Welcome back competitive football! The slate of games proved to be just as entertaining as they had looked on Thursday, especially in Izegem, where a good crowd turned out to check out four teams giving it their best shot. Two entertaining games, I must say, with plenty of random things happening – linebackers scoring rushing touchdowns, defensive linemen returning punts, someone even stole the football at one point and took off! All in a day’s play right here in the FFL.
Game One – Brussels Black Angels 18, Antwerp Diamonds 0
This was thankfully a totally different game to last week, as you can tell just by looking at the scoreline. The Diamonds came out rejuvenated having regained some of their big boys both on offense and defense. After giving up a couple of long passes, they played a very solid brand of defense, slowing down the Angels and conceeding only a missed field goal attempt in the first half. The Diamonds were most dangerous in the air, TE Verhelst was again the main target, but the first half was a battle of the punters.
The second half featured the ball mostly being advanced in the ground game, the Angels getting close enough to allow K Godichal to make a field goal to put the Angels up 3-0 after three quarters. K Godichal kicked another one in the fourth quarter to put the Black Angels up 6-0, which is where the real fun began. Antwerp forced a fumble and started to return it before just being tackled, setting up the Diamonds with good field position.
However, LB Dosunmu made an interception which gave the Angels excellent field position of their own, and RB Trouillez finished it off with a 5 yard run, Angels up 12-0. On the ensuing kickoff, CB Oshe forced a fumble which was picked up by FB Jackson and returned to the house for the final score. All in all a neccessary win for the Angels who qualify for the playoffs, but a much better effort by the Diamonds who can finish their season off with their heads held high.
Game Two – Brussels Bulls 53, Limburg Shotguns 0
The Shotguns’ attack started well against the Bulls, causing them some problems with their empty sets and good passes, but they were unable to turn their good play into points.
On the other hand, the Bulls didn’t have the same problem, RB Acheson was the star of the show with his dazzling runs and good finishes. His backup RB Amadi scored twice more too and the rout was on. WR Stalmans caught a touchdown pass as well, the other scores went to FB Belkassem and S Brady (this touchdown is going to have repurcussions for a certain Bulls coach, more on that on Thursday) with a pick-six. LB McGinn had another interception too but perhaps the play of the game went to WR Leroy with a 40 yard catch in double coverage.
Game Three – Gent Gators 10, Leuven Lions 7
This was one mighty defensive struggle, with only one offensive touchdown scored all day, however it ended up being the game winner. Now that I think about it, it was also made by a defensive player.
CB Vanoverschelde made an interception which led to LB Schuermans taking a handoff to the left side 22 yards to the house, and FB De Gussem slammed in the two point conversion to give the Gators a 10-7 lead midway through the final quarter. The Lions would drive down to the redzone of the Gators just as they were able to do for most of the game, but the best they could muster was a missed field goal, and the Gators were able to run out the clock for their second victory of the season.
In the first quarter, a fumble had left Leuven with bad field position and they were forced to punt. The punt was blocked by Timmermans out of the back of the endzone for a safety, and the Gators took an early 2-0 lead.
Gent were moving the football in the second quarter when QB Bagget dropped back to pass. World’s smallest DE Baete came off the edge, Bagget never saw him coming, and Baete simply took the ball out of his hands and ran off for a touchdown! The extra point was good and the Lions led 7-2, and the score would stay that way until midway through the last quarter.
It was a busy day for the Lions backfield, RB Van Camp chalking up 70 yards and FB Grenson 42 yards, to go with 2 catches for 13 yards. Leuven got good pressure on Gent’s quarterback, sacking him 4 times.
On Gent’s side, QB Bagget went 10/25 for 90 yards, 5 catches made by WR Depreitere. DE Timmermans led the side with 8 tackles, 0.5 sacks and a safety.
Leuven total offense : 147 yards. Gent total offense : 177 yards.
Game Four – West Flanders Tribes 31 – Bornem Titans 14
This game started with just about as big a bang as a game can. WR Gancharov taking the opening kickoff 80 yards to the house and putting the Tribes up immediately. However the Titans didn’t hang their heads, responding with a 10 play drive, capped by RB Steenackers who smashed it in from 1 yard away. That was followed by a two point conversion, Titans up 6-8.
Some good field position for the Tribes lead to a 19-yard touchdown catch by WR Laleman, which put the home side back in front, and the lead was extended when WR Gancharov scored yet again, this time on a pass from QB Vermaut. The extra point from K Dossche was good and the Tribes went into halftime up 19-8.
Nearing the end of the third, the Titans put together a 13 play drive which ended up in the endzone, RB Steenackers crossing for his second touchdown of the game but the two point conversion failed, leaving the Titans 19-14 down.
QB Vermaut didn’t have his best day passing but it was him who iced the game with two rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter on runs of 1 and 6 yards, giving the final score of 31-14.
Tribes RB George piled up a massive 130 yards in the second half, and it was a good day for the Tribes linebackers, even a couple of players down, LB Ryckelynck with 8 tackles and LB Degrendele with 7 and a fumble recovery leading the way. Not only did WR Gancharov score twice, he held dangerous Titans WR Vermeir to just 2 catches for 11 yards.
The Titans runningbacks did a great job, RB Steenbeke with 54 yards and RB Steenackers 48 and 2 touchdowns. And although it doesn’t really appear on the stats sheet, nice work by Dieter Eerens playing center and doing a fine job of it.
Tribes total offense : 293 yards. Titans total offense : 177 yards
No changes in the order this week.
1 – West Flanders Tribes (6-0-0) : 3000
2 – Brussels Black Angels (5-1-1) : 2375
3 – Brussels Bulls (4-2-1) : 2145
4 – Bornem Titans (4-3-0) : 1439
5 – Antwerp Diamonds (3-5-0) : 939
6 – Limburg Shotguns (2-4-0) : 513
7 – Gent Gators (2-5-0) : 332
8 – Leuven Lions (1-7-0) : 51
Players of the week
Tribes RB George. De Rosten rushed 18 times for 148 yards, including 5 rushes of more than 10 yards, all in the second half.
Gators LB/RB Schuermans. 7.5 tackles on his more usual position of linebacker, and found the time to rush 6 times for 38 yards and his first ever touchdown.
Lions DE Baete. 3 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 touchdown. Could have laid heavy hits on Gent’s quarterback but instead chose to strip the ball, to great effect.
Stats of the week
Quarterbacks in Izegem this weekend went 25/83 for 252 yards. I’ve never seen so many passes thrown and so many fall incomplete.
Tribes DT Sven Buysse’s day: 2.5 tackles, 1 punt return, 7 yards.
Quote of the week
“Titi still gets a 15 yard penalty and he’s sitting in a wheelchair!” – Coach Harve, and yes, it actually did happen! Always a pleasure to watch football with coach.
Ten thoughts I think I think
1 – I think Tribes homegames in Izegem are very well organised and attended. It’s just a shame that the city of Izegem can’t put up some decent nets behind the goals to stop balls flying into people’s backyards who then won’t give them back.
2 – I think people who have been calling for a longer season should have checked out how many players were playing out of position or playing both ways on Sunday. At the start of the season that doesn’t happen.
3 – I think any replay of Bram Baete’s touchdown needs to have a “yoink!” sound inserted at the appropriate point.
4 – I think it’s absolutely mindblowing how many people don’t know the difference between a false start and offside. A false start is when the offense moves before the snap, offside is when a defensive player is in the neutral zone when the ball is snapped. Got it?
5 – I think it was a pretty decent effort by Titans punter Vermeir who was forced into punting one with his left foot. Made pretty good contact under heavy pressure.
6 – I think I don’t know what the schedule is going to be for the FFL blog next week. This Thursday will be a mailbag, and then we’ll see after that. It won’t be a normal Monday edition, but maybe I’ll have something else to talk about. Let’s wait and see.
7 – I think those Bulls are going to be awfully tough to beat in the playoffs. Nobody is playing better football in all three phases right now.
8 – I think I was glad (both for myself and the players) that some cloud came over during the games yesterday, as it was rather warm.
9 – I think that Sunday was the last time this season when FFL games are played at two locations. In two weeks we’re in Anderlecht, and after that is Ostend, and then we’re done! For the regular season, anyway.
10 – I think these are my non FFL thoughts of the week
– I just got an email from the Waregem Golf Course that I’m allowed on the course now (no, you aren’t when you first play). That falls brilliantly because I don’t have to work this week. Wednesday will be my first round.
– Monday, April 25 is ANZAC Day. That’s the Australian and New Zealand day where we pay our respects to those who fought and died for us. Fortunately that’s Easter Monday this year so I’ll be off to Ieper for the ceremony they do there. Funny how the further away from your home you are, the more patriotic you become.
– My son Fyodor has chicken pox. My daughter has already had it so she should be fine. Me and my two brothers all had it at the same time. Must have been hell for our parents!
There are no games next weekend due to some dude coming back from the dead or something 2000-odd years ago.
For the Diamonds and Lions, their 2011 FFL season is now over. Antwerp finishes 3-5-0, meanwhile Leuven end up 1-7-0. I’m sure that both teams will be looking to make a step towards the playoffs next year. As for the Shotguns, they can’t make the postseason any more, and the Titans have to win against the Tribes and have the Bulls lose to get in.
My thanks this week go to Bart Killens, Lesley Moreels and John Jolie for their reflections on the games in Leopoldsburg. Like I said, there will be a Thursday mailbag and after that I’m not sure – depends on what happens during the week, I suppose. Until next time.