The Scorpion Scores Mizerak Championship Title
Steve Mizerak Championship / Hollywood, FL
by Raymond Linares
Johnny “The Scorpion” Archer has never won a Seminole Pro Tour title … until now. Falling short of championship glory at the Steve Mizerak Championship for the last two years, Archer would not be denied this year. Exhibiting the world-class combination of power and control that garnered “The Scorpion” multiple world 9-ball titles, Archer played above and beyond the rest of his peers.
Archer’s road to the finals was littered with impressive victories. Most notable were his two victories against former U.S. Open champions Rodney Morris and John Schmidt. Tied at 4-4, Archer broke and ran four consecutive racks on “Rocket” in a winners’ side match-up. Then in the hot seat match, Archer showed some real lock-down pool as he steamrolled “Mr. 400.”
Morris had to take a more difficult path through the treacherous one-loss side to make it back to the finals. He defeated Rafael Martinez 8-2, Shane Van Boening 8-7, and Schmidt 8-6 in succession for a chance at redemption against Archer. The stage was set for a clash of two legends.
Archer and Morris both struggled early on in their match, not being able to find the break for the TV table. At 3-2 in favor of Archer, Morris missed a long shot on the 4 ball. Focusing on the position of the cue ball more than the pocket, Morris hung up the 4 and left Archer with a manageable run-out. The next game saw both players jockeying for position through a safety exchange that ultimately went to Morris. Trailing now by a score of 4-3, Morris came with a break and finish after a fantastic cut on the 6 ball to tie the score at 4-4.
Morris continued to struggle on the break, coming up dry in the ninth game. It seemed that Archer would clear the table, but after he scratched on the 5 ball, Morris fulfilled the task, finishing off the rack with a beautiful power-draw shot that brought the cue ball one rail for position on the 10. Leading at 5-4, Morris once again found no friends on the break, and after a strong safety exchange, Archer tied the match.
Cheering loudly for their favorite, the audience applauded as Archer, feeding off the crowd’s energy, followed with a timely break and run. But Archer couldn’t replicate that feat in the twelfth frame as he broke and scratched. Morris, with the cool demeanor that brought him such success in the past, ran out to uproarious applause. Tied at 6-6, Morris once again broke dry, and after a brief safety exchange, Archer took control of the match. With a fantastic cross-corner bank, the former world 9-ball champion Archer cleared the table and took the lead at 7-6.
The crowd could sense Archer’s determination and watched as he broke and ran the next rack to claim the hill at 8-6. In the last frame Morris had an opportunity to make a comeback; however, after a goofy kiss off the point from the side pocket, his cue ball sailed cross table and scratched in the opposite side pocket. With ball in hand, Archer collected the last few balls on the table and with it the $15,000 top prize and title of Steve Mizerak 10-Ball champion.
In the presence of a wonderful crowd, and members of the Seminole Tribal council, Archer and Morris gracefully accepted their respective prizes, showing truly why they are revered as some of the top players of our sport. Their tact, sportsmanship, and wonderful spirit of competition are examples that should be followed by all players.
This event was an amazing one as always, and it is precisely due to the dedication and willingness of the Seminole Tribe of Florida to sponsor professional pool and billiards that this was all possible. Special thanks to them for continuing to set the bar and leading the way in men’s professional 10-ball. Special thanks to Brunswick and Simonis cloth for providing such excellent playing conditions. Thank all those who’ve supported the Seminole Pro Tour throughout the entire season.