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Cpl. Stephen McGinnis, a combat correspondent with Regimental Combat Team 1, prepares for a play during the 2008 Turkey Bowl Flag Football Tournament at Camp Ramadi, Iraq, Nov. 27. Marines of RCT-1, Team 2 outscored opponents 155-60 to win the tournament. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Muhannad Faisal) (Released).

Photo by Lance Cpl. Jerry Murphy

RCT-1, Team 2 takes Turkey Bowl at Camp Ramadi

6 Dec 2008 | Lance Cpl. Jerry Murphy

(Dec. 6, 2008) – Regimental Combat Team 1, Team 2, outscored opponents 155-60 to sweep the 2008 Turkey Bowl Flag Football Tournament at Camp Ramadi, Iraq, Nov. 24-27.

The single-elimination tournament was hosted by 81st Heavy Brigade Combat Team and featured 16 teams competing for the title.

All of the teams made valiant efforts, but none could match the raw talent of RCT-1, Team 2.

As a late entry in the tournament, Marines with RCT-1, Team 2 played in the last game of the first day of the competition, winning in the final minutes 20-12 over the Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 125th Infantry Regiment.

RCT-1, Team 2’s next two games were not nearly as close. The team won each game convincingly by scores of 44-12 against 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion and 53-18 against Combat Logistics Battalion 5.

In the championship on Thanksgiving Day, they faced off against Soldiers with the Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 158th Field Artillery Regiment.

158th won the coin toss, opted to receive the ball first and quickly marched down field to score on their first drive.

RCT-1, Team 2 turned the ball over on downs during their first offensive possession, but their reorganized defense forced Army to punt and the Marines’ offense was able to capitalize on the ensuing drive with a 50-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Bryan Hughes to receiver Jerry Murphy.

Going into halftime RCT-1, Team 2 led 18-12. The six-point difference marked the smallest lead margin the Marines held at the half since their first game in the tournament. In the second half that all changed.

Hughes opened up the second half with a series of precision passes to receivers Rodney Lane, Tracy Johnson, and Cedric Foster, and then a touchdown strike to receiver Jeremy Franklin.

The high-powered RCT-1, Team 2 offense scored 20 unanswered points thanks in part to their tenacious defense, led by linebacker Philip Benzie and safety Stephen Geib. Benzie led the team with 18 tackles through the tournament, and Geib led the team with four interceptions. 

The 38-18 victory won the team a championship trophy and bragging rights aboard the camp.

“We had a great team who worked well together and just went out there and played football,” said RCT-1, Team 2 coach Brad Owen. “I had a large selection of athletes to choose from and we had an outstanding team from top to bottom.”

Col. Ronald Kapral, the commanding officer of 81st HBCT, said after the game that while most Americans were just waking-up to celebrate Thanksgiving, the Camp Ramadi Turkey Bowl was possibly the first Thanksgiving football game of the year.

Kapral also thanked everyone involved for their participation and congratulated the Marines on their win as he presented them with the trophy.