The Army and Air Force Exchange Services flag football team beat the 56th Security Forces Squadron team Oct. 26 in a heated and closely contested dogfight to advance to the second round of the championship tournament at Luke Air Force Base.
AAFES started strong, scoring early in their first drive and then forcing a turnover immediately after to score again. Bolstered by a strong defense that successfully contained the 56th SFS offense, the AAFES offense pushed hard with a winning combination between quarterback Marc Pierre-Louis and receiver Chris Hamilton to close out the first half with a score of 20-7, AAFES.
“Our defense was good, but our offense really pulled together to give us the win,” Hamilton said. “We’re really lucky to have a quarterback like Marc with us.”
The 56th SFS brought their game back early in the second half, fueled by the score gap carried over from the first, and scored twice to tie AAFES and bring themselves back into contention. Both teams were visibly and audibly hyped to finish the game strong and secure a win, with team members on both sides shouting adjustments and taunting opposing players. AAFES retook the lead with a score late in the second half, driving the tension up for the 56th SFS, who regained the ball after rallying to stop the point-after attempt.
Despite a spirited charge for the end zone and several huge plays, the 56th SFS was hampered by a significant number of penalty calls, which ultimately resulted in enough of a loss of yardage to force a turnover.
With time running short, AAFES held the ball and ate up as much time as possible between plays to ultimately close the game and win with a score of 26-20, advancing the team to the next round in the championship bracket. The 56th SFS will go down to compete in the loser’s bracket, where the winning team will re-enter the championship bracket.
“My team held up great,” said Pierre-Louis. “We have a tough group next, but we’re Team AAFES, Team Discount, so let’s go!”