Mike DeMarteleire had a man open down the sideline.
Had he driven the ball down the field when he threw it, he'd likely have a long completion, if not a touchdown. Instead, it was intercepted.
The Code Red quarterback learned that lesson again, but this time, it came with a dose of finality. DeMarteleire's final interception, made by The Money Team's Anthony Webb with less than two minutes remaining sealed his team's fate, as Code Red fell to The Money Team, 14-13, in American Flag Football League semifinal action Sunday at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw, Georgia.
The low-scoring affair was peppered with close calls, with each team securing fourth-down stops. Code Red's Christopher Linares was especially notable for his multiple pass breakups, including consecutive deflections on third and fourth down in the second half with The Money Team mere yards from scoring an insurance touchdown.
In between, DeMarteleire proved he could still complete ambitious attempts, finding Drew Terry on a beautifully thrown pass for a touchdown. With Code Red facing fourth-and-5 early in the second half and the game tied at 7-7, DeMarteleire ditched the safe option, instead lofting a perfectly placed pass to Terry, who was exploding out of a stop-and-go route down the sideline. It would be the last visit to the end zone for Code Red.
The trash-talking Money Team locked down from there, keeping Code Red from scoring while responding with a quick touchdown drive. A touchdown pass from Diere Franklin to Jarvis Johnson and subsequent extra-point conversion (via a completion to Johnson) gave them a slim lead. It would prove to be enough to win.
Darnell Jenkins also scored for Code Red, catching a touchdown pass to even the score at 7-7, but never found another opportunity to put points on the board.
The Money Team will face Fighting Cancer in the America's Championship finals on Saturday in Indianapolis, with a matchup with the Pro Championship winner and a shot at the $1 million purse on the line.