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Duel of champions decided by 5 yards

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla, -- In a clash of base flag football champions Tuesday that went into overtime, the winner was decided by a tape measure. The Gym Rats, who captured the 2012 spring season title, edged Reserve White, the 2011 fall season champs, by 5 yards.

The Gym Rats struck quickly on their first possession. A pass to Quincy Boles picked up 25 yards, and from the Rats' 30 quarterback Cody Brooks and receiver/defender Elbert Craig Jr. scored on a hook-and-ladder play. A completed PAT pass raised the score to 7-0.

White's Jim Gasaway gained 16 yards on a pass from quarterback Brian Van Curen, but Gym Rat Brandon Newhouse stopped Van Curen at the line of scrimmage on the next play. Mike Rosenthal clutched a pass that advanced White to the Rats' 39-yard line, but a pass to Mike Templeman was tipped into Craig's hands and he returned it to the White 32. Brooks raced to the 4 on a keeper, but the Rats stalled and White took over on downs.

After an incomplete pass, Van Curen sprinted the length of the field into the end zone, and Templeman caught the PAT pass that knotted the score, 7-7.

The Rats proceeded downfield to Reserve White's 4, where Brooks tossed a spiral to Thomas Cheek in the right corner of the end zone. Templeman broke up the extra-point attempt, but the Gym Rats were in the lead again, 13-7.

On White's first possession of the second half, Templeman picked up 15 yards on a pass, but Gym Rat Quinten McLeod sacked Van Curen at the White 7-yard line. Subsequently the Airmen failed to convert on fourth down and the Rats took over near midfield.

Brooks and Cheek teamed up for another score, widening the Gym Rats's lead to 19-7.

From midfield, White scored on a hook-and-ladder when Van Curen tossed a pass to Gasaway, who lateraled to the trailing Templeman, who raced to the goal line. The PAT pass attempt was broken up by Craig, but White was back in the game, 19-13.

The Gym Rats had to punt on their next possession, and Reserve White went to work from their own 5. A series of short passes to Templeman, Rosenthal, Gasaway, and Jeremy Allen moved the Airmen downfield to the Rats' 17-yard line as the clock wound down.

On the final play of regulation, Van Curen launched a "hail Mary" pass toward the back of the end zone, and Templeman snatched it from between two defenders. The score was now tied, 19-19. Brett Nims caught Van Curen's PAT pass but was ruled ineligible because he stepped out of bounds before re-entering the playing field.

In overtime, each team starts at midfield and is allowed four plays to score. Any team's possession ends if it's intercepted. If neither side scores during its one possession in overtime, the winner is determined by the amount of yardage each side gains during it's overtime possession.

Reserve White won the Head Referee Dave Nicholson's coin toss and opted for offense. Van Curen was promptly intercepted by his counterpart, Brooks.

After the Gym Rats took over, Brooks, too, chose to pass but was almost intercepted by Nims. On the next snap, Brooks tucked the ball under his arm and charged downfield. He stepped out of bounds after gaining 5 yards -- enough to win the game.