By Dan Campana
Despite a gritty, spirited effort that included key contributions from several suburban officers, the CPD Enforcers fell short Saturday in the National Public Safety Football League National Championship game.
The Enforcers and NYPD Finest battled through a scoreless first quarter, before the Finest broke through in the second quarter for a 9-0 halftime lead. The 16-0 final score, which earned the Finest their 10th NPSFL national title, wasn’t indicative of how close a defense-heavy game the teams played on the turf at Morton West High School in Berwyn before a spirited crowd of police supporters.
“Hell of a contest,” Enforcers Head Coach John Curry said during a postgame ceremony with both teams at midfield. “We’re looking forward to seeing you again next year.”
Before presenting the championship trophy to the NYPD squad, NPSFL President Jeff Price told the players on both sides they proudly represented themselves as police officers and football players during the hard-fought game.
The Enforcers went 5-0 in the regular season to reach the championship game for the first time in program history. The team’s roster predominantly features Chicago police officers, but several players from Cook County and surrounding suburbs round out the roster. In April, Ten Two News highlighted a few of the “Outside” Enforcers who are part of the team.
On Saturday, those officers made key contributions on both sides of the ball.
Wheeling Police Officer Rick Richardson stood out with a momentum-changing interception early in the fourth quarter. With NYPD looking to extend its lead, Richardson, a five-year veteran of the team, snatched the Finest pass at his own goal line and returned it to CPD’s 34 yard line. Late in the third quarter, Richardson broke through nearly untouched on a blitz to sack NYPD’s quarterback to force a Finest punt.
Naperville Police Officer Marco Scalzetti, in his rookie season with the Enforcers, caught two passes – including a key third-down grab in which he made a quick adjustment to come back on the ball for a 21-yard gain and a fresh set of downs.
Also making their presence felt throughout game were Dan Heimerdinger (Alsip Police Department), George Hickey (Forest Park Police Department) and John Simmons (Cook County Forest Preserve Police Department).
Price singled out Simmons for showing “so much heart in this game” to exemplify the perseverance shown by both teams throughout the afternoon.