By Sebastian Rooney
Day 1 of Madden’s Ultimate Thanksgiving tournament took place on November 9th. This is the first of the two day event with Day Two being on the 16th. In traditional Madden tournament form the prize pool was a hefty $260K with 1st place walking away with $75K. With all this money on the line we saw plenty of the big names present in this tournament, like Cleff the God and Wesley. Day 1 of the event were the quarter final matches.
#16 Gabagol vs #6 CleffTheGod
This game was a tightly contested one. Cleff was able to avoid the upset from happening after being pushed to the limits by Gabagol. In the first half it seemed Gabagol had Cleff’s number although being down 3 going into halftime. Coming out of the break however Cleff got the ball first and was able to march down and score on his opening possession. Gabagol on the next drive was able to match it with a score of his own. They traded blows back and forth all game but, it was a fourth down stop by Cleff followed by a touchdown drive that would ice the game for him sending him to the semifinals.
#5 Wesley vs #18 Rage
Like the game prior this was a close game going into half. Wesley was able to complete the 2 minute drill by scoring a touchdown giving his team a 24-17 going into the break. However, coming out it was a completely different story. A game that was once close quickly became one sided. After getting the ball out of the half, Wesley was able to get a field goal but on defense he was able to force a turnover and score a touchdown. From this point Wesley never looked back. With some stifling defense and a “Rage” quit Wesley walked away with a semi finals spot with a score of 37-20.
#20 Dez vs #10 KMac
Another close game in the first half. KMac got early momentum by scoring a field goal on his opening drive and then scoring a pick 6 on the following defensive stand. However Dez was unfazed by it. He was able to right the ship scoring 14 unanswered points and almost went into halftime with a pick of his own. In the second half we were treated to a defensive battle. After trading opening drive touchdowns the rest of the game was a pick, turnover on downs, and the end of the game. Dez was able to come up when he needed to most and walk away with the 21-16 win.
#4 JonBeast vs #3 Big Gucci
Gucci’s opening drive ended with him throwing a pick but was able to hold Jon to only a field goal. On his next drive Gucci marched down and took the lead. Jon responded with a touchdown of his own and Gucci responded to the response with his own touchdown. Jon was able to whittle down the lead to only 1 point going into half. The second half saw Jon throw an early interception which led to Gucci extending his lead to 8 but Jon was able to score a long touchdown of his own. Unfortunately he was unable to get the 2 point conversion to tie. They would continue to trade touchdown for touchdown but without being able to get a stop Gucci was able to walk away with the thrilling win 35-32 in a top 5 matchup.
Day 2 of the Ultimate Thanksgiving Tournament continued on November 16th. During the day we saw both semifinal games happen. Wes vs Dez was Game 1 and Cleff vs Gucci was Game 2. After the semis we saw our Grand Finals.
#5 Wesley vs #20 Dez
The game started with Wes digging himself into an early hole. With his first two offensive drives ending in a pick and a fumble. Dez was able to capitalize on the turnovers and turn them into 6 points the other way. Nothing was going in the favor of Wes as by halftime he was down 20-3. Coming out of half Dez was able to add on to his lead by scoring an opening drive touchdown. Although Wes was able to battle back and make the score look respectable, it was far too much to overcome as Dez pulls off the upset and advances to the Grand Finals.
#3 BigGucci vs #6 CleffTheGod
This game started with a ton of explosive plays. Cleff got a long on his opening drive only for Gucci to answer it with a kick return touchdown. After this Cleff marched back down to score another long touchdown. On Gucci’s next drive he would turn it over on downs which Cleff was able to capitalize on with 7 of his own. Before going into half Gucci was able to cut the lead to 11, being down 28-17.
On the opening drive of the half Gucci was able to shrink the lead to just 3 after getting a touchdown and converting on the 2 point conversion. Unfortunately for Gucci, Cleff played ball control football taking a lot of time off the clock AND scoring a touchdown to make it a 2 possession lead. The next drive for Gucci stalled out, turning the ball over on downs, allowing Cleff to milk out the rest of the clock for the win and a spot in the Grand Finals versus Dez.
#6 CleffTheGod vs #20 Dez
Dez came out the gate the same way he did in his first game, forcing an early turnover and turning it into 6. Cleff didn’t let the pick haunt him as he would bounce back with a touchdown of his own to even the score at 7 a piece. Dez would then march back down the field and score yet another touchdown. On defense, Dez would force yet another turnover on downs allowing his offense to add on to the lead making it 14. Cleff would shorten the lead to just 7 but just before half Dez was able to get into field goal range and keep it a two possession lead at 24-14.
Coming out of halftime, Dez was set to receive the ball and on only his 2nd offensive play he was able to break off an almost 70 touchdown run to extend his lead even more. Cleff was able to respond with a long touchdown of his own to bring the lead back down to 10. Dez and Cleff would go on to trade touchdowns once again putting the score at 38-28 in favor of Dez. Dez would then be able to add on 3 with 2 minutes left. Cleff was unable to overcome the massive deficit and Dez would walk away the youngest Ultimate Tournament winner.
Congratulations to Dez! Being the youngest Ultimate Tournament winner is truly an impressive feat. Dez didn’t have a single matchup where he was the higher seed, and he didn’t let that deter him from snagging the crown.