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Members of Congress had a former National Football League quarterback leading them on offense as well as coaching help from a handful of other professionals, but they still could not manage to put up any points Monday night against the Capitol Police in the Longest Yard Football Classic.
The “Guards” of the Capitol Police kept their undefeated streak intact when they defeated the “Mean Machine” of Members by a score of 28-0 in the third edition of the game, held at Eastern High School.
But the Members didn’t seem too upset about losing, since the game was expected to raise about $30,000 for the Capitol Police Memorial Fund, organizers said. To date, more than $100,000 has been raised for the fund, according to Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.), one of the game’s original organizers.
As Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) put it: “Everybody wins.”
Rep. Heath Shuler, a former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist, had two of his passes intercepted. But the North Carolina Democrat, who coached the Members team and played QB all four quarters, was in good spirits after the game, smiling and laughing with officers.
“They’re a very fast, very young team,” Shuler said of the police. “You could tell they all had played [before]. But they were just having fun, just like us.”
Although the Guards ended up beating the Mean Machine by four touchdowns, much of the early part of the match-up was tight. The Guards scored a touchdown on their first drive but were stalled on offense until getting another score with 17 seconds left in the half.
The Mean Machine got aggressive at the start of the second half when they took over on offense and looked to have a shot at getting downfield. But Guard Christian Bockman managed to intercept a Shuler pass and run it back for a touchdown. After that, the Guards took control, intercepting another Shuler pass in the fourth quarter and scoring a fourth touchdown in the final minutes of the game.
Bockman, who serves on the containment and emergency response team for the Capitol Police, appeared modest after he picked off a guy who used to throw passes to NFL receivers.
“That was lucky,” he said. “That was hard.”
Jim Davis, who coached the Guards and works as a K-9 officer on the police force, said the game was harder than he thought it would be.
“These guys are very well-prepared,” Davis said at the half.
One of the reasons? The Mean Machine received support from former NFLers John Booty and Ken Harvey.
“I was impressed,” Harvey said of the Members. “Some of them are pushing 50 and they play like they're young. ... They are going to be sore tomorrow.”
Booty helped coach the defense, instituting hand signals and even stepping into the game in the final minutes (along with Harvey). The final score didn’t really take into account the Member effort, which kept the police working, Booty said.
But for Renzi, the final score didn’t seem to matter.
“All those guards keep us safe, and keep us healthy,” Renzi said. “And every so often, kick our butts.”
For full coverage of Monday night’s game, be sure to pick up Wednesday’s edition of Roll Call.