What do you know, it’s Thursday again. A bit of a special edition this time, as we all well know by now, there’s only half a game this weekend. Might as well just get into it.
Game this weekend
@ Leopoldsburg – 13:00 – Antwerp Diamonds (2-2-0) v Limburg Shotguns (1-1-0)
The current stand is Limburg 19, Antwerp 14, and there’s 3:59 left in the second quarter. I didn’t see the first half of the game and I won’t see the second half either, it’s my bye week as well!
What I can say is that Antwerp will have a tough time reeling in the high octane Shotguns. I think the Shotguns spread formations will force the Antwerp linebackers into man-to-man coverage. The Diamonds LBs can do a lot of things, but I wouldn’t include man covering wide receivers in that list. Advantage Limburg.
I’m sure the Diamonds would love to find another threat in the passing game, just to mix it up a bit more. Having said that, their running game was outstanding against Leuven and I’m sure they’ll continue to lean on that on Sunday. It should certainly be an entertaining game, but I think Limburg at home might just get the job done.
However, this is not a game that Antwerp can afford to lose. A loss would put them at 2-3 with a match against the Tribes next weekend.
Man v Machine
Last week I had 3/4, and the computer 2/4.
The computer thinks that Antwerp will outscore Limburg by 2 points in the remainder of the game (and therefore lose by 3) . I think Limburg will end up winning by 13.
First half awards
This is a section where I’m going to hand out some awards, some perhaps more serious than others. OK, let’s see who’s first.
Best backfield combination award : Angels RBs/FB – Sarta, Trouillez, Banza. The perfect blend of power and more power, these guys have the ability to run either around or over opponents.
Best tackle award : Shotguns LB Curren. First quarter vs Gent, running back in the 6. Perfect form tackle, ball carrier driven backward and lands flat on his back. You may well know that I’m an offensive guy, but this was a thing of beauty.
Best return man award : Gators WR Depreitere. In my playing career, there were only two players I ever kicked away from, one was a guy from the Angels (I don’t know who it was), the other I’m writing about now. Vision, quick moves, and hard to bring down for a little guy.
The revelation award : Diamonds QB Keymolen. Dual threat quarterback with the ability to lead his receiver onto the ball through the air, with all the speed and elusiveness of a running back.
Iron man award : Lions FB/LB Grenson. According to me, he must lead the team in both rushing and tackles, playing most plays both ways, which is, after all, the definition of an iron man.
Best nickname award : Angels TE/T Meys. Although it was super funny to hear Diamonds everything man Vervaet being called “Slash”, the best nickname is an oldie but a goodie – Bart “The Terminator” Meys, so named for his ability to crush the life out of defensive players.
Best player you don’t know award (unless you’re either him, or his teammate/coach) : Lions G Salvaggio, Bulls DE Nyati Panzu. Salvaggio is a real force in the run game, especially when he pulls, at times he joins in the defensive line too. Nyati Panzu can rush the passer very effectively and uses his speed to good use around the field too, making tackles all over the place.
The “you can’t stop that guy” award : Diamonds TE Joris Verhelst. Everyone knows what he can do, but nobody can keep him quiet.
The Hustle, Loyalty, Respect award : Lions DE Erwin Janssens. Quite possibly the oldest player in the FFL (would love to see an onfield battle between him and Alain Debaillie from the Tribes) but does not ever give up on a play. Take notes kids, when your coaches talk about effort, this is what they mean.
Offensive play of the first half of the season : Titans QB D’Hondt to WR Vermeir. A last minute, game winning, double covered, over the shoulder catch in the back of the endzone to win the Battle of Antwerp.
Defensive play of the first half of the season : Gators S De Bruycker. Makes a tackle at the 1 yard line to win the game for the Gators against the Diamonds. Anyone else notice how the Diamonds are two brilliant plays away from being 4-0? I should give a special mention to Titans LB Van Hauwaert who apparently pulled a stunning pick, but I haven’t seen it. Nobody has a video of it?
Weirdest game award : Angels v Bulls. 0-0, enough said.
Best game award : Tribes 26, Bulls 22. The best ending to a game was the aforementioned Diamonds v Gators game.
Nicest field award : The Swamp, home of the Gent Gators. Lovely sight lines from upstairs.
Best food award : Bornem Titans. Great to have something different, unfortunately I hurled* it all up later that evening (due to a virus) so I won’t be eating it any more!
Business as usual award : West Flanders Tribes. New coach, new tackles, new defensive coördinator.. started 3-0. I have heard this story before.
T.O (whoever you might be), Leuven
“You said the Lions are still searching for their identity. That might be true…or not, who will say. But having 15+ injuries on a team doesn’t make the job easier, not for the players or the coaching staff. ‘Roeien met de riemen die je hebt’ is a valid dutch expression for this.”
What I mean by searching for their identity is this : What is Leuven Lions football? What is your manner of playing? I can easily describe Diamonds football – ram it down the opponent’s throat. I can easily describe Shotguns football – spread it out and pass pass pass. All teams have a certain way to play that is their own. I don’t see that from Leuven. When I watch Leuven play (and I have seen you guys play 3 times this year) nothing screams out at me and says “This is what we do”. Of course the injuries don’t help, but they don’t help any team. I’m not trying to be critical, you don’t neccessarily have to have a few go-to plays in order to be successful, but it helps (ask anyone who has tried to stop the Tribes sweep plays the last 5 years).
Bene “Chubby” Verheyen, West Flanders
“Nice read again Dale. Not sure what you’re better at, punting/kicking or writing? I guess both. We had a tough game against the Bulls but a win is a win, right?”
I have the advantage that I can write in my own language and you guys can understand it – I wouldn’t have the time or patience to do it in Dutch (even though I could do it in theory, I don’t think I could do it with the same style anyway). I should be better at punting, I’ve been doing that for longer than I’ve been writing! And to your other question, a wise man once said “winning ugly is better than losing pretty”.
Monday will feature whatever information I can gather about the Diamonds v Shotguns game plus I’ll look forward to the second half of the season. Don’t forget you can subscribe to this blog, or befriend me on facebook to get your updates. Until next time.
* ‘Hurl’ is a word that means ‘throw’, although in this case, more like ‘throw up’.