30 – Wildcard weekend

So Wildcard weekend has been and gone, with pretty much the expected results. At least both winners didn’t have everything go their way, despite the rather lopsided final scorelines. But I guess we can look at this weekend as the entree to Sunday’s main course (not to forget dessert on June 4). Let’s see what happened.

Game one : Brussels Bulls 49, Charleroi Cougars 0

The score turned out to be a blowout win for the Bulls but it didn’t look like that in the beginning. The Cougars started with excellent field position and could move the ball but couldn’t score, then they forced the Bulls to punt, but that was the end of that.

The Bulls scored 7 touchdowns (2 in the air for WR Leroy, 2 on the ground for RB Abarkan, 1 for RB Ammadi and the other 2 for RB Acheson, including a 40-yarder after busting a tackle). But it wasn’t all offense for the Bulls, DB Mees with an interception and the Bulls defense forced 5 fumbles, including a nice recovery by Kelechian Petrosian, to preserve the shutout victory. As the game went on, the Bulls had more and more dominance, finishing off with 23 points in the final quarter to ring up the final score of 49-0.

Brussels now advance to their first ever semi final game, hoping to become the first ever third placed team to play in the Belgian Bowl.

Game two : Brussels Black Angels 35, Louvain-la-Neuve Fighting Turtles 0

Before I get to the game, first a word about the Turtles, as not many of you guys out there in the FFL Universe will have seen them this year. They’re disciplined, organised and very well coached – I could definitely see them winning 3 or 4 games in the FFL – they weren’t out of place in the playoffs. Now, on to the game.

The end score was perhaps a little harsh on the Turtles, I think they got a bit tired towards the end of the game and the Angels ran over them, a pick-six from DB Dirckx was the final touchdown of the game and K Killens went a perfect 5/5 on extra point attempts.

The Angels first drive went 15 plays for 101 yards, and yet they came away empty handed after a fourth down pass fell incomplete. Brussels had given away 30 yards in penalties on the drive which explains how they could go more than the length of the field without actually scoring. The Turtles couldn’t get much going on offense (this would be a theme throughout the game), and as the game went on, the Angels kept getting better and better field position, which finally turned into points when RB Trouillez (aka The Finisher) sliced in from 5 yards away, much to the relief of the Angels coaches and fans. After a kickoff out of bounds, the Turtles would move themselves into a position to take a shot at the endzone, but QB Ribant’s pass was batted down, so at half time, the Angels led 7-0.

That was also the last real chance the Turtles would have, as the Angels stepped it up in the second half, scoring four more times. It was all ground game in the third quarter, FB Banza (14 rush, 76 yards, 1 td) scored from 3 yards away, the RB Trouillez (14 rush, 83 yards, 2 td) got his second with a little help from his friends from 11 yards away. The Angels didn’t have it all their own way though, as a few Turtles had big defensive games, LB Kikunda with 8.5 tackles, LB Jabri with 7.5 and S Maris with 6.5 more and an interception, meanwhile CB Montfort had 3 tackles and 3 passes defended. But in reality, the Angels had little trouble moving the football, it might have taken them a little longer than they’d have liked (they ended up running 58 plays to the Turtles 35), but they were patient and got the result they were after.

I’d have liked to have seen a little more passing from the Turtles, and certainly a lot less sideways running – a few too many reverses and running backs trying to gain an edge which just wasn’t there. This all added up to (or subtracted from, as it were) a Turtles rushing offense of 19 plays, -17 yards. There’s no way you can win a football game like that, but all credit goes to the Angels defense for just not allowing them anything, and LBs Fiquet and Dosunmu lead the way. CB Law made a pick too and CB Oshe knocked a couple of passes away.

So, respect to the Turtles for making the Angels earn it, but in reality there was only ever going to be one winner in this game, and so the Angels move on to a rematch of last year’s semi-final against the Brussels Tigers.

Angels total offensive yards : 304. Turtles total offensive yards : 29

Computer rankings

Somewhat surprisingly, we have a new number 1! This is hard to explain but the short version is that it’s due to the results of the games on the weekend. The Tribes do lead in 2 of the 4 polls, including the theoretically more accurate TrueSkill poll (it’s theoretically more accurate because it’s based in deeper mathematics than the other three polls put together, in other words TrueSkill wasn’t invented by me, but the other three were).

1 – Brussels Tigers : 2912

2 – West Flanders Tribes : 2739

3 – Brussels Black Angels : 2415

4 – Brussels Bulls : 2214

5 – Louvain-la-Neuve Fighting Turtles : 1366

6 – Charleroi Cougars : 1305

7 – Bornem Titans : 1301

8 – Antwerp Diamonds : 987

9 – Gent Gators : 528

9 – Limburg Shotguns : 528

11 – Liege Monarchs : 431

12 – Leuven Lions : 269

13 – Andenne Bears : 32

Players of the week

Angels RB Trouillez. 14 rush, 83 yards, 2 td. Scored the all important first touchdown with just one minute left in the first half, which gave the momentum to the home team for the second half.

Turtles LB Kikunda. 8.5 tackles including a couple of big hits, he was the main force on a busy Turtles defense.

Angels WR/K Killens. 5/5 extra points, 2 punts for 71 yards, both inside the 20, 3 catches, 54 yards. A very well rounded performance, he accounted for more than half of his teams receiving yards.

Stat of the week

The Angels had one more penalty yard (100) than they had passing yards (99).

Quote of the week

“I’m honest! I’m honest!” – Angels coach Georgy Schultheiss, giving the refs the spot for a punt that went out of bounds. Clearly, because he is honest, they believed him. There was an extended version of the quote that he told me ten seconds later, but I don’t want to influence anything in the upcoming games so I’ll keep that one to myself. Maybe it’ll be one for the end of season review!

Ten thoughts I think I think

1 – I think it’s hard to write ten thoughts about just one game, but fortunately, I don’t have to. I promised to reveal something about the All-FFL team today, and here it comes!

2 – I think there are 10 Tribesmen in the team.

3 – I think there are 8 Black Angels in the team.

4 – I think there are 6 Bulls in the team.

5 – I think there are 5 Titans in the team.

6 – I think there are 4 Diamonds in the team.

7 – I think there are 3 Lions in the team.

8 – I think there are 2 Gators in the team.

9 – I think there are 2 Shotguns in the team. That adds up to 40 players. There are also two coaches, one offensive and one defensive. By the way, I wasn’t neccessarily planning to include players from each team, but it did work out that way.

10 – I think these are my non FFL thoughts of the week.

– I’m not the only one who’s noticed the nice weather. I’m getting peas out of my vegetable garden already – that’s early.

– I receieved a new load of books from England today. Included was “Scorecasting”, another book about sports and maths. Should be interesting as one of the things it talks about is home field advantage.

– I wish Eurosport would show a little consistency with their Australian Football coverage. Sometimes I get a Friday or Saturday night game, sometimes I get the highlights show, often I don’t get either (but the highlights are on tonight, 11pm).

– I do like Ice Hockey but I often get bored of it at this time of year, especially if Philadelphia aren’t playing. I would wake up at whatever time of the night to see a Stanley Cup Game 7 though.

Upcoming

May 22

Evere

14:00 – Brussels Black Angels v Brussels Tigers

Izegem (main field, not the normal field)

14:00 – Brussels Bulls v West Flanders Tribes

Outro

And then there were four.. Who has got what it takes to play the Big One in Ostend in June? We’ll see minimum one team from our capital, and minimum one FFL team, and at this point, I can’t really think of any possibly bad matchups for Belgian Bowl XXIV. Both games on Sunday have interesting storylines and there will be time to talk about that on Thursday (as well as one weird photo from the Bulls v Cougars game). Until next time

Thanks go out to Lesley Moreels for his thoughts on the Bulls game and Dennis Joly for help with the Turtles!

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5 Responses to 30 – Wildcard weekend

  1. Lesley says:

    Dale …you got bored watching ice hockey…you probably didn’t realize it was the world championship final between Finland and Sweden yesterday….I didn’t either…So instead of having a couple of brewskies with mates to wash down the Carolo dust and pondering how to break the tribal gridlock next weekend…I ended up in a jam packed sportsbar wondering if the World Cup soccer was on again ….

  2. Björn says:

    Nothing to be proud of; but hey, we did get a century in penalty yards :-). If we can’t do it with the passing game, we got to try it with something else, no?

  3. Bram Wydooghe says:

    Great read Dale. I’d love to hear the extended version of the “quote of the week”. Remind me of it when I see you on Sunday, please !
    So it’s three Brussels teams and the Tribes. The capital versus the Far West ! Sounds like 19th century history from the USA.
    I’m sure both semis will be absolutely thrilling !! Really looking forward to the Tribes-Bulls game, and eagerly awaiting your predicitions… I’m hoping for an overtime game in Izegem… (I think that has never happened in the latter stages of the Belgian competition -> Dale, I’m sure you can sort that out for me)

  4. Mo says:

    Dale, thank you for your comments about our team, we appreciate, it was a such great experience for us to play in this wild card game, we learn a lot playing higher level, we certainly have a lot of work for next year program, and our kids are ready to improve.
    Special thanks to President Lesley Moreels for his support, he show us the right way to follow with the Bulls program.

    We wish all the best for the Top 4 teams.

  5. Roger Kelly says:

    Dale: I love your blogs and thoughts and that is why I put it in front of the thousands of members we have on Europlayers every week. Not sure I agree with the Tigers in front of the Tribes, given what happened on the weekend. I would love to be able to place a Belgian team in our Top 21 in Europe someday. But keep up the great work and I know how much work it is. By the way, ” Scorecasting” is a great read and opened my eyes to the myths of “home field advantage”.

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