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MPs claim JBLM bragging rights

508th MP Bn. bests Lewis-McChord Fire Department in dramatic fashion during base flag football title game

Published: 11:15AM December 13th, 2012
MPs claim JBLM bragging rights

Scott Hansen/Northwest Guardian

508th MP Bn. receiver Antonio Bartee, middle left, celebrates with teammates after scoring the game winning touchdown with two minutes to play in the game.

David Sadlemyer found himself in familiar territory.

Just five days after lifting the JBLM Army flag football team to a 18-13 victory over Navy Nov. 30 in the 2012 Puget Sound Classic, the quarterback was in a similar situation with the “best of JBLM” flag football title on the line Dec. 5.

With his team, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 508th Military Police Battalion down 14-8 to Lewis-McChord Fire Department, and with just two minutes on the clock, Sadlemyer did what he does best when it’s crunch time. He took to the air.

Sadlemyer hit receiver Antonio Bartee with a 32-yard pass for a dramatic 15-14 victory at Cowan Stadium. Bartee bobbled the pass before he secured it and crossed the goal line into the end zone. The win gives the best of JBLM bragging rights to the 508th MP Bn. for the third straight year.

“The only thing on my mind was ‘please don’t drop the ball,’” Bartee said. “That last play we had enough time to do the play we wanted. It’s my first time being on the team, so it feels good.”

Once Sadlemyer rejoined his team half-way through the regular season after receiving medical clearance for a blood clot, the quarterback immediately found a favorite target in Bartee. The wideout caught both touchdown passes in the JBLM championship win.

“I had my go-to guy and got the ball to him,” Sadlemyer said. “They were coming in quick all night so it was hard to get around them, but we did it when it counted ... (Bartee) has good hands and he has speed.”

Sadlemyer struggled to find his momentum in the second half, throwing back-to-back interceptions while the Fire Department converted on one of the turnovers for a 14-8 lead. But the Fire Department couldn’t convert when it needed to most to put the game away.

“They had some great throws and made some great catches,” Alex Salinas of the Fire Department said. “It was our drive right before (Army scored) that really killed us. We had a couple of bad plays we ran and lost some yardage. We made it a little difficult for ourselves.”

Salinas is an Army firefighter at Station 105 on McChord Field. The Fire Department played its regular season games on an 80-yard field on McChord Field as opposed to Cowan Stadium’s 100-yard field. The McChord side also played 7-on-7 during the regular season, rather than Lewis’ 9-on-9.

Salinas had two touchdown catches on the night from quarterback Joseph Thompson, including a 24-yard catch in the second half that gave the Fire Department its only lead on the night.

Of the Soldiers on the 508th MP Bn. roster, only Sadlemyer and Michael Allen had also played in the Army-Navy game the previous week. Sadlemyer is used to the dramatic finishes in championship games. In last year’s best-of-JBLM championship, the quarterback threw a touchdown pass to lift the MPs to a 31-25 triple overtime victory over McChord Field’s Western Air Defense Sector to repeat as champs.