football strategy [Updated October 2006]  

 2006 WBC Report  

2007 Status: pending 2007 GM commitment

Ken Whitesell, PA

2006 Champion

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Event History
1991    Mike Fitzgerald      22
1992    Bill Cleary      30
1993    Paul O'Neil      30
1994    Gordon Rodgers      42
1995    David Terry      36
1996    Bruce Reiff      30
1997    Paul O'Neil      32
1998    Paul O'Neil      24
1999    Bruce Reiff     27
2000    Bruce Reiff     28
2001    Bruce Reiff     25
2002    Bill Cleary     27
2003    Bruce Reiff     32
2004     Kevin Keller     31
2005    Bruce Reiff     28
2006    Ken Whitesell     32


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Bruce Reiff        OH    06    167
  2.  Bill Cleary        MD    06     84
  3.  Ken Whitesell      MD    06     63
  4.  Kevin Keller       MD    05     33
  5.  Ray Stakenas II    MI    05     30
  6.  David Rynkowski    NY    06     24
  7.  Paul O'Neil        MD    01     21
  8.  Marvin Birnbaum    NY    06     21
  9.  Jason Levine       NY    04     18
 10.  Arthur Davis       MI    03     18
 11.  Stan Buck          MD    01     18
 12.  Stuart Tucker      MD    04     12
 13.  Sumner Clarren     MD    00     12
 14.  Jim Vroom          PA    01     10
 15.  Keith Schoose      CA    03      9
 16.  David Anderson     PA    00      9
 17.  Gordon Rodgers     PA    00      8
 18.  Dan Dolan Jr       NJ    02      6
 19.  Tom Shaw           MD    00      6
 20.  Alan Moon          MA    99      6
 21.  Arthur Davis       MI    04      3
 22.  Debbie Bell        MD    03      3
 23.  Pitt Crandelmire   MA    01      3
 24.  Jeremy Billones    VA    00      3
 25.  Harry Flawd        PA    99      2

2006 Laurelists

Bruce Reiff, OH

Paul O'Neil

Bill Cleary, MD

Dave Rynkowski, NY

Marvin Birnbaum, NY

Past Winners

Mike Fitzgerald, CT

Bill Cleary, MD
1992, 2002

Paul O'Neil, MD
1993, 1997-1998

Gordon Rodgers, PA

Dave Terry, MD

Bruce Reiff, OH
'96, '99-'01, '03, '05

Kevin Keller, MD

 Bill Cleary (left) comes up on the short end of a 27-22 score in the opening heat final to Bruce Reiff.

 Ken Whitesell (left) with his trademark badge hat deprives King Reiff of his 7th FBS plaque and first ever WBC Grand Slam 17-14.

See what a punt can do?

Are you sitting down? Good. I have some shocking news. Yes, by now I am sure you heard that Bruce Reiff did not triumph this year in Football Strategy - an event he seemingly owns with more plaques than most of us have socks. But I have even more shocking news. Are you ready? Ken Whitesell punted! And kicked several field goals! What's so shocking about that? Well, rookie - in Football Strategy circles Ken Whitesell is known for a unique style of play that most would term peculiar. He never punts. Ever. Well, almost never. 4th and 25 from his own 1 ... take a seat punter, he's going for it. This style of play has yielded some shocking upsets over the years and a whole lot of losses.

Wednesday evening's heat saw a field of 26 participants vying for the coveted Football Strategy crown. When the dust settled two former champions, Bill Cleary and the defending champ, Bruce Reiff were facing off for a seat in the Final. Bruce had several close games on his way up the bracket and the beads of sweat were evident on his brow.

Sensing weakness, Bill ran back the opening kickoff 70 yards for a quick score. Unfortunately for him, the celebration was cut short, as Bruce answered with a 100 yard return of his own on the ensuing kickoff. Now that the special teams' shenanigans were over, the two settled down for a back and forth battle throughout the rest of the first quarter, which ended tied 7-7.

During the second quarter, both champs scored a touchdown, but somehow, inexplicably, Bill's kicker missed the point-after. It was a one point game as both teams headed into the locker room for the half, Bruce 14 ­ Bill 13. During the third, Bruce put up a quick TD score which Bill matched on his next possession. On the point-after, Bill's kicker missed yet again and Bill began to suspect foul play. An examination of his kicker's water bottle revealed that it was filled with an intoxicating adult beverage. Undeterred, Bill sent the tipsy player to the locker room and called upon his second string kicker to fill in.

Over on the Reiff sidelines there was jubilation as once again he had managed to punch it into the endzone, making it 27 to 19. As his kicker lined up for the extra point, a poor snap botched the attempt. One has to wonder at the special teams both these coaches employ and perhaps during the off season they can make some adjustments to improve that aspect of their game.

The fourth saw Bill march down the field with renewed vigor but had to settle for a field goal bringing him within 5. On Bruce's subsequent possession he was unable to make much headway and Bill found himself with the ball and time enough for a touchdown and the win. He began to march down the field, but Bruce was ready for him and an interception ended Bill's chance for the Final. Bruce wiped his brow and breathed a sigh of relief. He had once again narrowly avoided defeat.

On Friday morning, only ten people crawled out of bed for the 9:00 AM start of the second heat. By the afternoon only Paul O'Neil and Ken Whitesell , two familar foes from the late Avalon Hill league, remained. They knew that the winner of their game would be facing Bruce in the Final. Neither was able to make much headway on their initial possession. Paul, who played ball control the whole game, had to settle for a field goal midway through the first. Ken now got the ball and ate up seven minutes off the clock as he marched down the field for a touchdown. As the first quarter drew to a close Ken was up 7 to 3.

The second quarter was very frustrating for Paul: he could not find a way around Ken's staunch defense and had to punt the ball away. Ken, meanwhile, was able to find the endzone late in the second and improved his lead 14 to 3 going into the half. Coming out of the locker room Ken had first possession and, though he was able to drive down into scoring position, he could not find the endzone. Then, in a move that stunned all watching, Ken called upon his kicker for a field goal. The kick was good and Ken led 17 to 3 early in the half. The rest of the quarter was a see-saw battle with neither team able to exploit significant gaps in the defense. Paul was able to get a field goal late in the third to close the gap 17 to 6.

At the beginning of the fourth, Ken again found himself unable to get a touchdown though deep in his opponent's territory. Once more he called upon his kicker who was able to split the uprights for a 20 to 6 score. Four possessions later, Ken found himself calling upon his kicker for yet another field goal raising the score to 23 to 6. Paul, knowing that his chances of pulling out a victory were slim, refused to give up and finally managed to punch it into the endzone with four minutes remaining. But it was too little, too late and Ken prevailed 23 to 13.

It was time for the final showdown, the battle that would crown the 2006 Football Strategy champion. But this year it was even bigger. Bruce - the plaque king - was having his best WBC ever. He'd already won four this year, but one was a Trial event. Bruce had his eyes set on a bigger prize - the first ever WBC Grand Slam - four Century wins ... and only his whipping boy, Ken Whitesell, stood in the way as Bruce made plans for where he would hang that special 7th Football Strategy plaque. Bruce won the coin toss and elected to receive. He was confident, for not only did he have more Football Strategy wood on his wall than anyone else, he had never lost a game to Ken.

Bruce began his march down the field burning up five minutes on the clock. His drive was cut short by an interception. Ken was unable to capitalize on it and four plays later he punted. Bruce once again began his drive only to be stopped short by yet another interception. With his second possession Ken fared a little better, holding onto the ball for four minutes, but he was still unable to crack Bruce's defense and ended up punting again. Bruce's quarterback, visibly shaken after two turnovers in the first nine minutes, was unable to get the offense clicking and punted with 45 seconds left in the first. As the quarter wound down Ken found himself with the ball in a scoreless tie.

Ken moved his team down the field with the help of some big passes: first 10 yards, then 18 yards, and finally 30 yards. This set him up for a flair pass into the endzone for a 7 to 0 score. On Bruce's next possession he had excellent field position due to a stellar runback. He was able to take advantage with two 16 yard end runs that put him onto the scoreboard, tying the game. Upon receiving the ball, Ken began a methodical drive that ate up seven minutes on the clock and enabled him to find paydirt once more with a look-in pass. With only three minutes left in the half, Bruce flew down the field using an end run and stop-and-go pass to set himself up for a field goal. However, the problems that plagued his special teams in his match with Bill had not been resolved and the resulting kick went wide to the right. The half ended with Ken up 14 to 7.

Ken started off the second half with the ball, but was unable to make headway and punted after three minutes. After a fiery half-time berating for their performance during the first half, Bruce's team ground down the field yard by yard. He managed to burn six minutes until a failed fourth down attempt on Ken's 6 yard line stalled the drive. It was now Ken's turn to creep down the field using draw plays and pop passes. His drive ended prematurely when he was hit by a penalty and a sack that set him back 10 yards. He once again punted with a little over a minute left in the quarter. It was show time for Bruce's offense and in an air blitz he moved down the field twenty yards at a time.

At the start of the fourth, it looked like Bruce's air game was going to pay dividends, but just as he could see the light, Ken's defense read the pattern and neatly stepped in to intercept the ball. Bruce's defense had not given up, however, and in two minutes he had the ball again. Once more, Bruce's offense began an impressive march down the field with big plays, only to be stopped yet again by an interception: the fourth of the game. For Ken it was three quick plays and out, but he still held the lead 14-7 and the clock was down to eight minutes. The pressure was on Bruce. Using end runs and the run/pass option, Bruce steadily moved the ball down the field ever closer to the goal line. A familiar Reiff whoop with four minutes left signaled a touchdown with the flair pass. The kick was good and the score stood tied at 14.

Now was the crux of the game for Ken. He had the ball with plenty of time to score, he just needed to find the opening in Bruce's defense and take advantage of it. After nearly two minutes, Ken had moved only 14 yards and it was looking grim. On third down with 13 to go Ken called for the run/pass option and found Bruce napping, picking up 20 yards and the first down. His next play was a button hook pass complete for 18 yards and another first down. Ken was now almost within acceptable field goal range with just over a minute and a half to go. He pushed forward for three more yards before calling his kicker onto the field.

It was a tense moment as the ball was snapped, and kicked high into the air. Time froze as all eyes watched expectantly. And then it was over. The kick was good and Ken was up by three with 15 seconds left in the game. It was all over but the shouting as Bruce headed across the field to shake hands with the new Football Strategy champ. Ken, unable to hide his jubilation, had finally, after years of frustration, defeated Bruce 17 to 14 and landed the coveted crown. Perhaps now, after his hard won championship, Ken will be calling upon the services of his kicker more often and you too may actually see him punt the ball. But don't count on it. Ken always goes for it on fourth down. Except for that one year

 GM      Nathaniel Hoam  [3rd Year]   NA   NA

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