first quarter. Absolutely no penalties against either team.
The 2nd quarter continues the momentum and tempo from the 1st. Each team is playing lights out football on offense and each defense is making big stops.
With less than 2:00 remaining in the first half UCM converts a 3rd and long on a broken pass play than develops into a quarterback keeper. UCM’s quarterback slides down just beyond the first down marker. Two plays later and UCM is looking at 3rd and long again from the KC 25 yard line. The 3rd down play is a pass that is nearly intercepted and now UCM has to make a choice. Going into the half leading 10 to 3 wouldn’t be bad but UCM keeps their field goal team on the sidelines and goes for it. UCM’s quarterback takes the snap and scrambles to the right. He is struggling to find an open receiver. KC has every receiver covered. Finally a KC lineman breaks free and rushes the quarterback. He spins out of the tackle and charges up to the line of scrimmage, he throws it deep into the end zone, it’s complete, touchdown Central Missouri
UCM 13, KC 3
Talk about a gamble. UCM could have played it safe and went to half leading by a touchdown but instead they risked it and now it is a two score game at the half.
The extra point is blocked and both teams head to the locker room for halftime. Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of Hammer Bowl XIV.