By Zach Garrett
Every couple of weeks we will be rewinding the tape to take a look back at some of the best games Season v2.0 had to offer. Don’t see your team this week? No need to worry, there was enough action this season at Pullman Yards to fill a book so you will likely see your team featured soon. As for this week, we’ll take a look back at the thriller that was the Week 1 matchup between the Kingpins and 8oki, two of our teams from the newest division in Fan Controlled Football: the Ballerz Division. Let’s get into it.
Let’s set the stage: the anticipation of Season v2.0 had come to an all-time high and everyone was excited to see what we had all been waiting on for over a year, real-life football – controlled by the fans of course. Steve Aoki, world renowned DJ and co-owner of 8oki, performed a killer set during the pregame and Jamal Anderson, ex NFL pro and co-owner of the Kingpins, was in the house to support the debut of his team. Game 4 of 4 was set to go after each team ran out of the tunnel, and OL D’Marcus Hayes of 8oki defeated Kingpins’ TE Tommy Auger in Rock, Paper, Scissors and deferred to the 2nd half giving the ball to the Kingpins to start the game.
The questions pregame revolved around the two QBs drafted a couple days earlier for each team: Mitch Kidd for 8oki and Tirri Jones for the Kingpins. There seemed to be an excitement surrounding Kidd in training camp and practices leading up to Week 1, but FCF is a fast-paced league, and no one was sure how a more traditional style, drop back in the pocket quarterback would perform. As for Jones, most knew he would use his feet to get the job done, but there were questions around his arm talent and the ability to stay disciplined to throw when he needed to. This would all be decided in the last game of the night, and boy were we all in for a wild ride.
Jones and the offense set up to start the game, and the battle of the night no one saw coming began with the Kingpins offensive line, the Trenchmen and 8OKI’s defense, D-Block. Defensive lineman ‘Slick’ Nick Williams wrecked havoc on the first drive (and really the entire game) and forced the Kingpins to scramble on offense and scurry down the field when possible. The longest drive of the night ended with a Jones scramble into the endzone and a failed two point conversion to Elijah Rogers. More (lots more) to come from him in a bit. Kingpins 6 – 8OKI 0
Kidd and the rest of 8oki took the field for the first time and we all started to see what he was all about. In just under 3 minutes of game action, the future Season v2.0 Linqto Offensive Player of the Year looked poised and was picking apart Kingpins’ defense, The Hitmen. With the ball sitting at the 12 yard line, Steve Aoki and the rest of the 8OKI fans called ‘Crypto Connect’ to try and space out the field to let Mitch Kidd do his thing. As fate would have it, Kidd did indeed connect with WR Joseph Boykin for a touchdown along with a two point conversion to put 8OKI on top 8-6. Aoki and the fans were loving it.
As the Kingpins tried to gather themselves after the offensive explosion that was 8oki, the offensive lined continued to struggle against Slick Nick and the rest of the gang. Season v1.0 returnee, Superback Daryl Virgies, just could not get anything on the ground, and after back to back TFLs, it looked like the Kingpins would have a scoreless drive and hand the ball back to 8OKI. But Mr. Tirri Jones was that dude and strung together a few good throws to lead to a couple first downs. With the 1st half clock down to 7 seconds left, the Kingpins still had about 15 yards to go. This is when we started to find out about WR Elijah Rogers. Jones threw a bullet to Rogers and he made his way into the endzone to give the lead back to the Kingpins as the clock showed triple zeros. The first half was in the books and the Kingpins led 12-8 after another failed two point conversion.
The first half was honestly a pretty typical game. It definitely showed signs of a good, close game, but the second half was where this game truly shined and turned into one of the games of the season.
8oki started with the ball in the 2nd half, and it looked like The Hitmen had stepped it up. Kidd wasn’t getting the free looks he had in the first half, and the run game, featuring Josh Robinson, had come to a halt. It looked like maybe the Kingpins would have an opportunity to widen their lead, but Mitch the Magician worked his magic and dropped a pass right into TE Joe Tito’s arms for a beautiful toe-tap TD. The first fan review of the game confirmed the call on the field and 8OKI, yet again, converted on their two point conversion to take the lead again 16-12.
The Kingpins seemed stirred but not shaken. The defense seemed to have no answer for Mitch the Kidd, but Tirri Jones was not going to go down swinging. Remember the battle of the night I mentioned earlier? This is where I feel ok to declare an official winner. Slick Nick, who had been getting in the backfield all night, finally got to Jones and forced a fumble that was recovered by Tigi Hill of 8OKI. Williams looked like the best player out on the field at times, and he was a huge reason that the Kingpins were having the trouble they were having.
Kidd and 8OKI took over on offense, and as the Kingpins had learned, this was not a winning strategy. Kidd and Co. continued to pick apart the defense and with 1:32 left in the game, Kidd delivered another pass to Joseph Boykin, his second of the night. This duo looked to be living in each other’s heads and The Hitmen had no answer to try and break that connection. 8OKI held a two possession lead after a failed two point conversion 22-12.
The Kingpins though had some of their own magic up their sleeves, and proceeded to lead a comeback not many saw coming. QB Jones was determined to get his squad back in it, and did so on one play. The response was incredible. Rolling to his right, Tirri threw an off balance throw to that dude, number 16, Elijah Rogers as he laid out to scoop the ball up just before hitting the turf. Rogers got up in a flash, untouched and waltzed his way into the endzone for one of the best touchdowns of the night. D-Block stood looking confused as if they couldn’t believe what they saw, and just like that, the game was far from over. Yet another failed two point conversion by the Kingpins shifted the strategy a bit, but they were inching closer – 22-18.
The Kingpins enforced the Comeback Rule which states that with 2 minutes or less remaining in the game, a team trailing has a 4th down and 10 to try to keep the ball. Convert, and the team gets to keep marching down the field. Fail, and the team turns the ball over. The Kingpins indeed converted which meant they could keep marching down the field to try and take the lead late in the game.
Jones and the rest of the Kingpins had found their rhythm, and fans had picked up on it as well. Giving Jones the opportunity to pass or scramble was their key to success, and with 55 seconds left in the game, this strategy paid off. The 8OKI defense looked to bite on the run from QB Jones and with that, Jones took the opportunity and fired a DART to the endzone to, you guessed it, THAT DUDE Elijah Rogers. For those counting, that’s 3 touchdowns on the night for Rogers. The Kingpins had found a duo of their own, and after finally completing a two point conversion, the Kingpins took the lead 26-22.
All they had to do was survive 30 seconds of game action and the Kingpins would pick up a debut win under amazing performances from Jones and Rogers. Mitch Kidd, of course had other plans.
The offense of 8OKI had not been up to par from the first half, but it was just enough to convert a crucial 4th down with 15 seconds on the clock. A couple of incompletions later lead to a 3rd and 10 from mid-field with 2 seconds left in the game. This is a moment in history.
Mitch Kidd took the snap, scrambled a bit, and on the screen, it looked like absolutely no one was open. The Kingpins had dropped all but one player into the endzone to ensure nothing got past them, but Kidd had a DART of his own. Kidd fired the ball just over the outstretched arms of the Kingpins linebacker and threaded the needle into the cradled arms of none other than Joseph Boykin. Chaos ensued. The first (and turned out only) game winning throw of the season had really just happened, and the team gathered in the Wendy’s Hot Mic Booth to celebrate with the co-MVPs of the game. Steve Aoki was as hyped as anyone and 8OKI had pulled off the unthinkable.
The perfect ending capped off an amazing opening weekend for Fan Controlled Football, and no one was happier than the fans themselves. This game provided all the action any football fan (especially ones that call the plays) could want, and that’s what we aim to do at FCF. This game, like I said, was one of the best of Season v2.0, and the vibes postgame were off the charts. Games like this are what makes the FCF special, and we can’t wait until next season to experience more games like it.
Want to watch for yourself? Catch the condensed game below that includes all the best highlights from the game!