No matter how great and dominant a team is, its winning run has to come to an end some time.
That is exactly what happened to the Goldfield Cayman Hellcats on Saturday. They were turned over 18-6 by Caybrew Farm Soldiers in a thriller that as usual was hard fought with emotions running high.
Matches between these two are always tight and Hellcats usually prevail. But not this time at the International School Field. It looks like the balance of power may have tipped over to the younger side.
The Soldiers went into this battle with an extra sliver of preparation and resolve and it paid off handsomely.
Hellcats put on terrific pressure at the end looking for the customary last-gasp clincher but by then the game was firmly out of reach.
The match was effectively won in the first 15 minutes as Caybrew went ahead through three scores; by Oliver ‘Darkstar’ Parker, QB Luigi Moxam and Leslie Harvey.
Harvey’s touchdown was sensational, taking a 60 yard pass from Moxam and although there was some confusion as to whether the whistle had blown before he reached the end zone, he did not hesitate when some Hellcats defenders did and ran through to put Caybrew 18-0 up.
Not even the legendary tackling abilities of Hellcats defender Craig ‘Festa’ Frederick were a factor because Caybrew wisely avoided making plays near him. Like all good soldiers, they plotted their strategy with military precision.
Clay Coleman pulled one back for Goldfield before half time but it left them too much to do after the break against a resolute Caybrew side that never looked like buckling despite the pressure exerted by celebrated quarterback Jacob ‘Frecko’ Ebanks.
Caybrew captain Rhys ‘Al Capone’ Ebanks said: ‘Basically, we won the championship final last year, it’s just that we gave it to Hellcats. We just let them run with it and get a little bit of air in their chest and we just had to nail it.
‘Defence won it today. Frecko had two interceptions. I don’t think he’s done that in one game in his life.
‘Luigi played his best game in maybe three or four years. Oliver Parker did a great job too. I believe he pulled his hamstring. We had about three or four injuries but everybody stepped up, pulled their weight and we did what we had to do.
‘Hellcats usually pull something out of the hat in the dying seconds but it wasn’t to be this time.
‘It doesn’t matter how good you are, pressure busts pipe. That’s physics. They can’t take it. Actually, Next Level won it last year but the refs gave it to Hellcats.’
Coach Johann Moxam, Luigi’s brother, was euphoric. He said: ‘This was a total team effort. Everybody showed up for practice. Guys came out here and sacrificed.
‘We pulled our weight. Some played out of position because we picked up some injuries in the game but the key was keeping our composure and executing our game plan.
‘We controlled the tempo and there were no mental mistakes and everybody showed up today. We focused on our game and once we play that we win it every single week.
‘We also concentrated on making plays on the other side of Festa because he’s a beast in the tackle. That paid off.
‘Luigi had a fantastic game. He didn’t try to play above himself. He played with controlled emotion, hit the open guys, ran when necessary and made the right choices.
‘That’s what put us up three scores and our defence actually held on by just shutting them down.
‘They didn’t have any real looks in the game. Our defence line backers and defensive line really covered and took away all options for them.
‘For Frecko to throw two interceptions that is basically our defence because he’s not a man to make such mistakes.
‘We’re glad we’re the team that beat them. We always thought we were the team to beat them.’
Johann has been the team coach before but he didn’t do the job last season. He modestly deflected credit for the sensational win. ‘My job is to control the emotions and help make the right decisions. This is a super team.
‘We’ve got all the athletes; runners, jumpers, blockers… All we need is to play within our selves and with discipline.
‘That’s what I bring to the table but this is a collective effort. In no way shape or form do I take credit for this, because you can only win if you’ve got the horses and I’ve got the horses right here.’
They certainly won it at a canter.
Luigi Moxam beamed: ‘I’m always happy to win. I don’t like to lose. Just as Johann and Rhys said, this was a complete team effort.
‘It seemed like every other down somebody got hurt with a hamstring or something else. I want to big up Renford ‘Mr Smooth’ Barnes for his contribution in defence. He had a big game.
‘As far as my role? I think my offensive line was always there. They gave me plenty of time today.
‘In regard to all the hype about West Bay, granted in due respect, they were champions, but I don’t expect to lose to them in the finals nor in the regular season.’
At what point did he think he was going to win? ‘When I came on the field!’
The Hellcats were unhappy at being beaten for the first time in two years but were gracious in defeat.
It was a bitterly disappointing experience but they took it on the chin and will undoubtedly bounce back.
Frecko Ebanks said: ‘Some events could have occurred a little better for us and they got off kind of lucky with us from some slip down plays and the ball going through – what you might call freak incidents. But they were alright.
‘I was intercepted twice but the strong wind played a factor. When I threw it up the wind took it up and threw it off course.
‘I still have to give them props. Caybrew played hard for it and were hungry and they got it.’
Goldfield coach George ‘Teddy’ Hydes said: ‘Basically Caybrew were hungrier than us. We had a couple of plays in offence that normally don’t happen to us and they jumped ahead and we couldn’t recover.
‘This type of thing is not a good thing, but we’ll turn it into a good thing. It’ll make us more hungry. We’ve been on a winning streak so long now that a loss should make us hungrier than we were.
‘We still believe we’re going to win the championship. This was just a stumbling block and we believe we’ll get over it and continue our passion and desire to be champions again.
‘Caybrew is always there. They’re in the top three every year since they’ve been in the league. They came out hungry and went away with a victory.’
Hellcats defender James ‘Cadillac’ Collins said: ‘Caybrew came out aggressive and caught us off guard in the first half and they took it to us. You can’t go undefeated for ever. They played a good game and I give them the credit they deserve.
‘In the second half we made the necessary adjustments, but we’re a little older and they jumped on us.’