by Ray Bentley, Mexico City RB
The Rematch: Mexico City at Chicago
On October 25th of last year, the Chicago Wildcats and Mexico City Aztecs squared off to vie for the title of Simulation Football League’s Season 9 Champion, with the Aztecs coming out victorious 38-24. It was inevitable then, that a rematch would take place in Chicago, but with both teams coming into the matchup with a disappointing 0-2 record. Suddenly, this rematch was about more than just pride. When all was said and done, the Aztecs were once again victorious, but like each of their matchups this season, it was a wild rollercoaster ride until the very last second.
The Aztecs were the first to receive the ball and Chicago’s defense, led by Clint Hendershot and Blake Hamrac, immediately got to work with Hamrac grabbing an interception destined for Dijon “Mustard Bird” Swann. Mexico’s defense only allowed 5 yards on the Wildcat’s first offensive series, and the Aztecs were backed up to the 6 yard line on an excellent punt from Chicago. An offensive holding penalty removed a first down rush from the former MVP Ray Bentley, but Willson completed several passes to K.L. Barrett, including a slide catch on 3rd down, to keep the drive alive. However, Chicago was able to halt the former champs with a huge sack by Paul Spears, which gave the ball back to Wildcats quarterback E.T. King with four minutes remaining in the first. King found receivers Kendall Gilbert and Alex Zellie, with the latter making a grab in triple coverage, to march Chicago down the field and deep into Mexico territory. Fran Ogawa, a new addition to the Aztecs defense this season, was able to stop Wildcats runningback J. Calvin Kim from scoring a touchdown and with Landin Mack and Devin Cabrera, Mexico was able to keep the first quarter scoreless, 0-0.
Chicago began the quarter with a field goal, giving them the lead over Mexico for the first time in league history. With the ball back, Richard Montague and K.L. Barrett both caught first down passes, while Kanye Rockefella had Ray Bentley’s number on the next pass. Bentley made up for it, however, pushing the Aztecs into field goal range, but another offensive holding call put the Mexican hopes for a touchdown drive on hold, with Jeremy Lane breaking up a particularly close pass to Barrett. Fortunately for the Aztecs, Richard Montague grabbed a handsome touchdown pass over the middle on third and long, putting Mexico up 7-3. Chicago would try Kim on the ground and through the air on the next series, but Jack Brown was able to keep them from grabbing a first down, and the ball was punted back to Mexico City. Dijon Swann, Montague, and Bentley helped drive Mexico down the field again, but the Wildcat defense was able to hold the Aztecs to a field goal this time, with the score going into halftime Mexico City 10, Chicago 3.
The Chicago Wildcats received the ball to begin the second half, but Mexico’s “The Wall” defense was ready for them and forced a quick three-and-out. Ray Bentley once again showed signs of his old self on the next drive, but Clint Hendershot was able to keep the revival locked down for the most part and send the ball back to the Wildcats. E.T. King was able to connect with Kim and others to march Chicago into the promised land, but the Aztecs defense once again was able to hold them to only a field goal with four minutes to go in the quarter. K.L. Barrett and Richard Montague were able to make a few clutch first down catches to keep the Mexico drive alive, but Chicago’s Afolabi was able to keep the Altered Beast contained and the ball was returned to the Wildcats as the quarter drew to a close, a one score game with Mexico 10, Chicago 6.
I’ve been saying it all season long and three straight games it remains true: it’s never over until it’s over. Both Chicago and the Aztecs traded off possessions with Mexico City able to eke out a field goal to raise the score to 13-6, but it was under the two minute warning when the game truly heated up. E.T. King got the ball and started rallying the troops, marching them downfield. Jack and Mack, the Aztecs’ Attack Stack, seemed stymied by the hurry up offense and a lost challenge by Mexico City, was able to spark the Wildcat offense even more. King hit wide receiver Alex Zellie with a beautiful goal line pass for a touchdown with only 25 seconds remaining, tying the game up 13-13. With both teams hungry for the win, fans were certain this battle of attrition was heading to overtime, but two quick strikes to Richard Montague and Ray Bentley put the Aztecs within field goal range, allowing their star kicker, Kole Varner, to plunge the dagger into his father’s, Wildcats owner Shann Varner, heart for the second time.
The Wildcats and the Aztecs played 4 quarters of gritty, defensive football that was once again punctuated by clutch plays on both sides. While Chicago exited the contest with a third loss and no wins, their hurry up offense was able to get things going for them and their defense was able to keep the MVP from running roughshod over them as he did in the Season 9 Championship game. Meanwhile, the Aztecs have plenty to celebrate with their first win on the books and Matt “The Bronze Bomber” Willson looking like a return to form, interception aside. Join both teams next week, as the Aztecs host the London Knights and the Wildcats travelling southwest to the Gateway City to take on the St Louis Gladiators.