Round three’s Cluck Dynasty-Bubba Gump face-off was expected to be one of the biggest, most exciting match-ups of the entire tournament, with both being highly athletic teams capable of throwing missiles. The match did not disappoint. Mrs. Dawson’s adjustment of the bracket earlier this tournament proved to be a fateful one, as Bubba Gump wasn’t originally slated to take on Cluck Dynasty in round three, or even at all until a later round. The adjustment ended up being one that put a premature end to heavy-favorite Cluck Dynasty’s senior championship run, as Bubba Gump upset it in emphatic fashion.
Notably missing from the fray was Cluck Dynasty’s senior James Oleson, who refrained from playing on account of having a CCS baseball game in the afternoon. His place was taken by Physical Education teacher Patrick Carras.
The tension in the gym as the as the buzzer went off was palpable. Senior Kelly McConnell of Cluck Dynasty was eliminated in the early seconds of game one, disadvantaging his team from the start. Fellow seniors Steven Lee, Chase Eller and Alex Liua had some nice dodges, many of which came by way of mid-air split jumps.
The first three minutes of game one was characterized by a fierce back-and-forth brand of action, evidencing how evenly matched the two powerhouse teams were. Cluck Dynasty seemed to have the upper hand around halfway through the five-minute playing period, with four players on the court to Bubba Gump’s three, but Cluck Dynasty’s Chase was eliminated as his throw that threatened to take out Bubba Gump’s senior Alex Marin was caught by teammate senior William Scheetz after it bounced off Alex. The catch, which was nothing short of amazing, quickly turned things around for Bubba Gump.
Alex Liua was then eliminated, bringing Cluck Dynasty down two players to Bubba Gump’s four. Cluck Dynasty’s Steven made a save to let Kelly back in, but junior Sean Lanoza would have none of it and put Kelly back on the sidelines with a well-aimed throw. Bubba Gump continued to effectively deny Cluck Dynasty of a potential comeback at every turn, and with one minute left, it had eliminated everyone but senior Sophia Hyver, who got out on a catch by junior Briham Gonzalez to end game one.
Game two began with just over 50 seconds left, but that was all the time that Bubba Gump needed. Cluck Dynasty, playing on emotion, was too aggressive from the get-go and left itself open defensively and offensively. Bubba Gump, in the dying thirty seconds of the game, put one of the most brilliant performances in one of the most chaotic 50 second playing periods in the history of the school’s dodgeball tournaments.
Bubba Gump eliminated Steven in the first ten seconds of the second game, catching his ball. It was all chaos from then on, beginning with senior Victor Ruiz irreparably dashing Cluck Dynasty’s hopes of a comeback by not only making and saving a huge double-grab for a ball, but also following up with a massive kill. An equally impressive save by Alex Marin put Cluck Dynasty at an even bigger deficit. With all of its biggest threats (Kelly, Alex Liua, Chase, Steven) eliminated by then, Bubba Gump delivered a swift volley of balls to end the game, bringing the game score to 2-0.
Bubba Gump’s upset win over Cluck Dynasty was hugely impressive and has severe implications for the rest of the tournament. Now, a Bubba Gump-Freshman Phenom game in the tournament’s quarterfinals is imminent, rather than the Cluck Dynasty-Freshman Phenom match-up that the Talon predicted. Once past quarterfinals (which, at this point, is highly possible), Bubba Gump will have no trouble securing itself a spot in the finals. On the other side of the bracket, Hard Ballerz or Short Bicka will likely take the other spot in final. In defeating Cluck Dynasty, Bubba Gump may very well have taken the toughest team that the bracket has to offer out of championship contention and clinched the tournament title itself. Congratulations to both Bubba Gump and Cluck Dynasty for a well-played game.