The short of it is that they played better. I want to extend my congratulations to those guys. I've been on the other side of heated games/arguments/fights with some parts of that team in the past. Over the weekend they were consistently a class act and they clearly deserved the win. I'll talk about how Kevin and Ray dominated the game, but they got valued contributions from a wide array of people.
Since most people don't know the story of the game, here it is. Reckon took the first two upwind points, and sealed them on the downwind to take the lead 5-1. But the weekend had established that no lead was safe, and that was the case. Their offense had given us easy chances upwind through some miscues and Boneyard quickly made the correct adjustment to start bombing the disc and force our upwind offense to work 70. They brought the game close during half and then we traded points (some upwind) until we were at 11-11. There was a long point with them going upwind which they managed to score. Then we had a long upwind point that we failed to score. The final count was 15-11, but it felt closer than that.
That is the breakdown, but it doesn't really talk about the strategic adjustments. To start the game they gave us some short yardage upwind points that we were able to capitalize on. They were tough, but doable. Downwind was fine for us. Jay wasn't always connecting on his big throws, but often seemed to be good enough. They did get some clean upwind passes, which prompted us to go with a zone to force them to throw more passes for their upwind score. I don't think that was a great adjustment. But at first it worked.
They had realized that much of our upwind offense was structured around inside break-mark passes, so they were changing their man D at the front of the stack accordingly. One thing we didn't do that probably would have been successful was pull the front two people in the stack out of the way with open-side deep cuts. That would have allowed more space for the inverted throw or the around backhand.
Relegated to trading they made the next big adjustment coming out of half. Having realized that our zone was forcing too many passes upwind, but they couldn't just bomb it, Boneyard employed a smart strategy. Going upwind the gusts were coming from right to left. So what they did was place Kevin Kusy in between the wings/short deep (who were pulled in to prevent through passes) on the right side. No one else was in between the 2nd and 3rd defensive lines and Ray Parrish was pulling the deep pretty far back. Then rather than try to make a throw to where Kevin was and have it turn out bad it felt like they started to throw the best pass they could to a space and let Kevin go get it. It only worked about 40% of the time, but when it did Kevin had clean upwind shots to Ray. Again the percentages were low, but given enough chances and good luck it would work.
Our zone defense failed to make an adjustment in the second half to take this away from them and it became a game of who could score more upwind breaks. With their defense on to our upwind game plan and our defense not really adjusting to theirs the odds were in their favor. Also (and I said this before) Kevin and Ray had a good second half.
It's hard not to be upset about the failure to adjust, but hind-sight is 20/20. In retrospect I would have liked to have tried to mix up the zones a little. We ran a cramped, standard 3-3-1 and were able to get some turns from it. I don't know if our personnel would have been ok with changing things, but maybe throwing in a 4 person cup, 2-3-2 or 1-3-3 would have produced more turns. Personally I think the 1-3-3 would have been pretty effective, but we had never run that all season.
Aside from Kevin and Ray playing well I think the problem was that we gave them too many upwind chances. Eventually they were going to connect on those 40% passes. Maybe different zones would have helped, or maybe it would have hurt. Either way we had our chances to win the game and weren't able to seal the deal. I'd say better luck next year but that as the last trip to Sarasota so who knows what the heck will happen next year.