Intramural football team reaches nationals

By James Cantagallo

The intramural flag football champion won its regional tournament and is headed to nationals.

NIU Full Package won the men’s independent flag football league. The team won the campus championship on Oct. 23, 21-20, versus SAE Purple, which got it an invite to the regional tournament.

“It was a blast,” said senior Taylor Dupre. “We have won the independent league four years in a row now. To win the campus this year was great.”

Last season the team made it to regionals, but it was eliminated after losing three games in a row.

“We kind of used the past season as a training for regionals,” said team captain Devin Hill. “We went down to regionals and got killed last year, so we had a different aspect going into this year’s season.”

The National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association Shamrock Classic, otherwise known as regionals, was held Oct. 26 and 27 at the University of Notre Dame.

Full Package went 1-1 in pool play, winning its first game as time expired.

“We just went in there trying to come out with one game win,” Dupre said. “We won our first game with a Hail Mary on the final play, and it kind of set the tone for the whole weekend.”

Full Package went on to beat Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and Valparaiso University to get to the championship. In the championship game the team beat Olivet Nazarene University, 20-12.

Junior Colin Odishoo was named the tournament’s most valuable player.

“It was flattering,” Odishoo said. “But the fact that we came down there and got the bid to go to the national tournament and compete there is so much more exciting than individual honors.”

By winning the Shamrock Classic, Full Package received an automatic bid to the Flag Football National Championships. The tournament will be held Jan. 3 to 5 at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Fla.

“I have heard the competition is really incredible,” Odishoo said. “We are just going to try and do our thing and shake some heads. We have nothing to lose. We’re going to just keep playing our game and see how it goes.”

The team is looking forward to representing NIU at nationals.

“It’s always great to be able to [represent] NIU,” Dupre said. “All of these teams are out there [representing] their school, and so for us to be able to go down there and wave NIU’s banner is a great thing.”

Hill said nationals will be a great experience for the Full Package team and its players are hoping to make the best of the opportunity.

“I am super excited to go down there and check out the competition at nationals,” Hill said. “Realistically, if we come down there and get a few wins I will be more than proud of those guys out there. If we won it all that would be amazing, but you know, baby steps.”