The Dogtown Rockets completed the perfect season and became the 2012 Turf Wars Champions with a 207 – 191 win over the South Grand Slammers. In the Expo bout the Stars were victorious over the Stripes.
Saturday, September 8th was a cool night, but there was electricity in the air (but at one point none in the building) at the Midwest Sports Hockey Complex at Queeny Park.
To start off the evening, the ladies took to the track for the final expo bout of the season. It was Blocker versus Jammer in the Stars versus the Stripes bout. Many of the ladies playing in this bout were thrust into positions they were not accustomed to. Blockers played as jammers and vice-versa in this thirty minute bout filled with thrills and spills. The Stars jumped out ahead early and then we experienced a brief power-outage at the venue. After that the Stripes came roaring back, but the Stars were able to keep them at bay and pull out the 66 – 51 victory.
The 2012 Turf Wars season was crazy and when the dust finally settled, two teams were poised to face each other one more time for the opportunity to hoist the trophy. The Dogtown Rockets with a perfect 4 – 0 record faced a team they were intimately familiar with in the South Grand Slammers. The Slammers were in this very same position last season and denied the Rockets their perfect season and the Championship trophy. Would the defending champion Slammers play spoiler again this season or could the Rockets finally finish off a perfect season and take home the trophy?
The big story of the night was the Turf Wars version of Transfer-Gate. Due to injuries to many on the Slammers’ roster (Jagged Little Will, Hand Rail, Gnat King Kill and Mr. Dent all inactive), the Slammers procured the talents of Screech Around from the RiverFront Crimes just in time for the Championship bout.
The bout started much like a prize-fight. The first few jams consisted of the Slammers and Rockets feeling each other out and trying to figure out what the other was looking to accomplish strategy-wise. The Rockets drew first blood scoring two points on the opening jam and three more on the fourth jam while the Slammers would score none. On the sixth jam, Screech Around put the Slammers on the board with a four point jam to make the score 5 – 4 in favor of the Rockets. The teams continued to get a feel for each other over the next few jams, you could get a sense that both teams were playing somewhat conservative and waiting for someone to make a mistake before making a move. On the tenth jam of the game, with the score 17 – 11 in the Rockets favor, the Slammers made the first mistake. A major track cut on Neil Death Experience gave Magnum, P.I.M.P. and the Rockets the first power jam of the game and Magnum made the most of it rattling off eighteen points to give the Rockets a 35 – 11 lead. On the very next jam Bat Wing was sent off for a major track cut as well and this time it was Shanego Fett putting up twenty-three points and just like that the Rockets were in control with a commanding 58 – 11 lead with a hair over sixteen minutes left to go in the first half. The Slammers were by no means going to lie down and die though. They settled down after a very smart timeout and went back to work scoring four points on each of the next three jams to bring the score to 58 – 33. The Slammers then made another mistake. Neil Death Experience grabbed lead jammer and then was sent off for a major back-block and yet again Magnum made the Slammers pay tallying up twenty-one points. Neil grabbed four points of his own before the jam came to its natural conclusion. A quick referee timeout resulted in Magnum, P.I.M.P. heading to the box for his fourth minor and Bat Wing had a chance to narrow the gap. Bat Wing took full advantage of the power-jam collecting eighteen points to bring the score to 79 – 55. On the very next jam, High Pains Drifter was sent off for a major track-cut and Screech Around blew up for twenty points and all of the sudden it was a 79 – 75 game. The Rockets called a quick time out to settle things down and then went back to work and went on a thirty-four point run that was topped off by a fifteen point power-jam by Shanego Fett to end the half with the score 113 – 75 in favor of the Rockets.
The two teams started off the second half much like the first as both teams went to work looking for mistakes while taking a few points where they could get them. After the first six jams of the second half, the Rockets had not extended the lead by much leading 138 – 83. The seventh jam got things rolling again for the Rockets. Neither Bat Wing or Magnum, P.I.M.P. were able to secure lead jammer, but that suited Magnum just fine as the two minute jam would take precious time off the clock. Bat Wing picked up seven points before another major track cut sent him off, giving Magnum a power-jam. The Slammers’ defense stepped up and only allowed five points before Bat Wing was able to get back on the track and score seven more before the jam ended. With the score 143 – 97 and 17:10 left on the clock, Double Excel took the jam line for the Slammers against Shanego Fett. That is not a misprint! Double Excel jamming for the first time that I can recall and he almost grabbed lead jammer but a timely block by Kurt Mangle sent Double out of bounds and that gave Shanego enough time to grab lead jammer. Shanego put seventeen points on the board, but not before Double Excel put up eight of his own including a second scoring pass that was finished off in impressive style as Double pulled off a “Scuzzi” spinning around Zombie Jesus right as the jam came to an end. The crown was going nuts, but on the scoreboard things were looking grim for the Slammers as the Rockets lead was 160 – 105. On the ensuing jam, another jammer penalty allowed the Rockets to put another twenty points on the board and the lead ballooned to 180 – 105. The next handful of jams saw the two teams grabbing a couple points here and a couple points there and with just over six and a half minutes in the game it appeared to be all but over as the Rockets lead was 187 – 115. The Slammers had other plans as Neil Death Experience grabbed lead jammer and then Magnum got sent off for a major penalty. Neil secured eight points for the Slammers before committing a major track cut and being sent off. Magnum returned the favor and then some putting up thirteen points of his own putting the score at 200 – 123 with about 5:30 to go in the bout. Just as the Rockets appeared to have the game wrapped up, the unthinkable happened. Adamphetamine got sent off for a major track cut giving the Slammers a power jam and Bat Wing went to work putting twenty-one points up on the board and calling the jam off before Adamphetamine could get back onto the track. That proved to be advantageous for the Slammers as Screech Around took the line and grabbed lead jammer. Adamphetamine then picked up a major back block putting the Slammers on the power jam again. Screech Around exploded for twenty-four points and suddenly the game was getting interesting again. With just over three minutes left on the clock the score was 203 – 168, but the Slammers had all the momentum and the crowd was going wild. Just after the jam started, Adamphetamine was released from the box and neither he nor Bat Wing were able to secure lead jammer so it would go the full two minutes. Then, disaster struck. Bat Wing would be sent off for a major and it appeared to be all over for the Slammers. The Slammers’ defense rallied however and were able to draw another major on Adamphetamine allowing Bat Wing to get back onto the track and score thirteen points. What was at one time a eighty point lead was now only twelve thanks to a eighty-six to seventeen run by the Slammers and the Rockets now only led by a meager twelve points at 203 – 191 with just over thirty seconds remaining on the game clock. The Rockets sent Shanego Fett to the line against Neil Death Experience. Shanego needed only to grab lead jammer and that is exactly what he did. Once the clock hit zero, Shanego called off the jam and the come-back by the Slammers fell just short. The Rockets had avoided collapse and finished the season with an undefeated record of 5 – 0 and won the 2012 Turf Wars Championship.
Rockets: Magnum, P.I.M.P. – 99; Shanego Fett – 63; High Pains Drifter – 38; Adamphetamine – 3
Slammers: Bat Wing – 98; Screech Around – 63; Neil Death Experience – 22; Double Excel – 8
MVPs: Kurt Mangle (Rockets); Double Excel (Slammers)
So there you have it folks, another Turf Wars in the books. What will next season hold for the Crimes, Slammers and Rockets? Only time will tell. There will likely be some new faces on each squad as the league continues to gain new recruits. The 2013 Turf Wars campaign will be beginning in January next year so you don’t have as long to wait for the local league action to resume!
On September 22nd the GateKeepers’ Travel Team will be in action against the #1 ranked MRDA team from Des Moines. Be sure to come to Queeny Park and cheer the hometown boys on to victory in what just may be a preview of the 2012 MRDA Championship bout!
Don’t forget that the 2012 Men’s Roller Derby Association Championships will take place right here in St. Louis on October 20th and 21st. Gateway to the Best will feature the top eight teams in the MRDA battling it out at the Midwest Sports Hockey Complex with the last team standing being crowned 2012 MRDA Champions! Tickets can be purchased at a discounted rate right now at Brown Paper Tickets! But you better act fast as the price will increase as we get closer to the event!
See you at the bouts!
Star-Spangled Hammer and Magilla Guerilla are the announcers for the St. Louis GateKeepers!