photo credit: insanitylabs
Kansas City and Rat City played an instant classic of a contest to cap off the Texas Shootout. The #1 seed in the west, Rat City, was heavily favored coming into the final match of the tournament, but, like #1 East seed Gotham before them, found out the hard way that Kansas City was just playing a tiny bit smarter, harder and faster than everybody else. A bout full of explosive performances, numerous lead changes, pivotal strategic adjustments and thunderous support from both teams’ loyal fanbases ended up coming down to the very last instants of the very last jam, with Kansas City barely holding off a desperate late comeback and hanging on to become the 2007 WFTDA champions, 89-85.
The first jam went 4-0 for Rat City as Miss Fortune got the better of Xcelerator, but Kansas City hit back hard on the following jam, where their defense held Burnett Down on her opening lap for a full 2 minutes while Snot Rocket scooped up 9 points. Over the course of the next four jams, the teams traded lead jammer status and wins, keeping the margin about the same. On Jam 6, between Blonde ‘n’ Bitchin for Rat City against Xcelerator for Kansas City, Rat City made a questionable strategic decision, with Blonde ‘n’ Bitchin getting 4 points before Xcelerator was sprung from the penalty box but choosing not to call the jam before Xcelerator got a chance to get on the board. The gamble didn’t pay off, and Rat City lost a chance to close the gap as the jam ended 6-6. The total score was Kansas City 26, Rat City 19 at that point, and Snot Rocket would open up the lead further by going 7-3 over a penalized Miss Fortune on the next jam (with Miss Fortune just barely picking up her 3 points as time expired in the full-length jam.) Next up, Kansas City pulled out a hole card by sending out a well-rested Dominant Jean for the first time in the tournament, replacing Fearlys in the Kansas City jammer rotation. Jean would fit right in, getting lead jammer status and scoring a quick 2-0 over Rat City’s Pia Mess. That made the score Kansas City 35, Rat City 22 with about 13 minutes left in the half, but events took a sharp turn in favor of Rat City at that point.
On the next four jams, Rat City jammers picked up three grand slam laps while their defense repeatedly ensnared Kansas City jammers — a 9-0 for Blonde ‘n’ Bitchin over Jade Lightning, a 5-0 over Miss Fortune over Dee Claw (who barely avoided more damage by getting lead jammer and cutting off the action an instant before Miss Fortune would have started her second scoring pass), and a 5-0 over Valtron over Snot Rocket. Kansas City’s only offense in that series would be a close 4-3 victory for Xcelerator over Ann R. Kissed. Suddenly, Rat City had gone on a 22-4 run that turned a double-digit Kansas City lead into a nine-point Rat City lead at Rat City 48, Kansas City 39, with about 5 minutes left in the half. It looked for a moment like Rat City might be on their way to taking control of the bout, but Xcelerator had different ideas, running up a 7-0 jam over Valtron that got the Kansas City war drums in turn 4 thumping hard. Blonde ‘n’ Bitchin would get Rat City a 2-1 win on the following jam and there would not be any time for more scoring in the period, but even though Rat City was winning at 50-47, Kansas City seemed to have the momentum simply by proving they could stick with the #1 team in the nation for a full thirty minutes.
Of course, Kansas City was interested in more than just sticking with Rat City in the second half. While the teams traded victories in the first three jams of the half, leaving Rat City with a 60-51 lead, Kansas City seriously got their game together afterwards, getting lead jammer status on an amazing 10 jams in a row. On Jam 5 of the half, Snot Rocket jammer got a massive response from the crowd when she chose to rely on her strength rather than her speed to get past Rat City’s Skate Trooper, sending Trooper flying with a block that sprung Rocket from the pack on the way to a 6-0 win. That put the score at Rat City 64, Kansas City 60, and two jams later, Rat City’s consistent problems with the penalty box put the lead in Kansas City hands, 66-65, as Dee Claw ran up 3 points for KC while Rat City’s Ann R. Kissed watched from the box. Still in the middle of their impressive run of lead jammer jams, Kansas City would win every jam for the next 10 minutes, culminating in a 8-4 jam win for Xcelerator over Pia Mess. That made the score Kansas City 89, Rat City 76 with 7 minutes left in the half, the bout and the tournament.
In those 7 minutes, though, Rat City came within a hair’s breadth of taking the bout back. Suddenly, Kansas City found themselves incapable of scoring points, and for the third time in three games had to hold off a late run. First, the Rat City defense was able to bottle up Snot Rocket for a full-length jam while Ann R. Kissed spent a minute in the penalty box in a jam that went 1-0 for Ann. Apparently rested from her time in the box, Ann R. Kissed would burst out on the following jam to lap Kansas City’s Jade Lightning, getting a 4-0 on the board for Rat City. The score was then Kansas City 89, Rat City 81, and Miss Fortune got Rat City tantalizingly close with a 4-0 over Xcelerator that made the score 89-85 with only about a minute left to play.
In the crucial final seconds, Rat City’s Valtron can’t find a way through tough defense from Princess Slay-Ya, Patti Wackin & Snot Rocket. Photo credit: insanitylabs
It would come down to Valtron on the jammer line for Rat City against Snot Rocket for Kansas City, and though Valtron burst out of the pack first, she was not awarded lead jammer status. With only about thirty seconds left on the clock, Snot Rocket took a calculated gamble at this juncture, choosing to hang in the back of the pack and risk her lap point — potentially the game-winning point — by helping her rear defenders block Valtron. The gamble worked out, as Valtron was unable to get through in the few seconds remaining, and the Austin Convention Center went absolutely wild for an enormous upset. Xcelerator was awarded the MVP trophy for the tournament, and the Kansas City Roller Warriors were crowned the new queens of the derby world by knocking off the #1 ranked team in the nation, 89-85.