In a stroke of logistical genius, the league office chose to flex schedule the Intruders-Renegades season opener hours away across the Confederation. As the Magic Bus hurtled through the Helvetic expanse, the team gathered around a box of muffins to diagram plays. Seriously. No Microsoft Surfaces or NextGen stats for this veteran team, just a rental van and their erstwhile coach driving the squad towards two tough games.
Sporting matching headbands, Guay and Srinivasan led the old look Intruders to face their cross town rivals a mere 275 km away from home. Before kick-off began the Renegades shockingly started a different, errant QB and moved their perennial all star signal caller to wide out. These curious line-up choices prompted immediate speculation across betting sites, as the line swung dramatically from +7.5 to -10 in the Intruder's favor.
The two headed QB tandem of Dave & Todd combined to throw for 6 TDs on the day, as the good Zurich jumped out to a two score lead that they never relinquished. The warranty on JB’s calf expired just before half, allowing him to witness Arvind skying over an beleaguered Renegades CB to snatch a TD. The second half was more of the same, with the Intruders fending off a second-half-hearted Renegades comeback to win going away, 37-19. When asked about the team’s performance, team soccer mom Guay, whose INT sealed the victory credited the neck warmer he borrowed from Coach/chauffeur Lewis to use as a headband.
With Soly limping into the second game, the Intruders got off to a hot start and looked to have the game in hand early. Arvind continued his dominance, scoring a TD and grabbing an INT in consecutive drives. Cipullo drove the team into the redzone as the second half came to a close, but went to the well one too many times. The Rhinos safety read Cipullo like the Twilight fan fic the veteran QB so often enjoys over the long off-season. Thankfully, his hamstrings held and prevented a return for a TD.
The first half conclusion foreshadowed an even more disputed end. This time, Dave threw a perfect pass to Guay, who as he has so many times over the years, made space in traffic and monetarily secured a sure touchdown. Unfortunately the volunteer referee crew mistook a clear shove to the ground as a swatted pass.
Clinging to a 13-8 halftime lead, the Intruders centered themselves and fought hard into the second half. Craig, Todd, Anja-Mae and league officiating czar Juan persevered throughout a tense second half. Gifted with a 1st and goal with 1:47, the Intruders took the points and relied on their defense.
And it damn near worked. Unfortunately, the referee crew dusted off the yellow laundry, calling a ticky-tack grazing the QB to extend the Rhinos last second drive. The end result was a final second TD and 30-25 victory for Solothurn. Sure, the Intruders found themselves on the wrong end of controversy once again, but left the GVA with the kind of camaraderie that drives you across country for amateur sports and maybe to a 4th consecutive playoff berth.
In the end, the post-game beers, Craig’s Def Comedy Jam and the journey home capped off a bountiful road trip better than a clean sweep ever could have. Make sure to pick up your Guay and Arvind game worn headbands from the website to support the boys and girls in Rafz in a fortnight.