I stayed up painting custom Nintendo Entertainment Systems until 4:00 AM on Friday morning. Got about two and a half hours of sleep to feed a crying baby. Stayed up all day and set out for Fairfield, Ohio to meet Chris Vogt at Symmes Tavern on the Green. We drove back to his place and played three games of preparation for the Youngstown tournament the following day. I took two of the three games from Chris, which is important to note (will make more sense at the end of this story ;) We went to bed around 2:00 AM.
Woke up at 5:00 AM and bigmv54 and youngest brother Joey (Dizzle) arrived at 6:00 AM. We packed into the car and embarked on the travel to Youngstown. Interesting conversations to say the least. Trip started out with stories of Joey's escapades of the night before. Watched some championship victories via the iPad. We picked match-ups and gave explanations for our choices. Ironically, one of them would be the championship game (Dolphins/Rams), which all of us chose the Rams (and the Rams would win). Chris and Matt put on an amazing display of imitations during the drive as well. I will leave it at that. After passing through Columbus, Ohio we hit some crazy ass rain. Hydo-planed a few times.
We arrived around 10:30 AM at a bar called O'Donald's Irish Pub and Grill It was in a shopping plaza. I will try to do a visual. As you walk in, there is an open area to the right where the tournament table and raffle prizes were set up. To the left was the bar. The bar ran the entire length of the room on the left side. The room was separated in the middle by a wall. On the right side was a corridor of booths on the left and right of the aisle. Televisions were placed on the ends of the tables. Chairs were placed in front of the televisions. If there was one thing I did not like about this set up, it would be that there was only room for the two people playing on the right of the aisle, the two people playing on the left of the aisle, and maybe one to two people maximum to watch. You couldn't get "crowds" (except for the front set of televisions were the games were streamed on Twitch and the championship was held). If people were standing in the aisle, it was impossible to pass through to get to the restroom or the table in the back selling retro gaming collectibles. They gave me a card. Shameless plug here: Stone Age Gamer
Registration was extended for a little while. Met Russell S. (Kweh) of Texas and Jason P.(Laztlain) of New York. Great to see online players in person. The extra time also provided time for some warm-up. I played Kevin C. of Columbus. First game we played we didn't change playbooks. It was Jets/Steelers. I chose Steelers and won 5-17. We played again for real. For the life of me I cannot remember the match-up or the score, but I won. Shortly after, they announced the pool play. I believe there were six pools of six players each. I was in a pool with Charles M., John M., Scott S., "T.K", and Jason P. (Laztlain).
Game 1: I took on Charles M. I won the coin toss and choose a Chargers/Broncos match-up. He took the Broncos. He passed, and passed, and passed. I called him several times and forced several INTs. He forced me to punt once and I fumbled away once. Final score was 42-0. I played extremely well this game. "On all cylinders, if you will".
Game 2: I took on Jason P. (Laztlain). First of all, this may be the coolest person I have ever met. No exaggeration. He won the toss and choose a Dolphins/Vikings match-up. I chose the Dolphins. First and second quarter his drones are on the JUICE. Chris Doleman was pancaking the "superior" Dolphins OL and dive tackling my RBs. I couldn't get more than 3 yards per rush. On defense I was getting descent coverage with Williams and Oliver, but could never get the INT. Just incomplete passes or CCs. Had him in 3rd and longs, but he always found a way to get the clutch first downs. Marino was in BAD so in comes GOOD Scott Mitchell. I find myself down 17-0 with the ball and little time left before half. I drop back and chuck as time is expiring. Mitchell lobs it up. Mark Clayton (at TE) JJ catches with three defenders between him and the end zone. COM defender one engages in grapple and was quickly tossed. COM defender two dives and misses. MAN defender gets juked one way, makes up ground, gets juked back the opposite way, and Clayton gets in for a much needed score. 17-7 at the half. Scott Mitchell gets the nod in the third quarter. INT. Ugh. Late in the third, Laz kicks a FG and goes up 20-7. In the fourth, Mitchell gets a score after a Dolphin INT. With 42 seconds left, Walker fumbles at mid-field. Dolphins put Marino back in and take it down to the two yard line with 9 seconds left. I call pass 2 offset, thinking that if he calls me I can throw to RB on the hot route and still get in or if I throw away fast enough I may have a chance for another play. He called me. I throw away as fast as possible. One second remaining. I call play action pass 3 Z In. Browner storms Marino and Marino rifles it to the RB up top for the 20-20 tie with no time remaining. Stoyanovich seals the deal for the 20-21 victory. I know that the championship game of this tournament was a thrilla, but this game was just as crazy. If I lost that way, I would have probably flipped chairs. Jason was a class act and took it in stride. Wow. This alone shows you what kind of dude he is.
Game 3: I play Scott S. He wins the toss and calls a Chargers/Rams match-up. He watched my entire game versus Charles M. when I ran like crazy with Butts. I was thinking he wanted me to pick the Chargers on that call so I decided to not take my favorite team to use and chose the Rams. I exploited the weaker DBs on S.D. and CC to Ellard most of the first half. He was a little upset. I found myself up 0-14 with about a minute left before the half and would be receiving after half-time. Of course, he connects on two CCs to Anthony Miller and I am only up a score. Second half was an exact duplicate of the first half (only I did not CC this time). Final score was 14-28.
Game 4: I play John R. He won the toss and called an Oilers/Bengals match-up. Even though the Bengals really fit my style of play, I am not retarded. CC, CC, CC. I actually played pretty bad this game. Not used to Houston. I housed a fumble and so did John in this game. Dick Dick had a pick. That was about it. I won 35-17.
Game 5: I played "T.K." I won the toss and called Raiders/Bears. He took the Raiders. He used a three shotgun playbook. I called Run 3 Sweep 90% of the game. He picked it about 40% of the time. I covered with Stinson as he started to pass. Success. I won 21-6.
So my pool played out like this:
Derek R. 5-0
Jason P. 3-2
Scott S. 3-2
John R. 2-4
Charles M. 0-5
Jason P. and "T.K." would go on to make up half of the Final Four.
Took a break before the Elimination Bracket. Went to get some grub. As many of you know, I have been on a very successful lifestyle change. Lost about 33 pounds since June 9 by taking supplements form AdvoCare and changing my eating habits. Bar food is a real challenge when you are trying to continue a very difficult change. I do recommend the Chicken Shamrock Sandwich from O'Donald's. Grilled chicken, tomato, spinach, onion strings, and "Shamrock sauce". It was a green sweet and spicy marinade.
Round 1 of the Elimination Bracket I played Joe M. I won the toss and called Redskins/Vikings. He looked at my Darrell Green jersey and chose the Redskins. I won 37-0.
Sweet 16 I play Russell S. (Kweh). Pretty crazy second round game for one of only 5 players who went 5-0 in pool play. Kweh was 3-2 in his pool. I won the toss and called Packers/Browns. He took the Browns. Lost a fumble on my first play from scrimmage. Second drive, called plays and crazy drone help forced me to go for it in my own territory on 4th down. TOD. Sharpe was covered for most of the game. I could only manage JJs in traffic and diving catches. In six isolation plays, Kweh won 4 of 6. The two I won, I was on defense. Tapping had little impact on this game. Kweh played good defense and called good play calls. I played my worst game of the day and had about as bad a start as one could ask for in this one. Looking back on it, I should have punted the two times I turned it on downs deep in my own territory. That was giving him an easy go at it. Kweh is really quiet, but a nice guy. I wish he didn't live so far away so he could make it to more of these. I was rooting for him until he ran into the 513. Joey and Mort also lost in the sweet 16 round.
In the elite eight I watched brother versus brother. Chris V. versus Matty V. Matty won the toss and called Bengals/Bears. Chris chose the Bengals. Boomer torched the Bears slower secondary on quick passes and Neal Anderson scored on long runs. This battle was just like I thought it would be. End of first 7-7. End of third quarter 14-14. With about three minutes to go in the game, Matty had the ball in his territory and I thought this would end in a 14-17 win for Matt. Wrong on that. Chris forces a punt and gets into FG range and squeeks a FG in for the win.
The final four was Chris V. versus Russell S. and Jason P. versus "T.K." I obviously watched Chris and Kweh. Kweh won the toss and called Lions/Redskins. Chris took the Lions. Kweh was up 0-10 with a minute or two left in the half when Chris out-tapped Kweh for a score. Score was 7-10 at the half I believe. Chris played very composed in the second half and with a safety won 26-10 if I remember correctly.
The final was Chris V. versus Jason P. Three-time Pro Bowler Cleveland Brown Hanford Dixon introduced the players. Jason P. won the toss and chose a Dolphins/Rams match-up. Jason actually called and played the same mat-up in pool play, but I don't think anyone cared. The night before I played Chris in this match up and I took the Rams and won. We talked about it and Chris said he would choose the Rams if this was called. Chris chose the Rams. Jason put Mark Duper at TE and went to his favorite plays pass 2 Shotgun X Curl and pass 3 Pro T Flare C. The Dolphins were playing well in the first half connecting on several CCs, but Chris stayed composed and answered. In the second half Chris abused run 4 Onesetback Dive. He would fake the run up the middle, only to be met by Jason, and then reverse sometimes 2-3 times and still manage to pull out six to seven yards for continued first downs. Chris had the lead and then stopped Jason and appeared to have it locked up, but Cleveland Gary fumbled the ball to the Dolphins. Chris was trying to get out of bounds, but the ball bounced around on the line and the unthinkable was happening. My heart sunk for Chris. Jason killed some time and threw a short pass and was running to the end zone at the one yard line, but Chris took DB1 Humphrey from the top of the screen to the bottom of the field, dove, and got the diving-missed tackle. Jason's receiver had both arms in the end zone, but the Tecmo gods ruled his knees down short of the goal line and brought up fourth and one foot. Jason called the run 3 R & S Sweep Right and so did Chris. Rams got the ball and run three consecutive runs out of bounds. Tournament director Barhoover was yelling fumble each attempt. Chris punted away to expire the clock and expire the label of the Dan Marino of Tecmo. Watch it here: Youngstown Championship (this is set at the fumble, but the entire game should start at 55:23). Jason played magnificent all day and was deserving of that championship, but the Peyton Manning of Tecmo got the monkey off his back.
Several celebratory hugs and pictures ensued after the victory. Brother Matt got a styrofoam lid full of shaving cream and slammed Chris during a championship photo opportunity. The ride back to the 513 was glorious.
Despite losing much earlier than I felt I should have, I am ok with my weekend. I took two out of three from the champ the night before the tournament. I was one of only five players to go 5-0 in my pool and two people from my pool made the Final Four which I defeated. Big thanks to John El Tecmo Barhoover who put on a very successful inaugural tournament. Despite having six-man pools and allowing every tournament competitor into the championship elimination bracket, the tournament was still over at 8:30 PM. He got a Pro Bowl NFL player of the Tecmo Bowl era to show up and raised quite a bit of money for the Fairhaven Foundation. John is a very passionate individual and gave every player the most Tecmo for their buck. I plan on attending the next one.
Back: Kweh, El Tecmo, tecmopsycho, Dizzle, bigmvv54, Mort, ?, Ultimate_Weapon, DT, and ninjachessmaster
Front: red98, vogtcd11, and Laztlain