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Voodoo wins the Money at HISI

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Show Me The Money 2018 Hike It and Spike It tournament champions: Voodoo takes First-Place. (David Rocha Photo)

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The weather for the ‘Show Me the Money’ championship game was Texas hot. The game was an all-Texas shootout between the Voodoo from Amarillo and the Young Gunz from El Paso. This game was a rematch of their 9 a.m. game on Sunday, in which Voodoo won 47-26, forcing the Young Gunz to win from the losers bracket.

The game was nothing short of a shootout with big plays made by both teams on both sides of the ball.

Fans at this year’s HISI liked how both quarterbacks stood in the pocket and threw the deep ball with rushers barreling down on them.

Voodoo quarterback J.W. Miller not only launched one deep ball but threw another for paydirt to help his team come from behind to win the ‘Money’ in overtime, 13-12 over the Young Gunz at Cielo Grande Recreation Area on Sunday.

“The last play we ran is called ‘Venom’ on extra points,” Miller said. “It works every time. We have three in tight, the left side receiver does a backside drag across the end zone. The center does a curl to hold the middle defender up and the right receiver shoots the cone. I look to the cone and then I look to the middle and the drag is wide open. I’ve been coming here for 17 years. What happened this year is we finally got a defense, we’ve always had an offense — that’s why we won.”

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For Miller, this has been a great year for his 4-on-4 flag football team. They won the national 4-on-4 in Las Vegas in August, and plan on going back to Vegas to repeat.

For Voodoo, it meant coming from El Paso to compete for the 10th year in a row, never feeling the cool $3,000 cash in their hand after two days of battling. Another change the team made was it went out and picked up two players that would make a difference.

One player they felt would put them over the top on the defensive side of the ball was Zacchaeus Watson. Watson became their defensive specialist, used to shut down the other teams’ No.1 receiver. For all but one play, he did. Watson got beat on a long ball over the top down the right side. Watson bounced back to make several key breakups and force the game into overtime. On the offensive side of the ball, they brought in speed burner Corey Hemphill. Hemphill runs primarily go routes.

The Young Gunz opened the scoring with a pick play as the receiver was able to get behind the blocker, setting the screen for him. After catching the ball he made an inside-out fake on one defender and side-stepped another and danced into the end zone. The extra point was no good, and they took a 6-0 lead.

On the next series in the first half with about three minutes left, Voodoo got the ball back and on the third play Miller ran a naked bootleg and rolled to his right — and when a Young Gunz rusher came charging at him, Miller sidestepped him and launched a 30-yard spiral that hit Hemphill in the hands over his right shoulder, in stride, to tie the game up at 6-6. The extra point was no good. Both teams played hard-nosed defense for the rest of the half, forcing each other to punt.

“I just did a backdoor whip and drag,” Hemphill said. “This play that we run is our bread and butter. All I have to do is get open and catch the ball. The quarterback (Miller) has to do his job and I have to do mine. This is my first year playing with these guys. They told me if I played with them, ‘you’ll make a difference.’ I love winning for these guys they deserve it, they have been playing for 10 years before they won today.”

After intermission on the first play of scrimmage, Voodoo’s Miller took the snap from center, looked off the free safety and threw a bomb to Cedric Gilbert for a touchdown to take a 12-6 lead. Voodoo held the Young Gunz off the scoreboard with one outstanding play after another until the last two minutes of the game, when their quarterback threw a pass over the top of Voodoo’s defensive specialist to tie the game at 12-12.

“We just ran a regular one-on-one slant whip route,” Gilbert said. “I felt like I was fast enough to beat him on a double move. I knew we were going to score. This is my first year coming here, it means a lot. That’s my expectation to win it every year.”

Young Gunz tried to wrest the title away from Voodoo. Voodoo’s Miller threw an interception when his receiver ran a drag but cut behind the defensive back.

“We came out in three’s,” Gilbert said, “and Miller overthrew him and their player intercepted the ball and stepped out of bounds. We got saved by the Gods right there.”

After they had the ball back there was a controversy over how what down it was. Young Gunz ended up scoring a touchdown but the play was nullified, costing them a score and the game, forcing overtime.

“The judge in the back called a forward pass,” Matthew Berroteran said. “The judge on the line had it as a backward pass, so they had a conflicting thing right there. In reality, they re-did the down. Voodoo was arguing the play should have counted — if it would have counted we would have scored a touchdown. This is the closest we have come since 2009. The last play in overtime. Roswell is a good tournament, we are going to keep trying until we win.”

On the first play of overtime, Miller threw a drag to wide receiver Jason Myers who scored to give Voodoo a 13-12 lead. On the next play, Young Gunz threw an incomplete pass to end the game.

“We run that play all the time,” Myers said. ‘It’s our extra point play. Shoot to the cone, backside drag, they don’t ever see it coming, sit down in the hole. I was lined up in tight on the right and shot to the front cone just trying to hold my guy over there, and I knew Radio was coming across the back to catch the ball.”

For Miller, he had been coming to HISI for 17 years, some of his other teammates have been here 10 years and the two new members have won in their first attempt. It just goes to show what perseverance and a little luck can do for a team.

“I’m going to Disneyland,” Miller said of his winnings.

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