One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
On the eve of Halloween, 20 Contras set out to Isengard (Fayetteville, AR) for the 24th annual Harvest Moon. It had been four years since Contra captured a Harvest title, but this collection of hobbits, dwarves, men, elves, and beasts had it set in their hearts to do just that.
Warmups saw Gimli forget both axe and beard, but despite the tough start Contra pulled out an easy win over Prom Night Huck (Missouri S&T), 13-6. The post-game celebrations included a dwarf-tossing contest (don’t tell the elf) and the crowning of the Witch-King and his fell beast as prom queen and king.
After a short game against a short-handed Mario Kart squad (Drury), we came up against our toughest foe of the day – the Smooth Criminals from the University of Nebraska. The Lords of the Rings came out firing, earning a couple of breaks early on to take half 7-5. Coming out of the break, however, we forgot how to play zone offense and gave up five straight to go down 10-7 in a game to 13. King Theoden decided he wasn’t going down without a fight, taking over the next upwind zone point and getting us back on defense. At this point we decided winning was more fun than losing and finished the game on a 6-1 run with some tough, gritty man defense. We would take care of our final opponents, the University of Central Arkansas, to finish first in our pool and secure a first round bye in the brackets.
Our first place finish set up a classic rivalry game in our first game Sunday – a game against Mizzou, always a dogfight. With half of their team still dressed as “Jake from State Farm” and the other in jerseys, we knew we had the edge in the costume department. The early points saw lots of downwind trading – until we eventually got our first upwind break to take the lead. However, as was a theme the whole game, we were unable to convert the downwind break, and the game remained on serve until Mizzou eventually found their first upwind break to take a late lead, 11-10. With our backs against the wall, the fellowship took the field and punched in the upwind hold, sending the game back into a tie. Finally, with the hard cap on, Aragorn would throw the game-winning score, notching Contra’s first win over our Sectional rivals this year. Though Mizzou couldn’t pull out the win, they did manage to throw the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom, destroying Sauron once and for all.
In the semis, we came up against a tough (and surprisingly tall) University of Northern Omaha team. They loved to throw hucks and made quick work of our zone with pinpoint blades, but Contra managed to squeak out a win, 12-11.
In our final game of the tournament, we rematched against Arkansas, who got the better of us at both sectionals and regionals last year. This time, the combination of stifling defense and (mostly) efficient offense led us to a 13-2 clobbering of our conference rivals, bringing home the Harvest trophy once again.
Overall it was an incredible weekend of fun and competitiveness. We continue to see huge improvement from our rookies, and all learned to appreciate Fabio’s ability to do athletic things with long hair. Next we move on to MLC, the culmination of our fall season.