By Brett Ayers, MPIA 2013

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The Bushwhacker men’s 7 on 7 flag football team opened its season with a disappointing 20-6 loss against Break Out the Oreos.

Despite their advantage in athleticism at nearly every positional matchups, the Bushwhackers offense could never really seem to find its rhythm. After fighting through some early miscues, quarterback Andrew Burton played an instrumental role in the Bushwhacker offense’s only scoring drive, gashing the defense for several long runs after breaking containment. James Hartshorn and Bryan Cox also provided Burton with reliable checkdowns off of the line when he got into trouble. If Burton and his split receivers, a mostly veteran corps anchored by slot receivers Jack Huguely and Thanasis Kombos and outside deep threats Alex Tapia and myself, can find a way to get on the same page, it’s difficult to imagine many defenses containing the Bushwhacker attack with any consistency.

There’s work to be done on the other side of the ball as well. Despite showing flashes of promise at times, the speedy but inexperienced Bushwhacker defense was spread out and picked apart by the clever play design and consistent, fundamental play of Break Out the Oreos. The experienced squad has played together for several years and the trust and chemistry was evident. However, as Bushwhacker team captains Jack Huguely and I, we both viewed our first attempt at trying to coordinate a defense against a new type of 7 on 7 spread passing attack as positive overall despite the final result, noting as this is the first time in recent memory there has been a Bushwhacker 7 on 7 men’s team, so there were bound to be some unpleasant surprises.

Hopefully the Bushwhackers will be able to apply some of the lessons learned from playing against an experienced squad and readjust tactics for our next clash. The X-factor in the upcoming matchup may well be first years Patrick Hogan and Marques Varela who made solid contributions on both sides of the ball. Look for them to become impact players as they learn the system and gain more experience.

Whether you want to get on the field and join in on the action or just watch the Bushwhackers tear up their next opponents, team Oppa Gangnam Style, all are encouraged to come out to field 12A at Penberthy Athletic Complex this Thursday night at 8:45 p.m.