So it’s finally come to this, the 2011 FFL season is over. It’s been a season with ups and downs, but in the end there has been more positive than negative. I for one have enjoyed following you guys all over Flanders (and Brussels), and my own journey as your journalist has been a good one. I’ve been asked a few times this year if I don’t miss playing football, and it’s easy for me to say “no” while I’m having good times with some mates on the sideline. I didn’t really know what to expect when I started doing this, but it has turned out to be a really good idea, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. I’ll get to my thankyous at a later date, as that’s going to be a big job! But for now, let’s go to work.
It was a most excellent idea by Hans De Leenheer on the sideline in Anderlecht last weekend to go tailgating in Ostend before the game yesterday. Those who turned up were treated to scotch eggs (vogelnestjes), potatoes and ratatouille, all made by the man himself, Hans. I can’t really think of a better way to start a football afternoon than to lounge around with a few mates with some good food and a cold one, talking some football and just generally shootin’ the breeze.* Tailgating is such a part of football in America and I can certainly see why – I sure hope this happens more often in the future!
Game One : West Flanders Tribes 54, Gent Gators 0
The Tribes run defense was on display in full force against the Gators. Interestingly, the Gators had the same number of total rushing yards as they scored points – 0 (on 15 rushing attempts, RB Deschildre was the best with 6 yards on his 5 attempts). Tribes DL Mestdagh with 7 tackles controlled the line of scrimmage for the home team. Fortunately for the Gators, they had much better success in the air, in total their quarterbacks went 14/32 for 140 yards, and WR Van Meldert snagged 5 catches for 43 yards to lead the team.
For the Tribes it was a team effort yet again, 4 touchdowns coming on the ground, 3 in the air and 1 was a pick-six. The home team started like a bullet train, scoring 4 touchdowns before the end of the first quarter, including 3 from WR/S Gancharov, one was a 29-yard pass from QB Vermaut, one was a 15-yard run and the other was an 80-yard interception return. RB George scored the other on a 4-yard run and the score was an amazing 27-0 at quarter time.
However the Gators showed a lot more resolve in the second quarter, holding the Tribes scoreless, and after the Tribes fumbled a punt they set themselves up in the redzone, but an interception from CB F.George ended that drive. The Gators had trouble again holding on to the football, turning the ball over 6 times (3 interceptions and 3 fumbles), and this set the Tribes up with good field position for most of the day.
Tribes back-up QB DeGrendele played much of the day under center, however starting QB Vermaut still had enough time to record a perfect passer rating of 158.3, play a bit of fullback and also some defensive end! RB George finished the game with stats of 14 rushes for 133 yards and 3 touchdowns, so just another day at the office for him. Also helping out in the win were TE Brutyn (2 catches, 53 yards, 1 td), LB Stepman (4 tackles and 1 fumble recovery) and RB/S Monserrez (4 rushes, 42 yards, 1 interception). The final touchdown of the game was scored by WR Declerck in the final minute of the game, so unfortunately for the boys from Gent, they couldn’t avoid the “fifty-burger”, as it was so eloquently put by their injured QB Baggett (hamstring).
Gators DL Timmermans had a truly excellent day, spending much more time in the Tribes backfield than they’d care to admit, registering 2.5 sacks, meanwhile S Richard had 6.5 tackles and LB de Saedeleire had 5.5 more.
Tribes total offensive yards : 411. Gators total offensive yards : 140
These are the final computer rankings of the season. With the Tribes big win, all 4 computer polls agree again, which means they get their perfect 3000 point rating back. Gent finish only marginally behind Limburg (the exact difference was 0.57 points).
1 – West Flanders Tribes (8-0-0) : 3000
2 – Brussels Black Angels (6-1-1) : 2576
3 – Brussels Bulls (5-2-1) : 2305
4 – Bornem Titans (4-4-0) : 1294
5 – Antwerp Diamonds (3-5-0) : 1018
6 – Limburg Shotguns (2-6-0) : 352
7 – Gent Gators (2-6-0) : 351
8 – Leuven Lions (1-7-0) : 109
If I have some time later in the week I might try and make either a separate LFFAB table, or perhaps even a combined BFL table in order to try and make some sense of the upcoming playoffs and make some decent predictions.
Players of the week
Tribes WR/S Gancharov. 5 catches, 64 yards, 1 touchdown. 1 rush, 15 yards, 1 touchdown. 1 tackle, 1 interception, 1 defensive touchdown. Unstoppable – you give him half a yard of space and goodbye.
Tribes QB/DE Vermaut. 6/7, 124 yards, 3 touchdowns, 158.3 passer rating. 2 rushes, 18 yards. 3 tackles. What was even more amazing was that he did all that wearing the ugliest football shoes in the history of the Universe!
Gators DL Timmermans. 5.5 tackles, 2.5 sacks. The Gators sacked Tribes QBs 4 times in the game, one was Timmermans by himself, and he had half a sack on the other three.
Stat of the week
The Brussels Black Angels have finished second after the FFL regular season for each of the past 7 seasons.
Quotes of the week
“Spongebob is cool!” – Tribes coach, Andy “Pizza” Brutyn reacts to criticism of his flashy Spongebob t-shirt
“Mike Ditka was a bit like me” – Tribes tight end, Andy “Pizza” Brutyn looking to the past to find someone whose game was similar to his own
Ten thoughts I think I think
1 – I think the Gators really aren’t all that far off. They just need a little more fire, a little more passion, and maybe a couple of big boys to power up their offensive line so they can run the ball more effectively. They missed LB Jolie in this game as well.
2 – I think Tribes RB George is absolutely not normal, and I mean that in a good way! De Rosten is 36! Do you believe it?
3 – I think it’s a bit curious that doping control guys were at the game in Ostend. I would think those guys would be too busy with professionals to worry about us.
4 – I think Sunday was the first time that I’ve ever stood on a sideline opposite the Tribes instead of with them (the second half of the game). Next time I’ll be back with them – one of the joys of the FFL is listening to Alain’s comments during the game.
5 – I think the field in Ostend looked great with the lines painted the way they were. The only thing missing was the word “Tribes” in the endzone, but that’s asking a bit too much, I reckon!
6 – I think, well, actually I know that the seats in the stand at the Belgian Bowl are already more than half full. A piece of friendly advice : the tickets cost more to buy on game day than beforehand, so get in early!
7 – I think I shouldn’t have reacted to those polls on Facebook in last Thursday’s edition. The correct way to create change is to get your president to bring it up at an official meeting, or go to the brainstorming sessions yourselves.
8 – I think the All-FFL team is finished. Thank God for that.
9 – I think I’d also like to say that I’m sorry for it. I know that some people are going to be pretty annoyed not to be in the team who think that they should be, but I can’t choose everyone! I just picked the players who I thought played the best in the games that I saw, no more and no less.
10 – I think these are my non FFL thoughts of the week:
– Why is it that 80% of the time I use a GPS to get around the place it doesn’t have the street that I’m looking for? Or it will have the street but not find the right number and direct me to the wrong end of the street.
– Only two months until me and the family are going on holidays. Yeah, baby!
– Mother’s Day was a success in these parts. Me and the daughter made strawberry ice cream instead of the usual cake which went down well. I think Father’s Day is coming up soon, but I never can remember that because it’s in September in Australia and I’m just not used to it.
– My two favourite NHL teams both got swept out of the playoffs last week, the Flyers and the Capitals. You’d have thought that the GM of Philadelphia would realise that they actually need a good goalie to win in the playoffs, they haven’t had one for 20 years.
– Thankyou all for the nice birthday wishes, I had a really nice day even though I had to work (first time on my birthday since 2003). A few pretty good sportsmen share my birthday – David Beckham, Brian Lara and The Rock!
14:00 – Brussels Bulls (FFL #3) v Charleroi Cougars (LFFAB #2)
14:00 – Brussels Black Angels (FFL #2) v Louvain-la-Neuve Fighting Turtles (LFFAB #3)
The FFL season may be over but the FFL blog continues! Thursday is your mailbag so hopefully there’s plenty to talk about. Sunday you’ll find me in Anderlecht for the wildcard game Black Angels vs Fighting Turtles, and Monday we’ll be right back here with the final four teams! It’s a great time of year to be an FFL fan, I must say. Until next time
* “Shootin’ the breeze” is probably not an Australian term, but it means ‘talking about nothing and everything’.