DENVER — **Acrobatic catches, deftly agile runs leaving behind would-be tacklers and one unbelievable controversial finish -- yes, the Broncos and NFL football is still months away but the Blondes vs Brunettes game to benefit the Alheimer's Assocation at Denver University's Barton Lacrosse Stadium was certainly a delightful supplement during the offseason.
The Blondes hoisted the trophy with a 20-18 victory, but it almost was a crushing loss.
After falling into a slight 12-7 first-half deficit, the Blonde team's defense clamped down on the Brunettes, leading to a second-half turnaround. The Brunettes' offense stagnated but they scored one touchdown to stay close, but the clock began to weigh on them as they mounted a final drive.
Quick passes and timely ball movement got them passed midfield and then nearly to the goal line. The quarterback stretched out on a sneak up the middle but still left the team needing a few yards as time wound down under 15 seconds. On the next play, the quarterback uncorked a pass to the left corner, finding a hole between two members of the Blondes' secondary. Celebration erupted on the Brunettes' sideline. With 0.4 seconds left, the game seemed over as the Brunettes' touchdown put them up 24-20 with an extra point to be decided.
But the outcome was but on hold. One of the quarterback's flags fell off on its own accord right before the snap, and so the referees deliberated with all the coaches and came to the conclusion that there was a false start and the offense would be set back five yards on third down.
Two incomplete passes falling off fingertips later, the Blondes took control with a turnover on downs and took victory formation.
Truly, the game had all the trappings of a classic match, swiftly switching each team from agony to elation — or elation to agony — in a matter of a minute in the closing seconds of the clock.
Regardless of the game's outcome, both teams were victorious for what they had achieved together: raising $126,733 in the name of supporting the Alzheimer's Association.
The game's goal is not just to be a fun event but to help raise money for the Colorado chapter of the Alzheimer's Association and awareness of the disease, which is expected to grow at a shocking rate. In fact, they estimate the number of Coloradans with Alzheimer's will grow to 76,000 — nearly enough to fill Sports Authority Field at Mile High to capacity.
The fundraising total reached over $120,000, which goes towards the assocation's goals to help families with programs for eduction and support, to help advance research into treatment and prevention, and to support public policy initiatives that help those with Alzheimer's and their families.
The Blondes vs. Brunettes game was founded by a group of women with personal connections to Alzheimer's who started the event to raise awareness and funds to help fight the disease.