The turning point for Jacob Brock, player-coach of one of flag football’s fastest-rising teams on campus, was a semester quarterbacking his ward team and losing every game. Brock doesn’t fault his ward for putting together a casual team for fun, but he decided that a little organization, strategy and trickery could propel an otherwise average group of guys to a strong record.
So far, it’s worked.
Brock selected the best players he knew to create Air Raid, a team based on players willing to practice pre-designed plays for use in games. The team has dominated its competition so far, having won all four of its regular season games with an average margin of victory greater than two touchdowns and will almost certainly move up from its current placement in the bottom tier of flag football.
“He really wanted to win a jersey so he handpicked this team,” said teammate Jordan Ashcroft, a finance major.
Most of the team has played football in high school and flag football in the BYU Intramural league with a few exceptions, according to Steven Skovran, a physiology and developmental biology major who plays for Air Raid.
“We might be the only two who didn’t play in high school,” Skovran said of Brock and himself.
To compensate for the imbalance of football knowledge and experience throughout the team, Air Raid held a practice before the first game to go over plays and discuss defensive strategy.
“There are some coaching and tips,” said Jacob Snowden, a senior from Roseville, Calif., who played two years of high school football with Brock.
Ashcroft credits Air Raid’s high-scoring offense to smart play calling and effective communication. Brock calls the plays, and the team executes them efficiently.
“Everyone gave him plays,” Ashcroft said of the team contributing plays to Brock’s playbook. “We put them together and have about ten plays that we use regularly.”
On the defensive end of the ball, getting interceptions and pulling flags in the backfield are a major area of emphasis.
“We’re a really good team on defense,” Ashcroft said. “Most of us have played together before so we know where everyone will be on the field.”
The quarterback plays with a lot of emotion, but Air Raid remained level-headed through the fall 2013 season thus far.
“They really like playing,” said Jessica Ashcroft, wife of Jordan Ashcroft. “In the game, they’re really intense but they don’t let a win or a loss change their attitudes.”
Air Raid’s overall relaxed approach to the game has helped them enjoy their intramural experience this season, in part due to the fact they are all married.
“We always have fan support,” Jordan Ashcroft said. “When you’re married, everything is better.”
With the post-season around the corner, Air Raid could possibly be moved up multiple tiers considering how well it is playing. Teams are ranked each through the course of the regular season based on multiple factors such as team athleticism, speed and playmaking ability.