Barefoot Ultimate
in
Spring Smackdown 2008
April 26
Tupelo, MS

Saturday, April 26, 2008 was a great day for Barefoot Ultimate.

Daniel Rhea, a graduating senior of Tupelo High School and standout ultimate player at Barefoot Ultimate events, organized the Spring Slam 2008 Ultimate Tournament as his senior project for school. This one day event played host to five teams:

Tupelo High
All-Stars
Led by DRhea and including Barefoot Ultimate standouts Robert, Jordan, and Chris
 
ICC
All Stars
Led by Drew Davis who is also a Barefoot Ultimate standout
 
Mississippi State
All-Stars
Led by Andy Jones who is also a Barefoot Ultimate standout
 
Killer Mosquitos
 
An excellent team from Cleveland, MS led by John Sellers
 
Barefoot Ultimate

Consisting of most of the remaining veteran Barefoot Ultimate regulars including: Big Freakin Neal, Dru, Super Brad, Doug, Travis, Coach Andy, Daniel Rhea's brothers Joseph and Stephen, Todd, Kirk and Kyle, Brandon, Kurt and Jeff, with cameos from Andy, Robert, and Chris.

The day started off overcast and cool, and would remain that way, perfect weather for ultimate. Barefoot Ultimate was pumped up to play, and dominated three of the first four games. The exception was the ever scrappy, incredibly athletic, tournament experienced Killer Mosquitos, a team with which Barefoot Ultimate has fought hard battles in previous tournaments, winning some, losing some. This first round game was another close match, but Barefoot Ultimate managed to edge out the Killer Mosquitos 13-11. The writing was on the wall, the championship bracket seemed likely to see a rematch in the finals.

After struggling with ICC in the semifinals, Barefoot Ultimate moved on to the championship game against, as expected, the Killer Mosquitos. It was another close match, and early on the Killer Mosquitos grabbed a narrow lead, but just before half time Barefoot Ultimate pulled back ahead by a point to go into the break leading 8-7 in a game to 15. The second half Barefoot Ultimate struggled with mistakes and unforced errors, and the Killer Mosquitos came out playing solid and took the lead back. Late in the game, the Killer Mosquitos had increased their lead to two points and was on the brink of winning with the score 14 to 12.

It had been a long day, both teams had already played five games including the long, full-length, battle against each other earlier, and both teams should have been tired, but adrenaline was running high and everyone on both teams was still playing hard. Barefoot Ultimate managed to score again, but trailing 14 to 13, could not afford to allow another point. After, a long, back and forth point, Barefoot Ultimate got the break they needed and tied the game! The Killer Mosquitos would receive the disc for the next point, and ordinarily the game would continue until one team won by two points, but in this epic battle, time had run out, and the score would be capped at 15.
THE NEXT POINT WINS...

Fired up from having tied up the game, but aware that the Killer Mosquitos were going to have the first chance to score for the win, the Barefoot Ultimate players reached down deep inside and pulled out their best effort. After moving the disc methodically up the field, the Killer Mosquitos made a rare risky throw, and Neal pounced on the opportunity and intercepted the disc. We now had a chance to score! After working the disc around, Joseph caught a closely contested throw, and then lost control of it, as we all watched it flop onto the ground. But wait! He had caught the throw, and the defender had knocked it out of his hands, so it wasn't a turnover after all! Continuing play with renewed hope, Barefoot Ultimate showed their best playing yet by making one great pass after another, advancing the disc down the field, quickly, always one step ahead of the defense, until Coach Andy sprinted into the endzone and caught the game winning pass! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!

Spring Smackdown 2008 Champions: Barefoot Ultimate!

Other tournament highlights: Todd was the first to earn the right to wear the Cape of Outstanding Effort when he made a full speed, completely horizontal, mid air, layout catch of a pass that was clearly thrown beyond anyone's reach. WOW! You should have seen it! And later, Stephen earned the cape by making a similar fantastic layout to knock down a disc on a defensive play.

Many thanks to Daniel Rhea, who put on a great event. The lines drawn on the field to mark off regulation boundaries were a nice touch for a crowd that doesn't ordinarily get to play on an official utlimate field. The spread of bagels, oranges, bananas, and laffy taffy kept us energized all day. And the 1st and 2nd place trophies were awesome! (especially the first place trophy :-) And on top of all that, some of the money from the event also went to charity. Way to go, Daniel Rhea!

Thanks go to Catherine for the many great photos you see here!

Qualifying Round
Barefoot Ultimate:13       Tupelo High All-Stars: 4
Barefoot Ultimate:13       Killer Mosquitos: 11
Barefoot Ultimate:13       Mississippi State All-Stars: 4
Barefoot Ultimate:13       ICC All-Stars: 5
 
Championship Round
Barefoot Ultimate:13       ICC All-Stars: 7
Barefoot Ultimate:15       Killer Mosquitos: 14
 
Players:
Coach Andy, Brad, Brandon, Doug, Dru, Jeff,
Joseph, Kirk, Kyle, Kurt, Neal, Stevo, Todd and Travis
Cameos:
Andy, Chris, and Robert
Barefoot Player Fans:
Catherine, Eli, Erica, Heather, Linda, BJ and McKenzie
Cape of Outstanding Effort was worn by:
Todd and Stevo
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Barefoot Ultimate