Once again we had glorious weather on Sunday, and it seemed that it pumped up some teams and just took the life right out of others. The top four teams had it all their own way, outscoring the bottom four 198-18, eliminating the Gators and Diamonds from playoff contention, and leaving the Shotguns’ post-season chances on life support.
Reviews of the games in Leuven come from Klaas Allosserie, so thankyou Klaasman!
Game One – Bornem Titans 40, Limburg Shotguns 12
The Shotguns showed up for this game undermanned and undersized, and the Titans were able to control the line of scrimmage, RB Steenbeke scoring three times and RB Steenackers once more. The Shotguns could keep it close in the beginning, a QB Saffo run made the score 22-12 after earlier WR Voordeckers had caught a touchdown as well.
But after that it was all Bornem, WR Vermeir even scoring after Limburg had fumbled on a kick return. Titans WR Van Reeth caught a touchdown too, and the third score from RB Steenbeke was the final one, giving the Titans a comfortable 28 point victory. Most worrying for the Shotguns was their tackling, which allowed far too many extra yards to Titans running backs when they should have been brought down, however they earn extra marks for their great team chemistry.
Game Two – West Flanders Tribes 50, Leuven Lions 0
This was as close to complete dominance as any one team could hope to have over any other. The Lions managed just one first down for the game, and the game was ended by the mercy rule on their home field in the third quarter when RB George found the endzone.
Tribes FS Kenneth “Captain Interception” Huyghe started the onslaught with his first ever pick-six, and then the game turned into the Vital show. Four touchdowns were made by the Tribes receiver, one on the ground, two in the air, followed by his own pick-six which took the score all the way to 35-0. The Tribes defense wasn’t finished scoring, DE Dossche taking down a Lion in the endzone for a safety. FB Ryckelynck then smashed in a touchdown of his own to make it 43-0 at the half, before RB George finished the game off early in the second half.
While everything worked for the Tribes, nothing did for the Lions. QB Van Hoof was forced to leave the game after a few tough sacks, and on one play their running back ran into the quarterback and ended up losing 10 yards. Better for the Lions to just forget about this one and move on to next week, which is their last of the season, and they’ll be looking to end the season on a high. The Tribes, meanwhile, have their first home game of the season against the Titans.
Game Three – Brussels Black Angels 54, Antwerp Diamonds 0
This was a real pounding in a game that I figured would be at least competitive. They say that one person doesn’t make a team, but I think whoever said that has never seen Sergio Borra play for Antwerp. Hard to say from a distance but the Diamonds looked a bit lost out there without their captain. Antwerp were clearly missing a few players (especially along the offensive line) and this didn’t help matters, with the Diamonds only amassing 49 offensive yards in the game (23 of them coming on a QB Keymolen to “/” Vervaet completion).
On defense, the Diamonds were just swamped by a thoroughly efficient and ruthless Angels team. Angels QBs Njufom and Killens combining to go 14/21 for 167 yards and 2 td. RB Trouillez swept around the outside for a 53 yard touchdown at the end of the half to make it 27-0, and the game was as good as over after LB Dosunmu took an interception back into the endzone just before half time.
This added to two defensive touchdowns scored by S Godichal, one on an interception and the other on a recovery after a fumbled punt snap. Other Angels scores were a second touchdown on the ground for RB Trouillez, a catch by WR #80 from QB Killens, and the first score of the game was a catch by FB Bellin from QB Njufom (not that it matters in the end, but this ball was not complete. What I mean is that the official said it was, but it was not. Score counts regardless, of course).
It was hard to pick out good Angels players as they really did it together. LB Fiquet was in everything as usual and OT Meys really stood out for me. It was hard to pick out good Diamonds players as well, but S Vanderaa led all players on the day with 8 tackles.
Game Four – Brussels Bulls 54, Gent Gators 6
I think the most surprising thing when I look at the stats of this game was the fact that the Gators managed 4.8 yards per carry, it didn’t really seem like that during the game. On the other hand, the Bulls averaged 6.8, so maybe that’s why.
Perhaps the boys from Gent would have been more wise to keep the ball on the ground, because their quarterbacks had a rough old day, tossing 5 interceptions. Though on the other hand, they fumbled the ball twice as well, making a total of 7 turnovers, and your surname doesn’t have to be Lombardi to know that that isn’t how you win football games (LB Kitoko with a pick-six and Abarkan returning a fumble to the house).
Gent’s only score of the day also came on defense, LB Jolie with a jarring hit on RB Acheson causing a fumble, which was picked up by CB Vanoverschelde and returned for a touchdown, making the score 14-6. It was pretty much the only mistake from RB Acheson on the day who sliced and smashed his way in for 4 touchdowns, on runs of 13, 5, 3 and 2 yards. QB Fogarty was efficient as ever (9/16, 141 yards, 1 td), distributing the ball to 5 different receivers, and the Bulls defense allowed only 51 yards against them in the air.
The Gators had probably only half the amount of players that the Bulls had, and lost Jens Van de Walle with what turned out to be a fractured vertebrae. Fortunately it’s not as bad as it sounds, according to Gent coach Piqueur, his season is over but he was able to drive himself home yesterday evening. He went low to make a tackle and appeared to take the blow on the shoulder but I suppose it must have been the head. We all wish Jens a speedy recovery.
It would have been easy for the Gators to pack it in at this point, but they fought it out right to the end, stopping the Bulls on a two point conversion that would have ended the game with the mercy rule a few minutes before the end, so all credit to the boys in black for not giving in, although they were outclassed in this one.
Bornem move back into fourth place and Gent find themselves on the bottom (you may not quite understand why, but it’s to do with the fact that Leuven lost to a higher ranked team).
1 – West Flanders Tribes (5-0-0) : 3000
2 – Brussels Black Angels (4-1-1) : 2407
3 – Brussels Bulls (3-2-1) : 2009
4 – Bornem Titans (4-2-0) : 1556
5 – Antwerp Diamonds (3-4-0) : 1090
6 – Limburg Shotguns (2-3-0) : 843
7 – Leuven Lions (1-6-0) : 116
8 – Gent Gators (1-5-0) : 99
Players of the week
Bulls RB Acheson. 20 attempts, 115 yards, 4 td. Pretty self explanatory, any time you score four times in the one game you can expect to be mentioned here.
Tribes WR Gancharov. Like I said, you score four times, you get a mention. He scored one on the ground and three times in the air (twice from his QB and once from Leuven’s)
Angels S/K Godichal. Scored on a pick-six and a fumble recovery, had a sack, went 6/7 on extra point attempts and kicked four touchbacks.
Stat of the week
8 Black Angels caught at least 1 pass against the Diamonds.
Quotes of the week
“No comment!” – Diamonds LB Marco Karmidi after the game. I hadn’t even asked him a question!
“We’re not ready to give up.. yet. We can still make a comeback!” – Gators LB Guillaume Schuermans, with his Gators down 48 in the final quarter.
Ten thoughts I think I think
1 – I think it was a pretty amazing catch by Bulls #17 who kept his concentration and dove after the ball when it had been tipped by a Gators linebacker.
2 – I think I won’t see the Diamonds play again this year. You guys did better than I had expected, not just in number of wins but in actual play as well.
3 – I think the All-FFL team is taking shape. I’m still not completely happy with it, but I’m making progress. I hope to make some sort of gallery with a photo of all the players. I took my camera to the games today (as like I said, I won’t see Antwerp again this year), but forgot to load the batteries.. Idiot!
4 – I think I’m pleased that next weeks’ games are in Izegem. Driving all over Flanders has been good practice for me, but being able to walk to the games has advantages too.
5 – I think I saw the Angels in the T-formation on Sunday. I didn’t think that had been used since the 1940’s!
6 – I think it was a nice “don’t argue”* by Gent kick returner De Preitere on a would-be Bulls tackler during another long return on Sunday afternoon.
7 – I think the FFL should totally organise a ‘touchdown celebration’ competition at the Belgian Bowl! Two categories – individual and group (say, maximum 5 people). Winner could win something worthwhile, say, a free beer! Talk about half-time entertainment!
8 – I think that what happened to Jens Van de Walle should be a warning to all. The first thing that we all learn when playing football is never to lead with the head, and there is a reason for it. Don’t ever stop preaching it, coaches.
9 – I think this is an appropriate Dad quote for the weekend’s results : “You can only beat the team that they put on the field against you”.
10 – I think these are my non-FFL thoughts of the week
– I’m now officially a member of the Waregem Golf Club. They’ve given me a handicap of 36, which is not what people normally get who are starting out (that would be 54), but I’m not a rookie. Now to hit the driving range and get back into form. It has been too long.
– That was totally a dirty play by those damn Yankees at second base to take out Tsuyoshi Nishioka and break his leg. And how about those Red Sox? Oh dear.
– Pity that an Aussie didn’t win The Masters yesterday but Schwarztl totally deserved it. What a putting display.
– My almost 18-month old son, Fyodor, is starting to speak. Words he has so far are “mama”, “dad”, “aap” and “ball”. All the important words, I would say!
April 17, Leopoldsburg
12:00 – Antwerp Diamonds v Brussels Black Angels
15:00 – Brussels Bulls v Limburg Shotguns
April 17, Izegem
12:00 – Gent Gators v Leuven Lions
15:00 – Bornem Titans v West Flanders Tribes
Glad to see everyone playing as hard as they could while the play was alive, and then head back to their huddle once it was whistled dead. No biffo, donnybrooks or “how-do-you-do’s”**. It was nice to see.
I’m looking forward to a couple of even match-ups in Izegem this weekend after ‘Blowout Sunday’. So while you may know that your season will end at the conclusion of the regular season, don’t forget about all those hours you spent on the practice field and in the gym, just waiting until you could play football. Don’t let it just fade away, go out there and give it your all! Until next time.
* Where we say “don’t argue”, Americans say “stiff arm”. I think our word is much more descriptive.
** I think it’s fairly obvious that this is an Australian word for “illegal after play activities”