Finally, football is here! It was a funny old day in Puurs, and those who were there saw a couple of games that won’t exactly go down in history as the greatest of all time, however, they still count. Let’s get into what happened
West Flanders Tribes 13, Brussels Black Angels 6
This, of course, was the first game of the season, and it looked like it. Plenty of sloppiness and flags flying all over the place marred most of the game, yet it was made good by the final two minutes.
With the score tied at 6, the Angels took over after a short punt from the Tribes 22 yard line, and two plays later they had second and goal from the 2. But RB Wart was stuffed twice by Tribes DT Michiels and the boys from Brussels were forced into a 27-yard field goal, which was blocked by Tribes returning player and leading tackler (6.5) LB Vandendriessche.
Tribes QB Vermaut launched a pass down the sideline which was tipped and fell into the arms of Angels DB Lebegge as he was lying on the ground, giving the Angels yet another chance, but their fourth down pass was stunningly knocked down by Tribes rookie CB Pype (otherwise known as “The Island”), turning the ball over on downs and handing the ball back to West Flanders.
One incompletion later and QB Vermaut threw a nice rainbow pass which was just caught in the outstrechted hands of WR Laleman, and he had the pace to take the ball to the house from 68 yards away. The extra point was good and the Tribes took the lead for the first time in the day, 13-6.
After the kickoff the Black Angels would have one final chance but the pass from QB Njufom fell incomplete and the game was over.
Both teams will rue their missed chances in this one. The Angels outgained the Tribes 227 to 202 in total and 171 to 64 on the ground, yet couldn’t get the points that they needed when they had good control of the game in the first half. Also they handed the Tribes excellent field position right at the beginning of the second half when a punt went bad and on the very next play, QB Vermaut (7-21, 138 yards, 2td, 2int) found WR Gancharov (3 catches, 24 yards, 1td) to tie the scores.
Earlier, HB Banza (6 rush, 50 yards, 1td) had scored on a 2-yard plunge to open the scoring but that was all the points the Angels would be able to muster. Also for the Angels, LB Fiquet had 6.5 tackles and LB Dosunmu had 4 tackles and 1 sack.
On the Tribes defense, SS Germonpre had 6 tackles and DT Mestdagh had 5 tackles and 1 sack.
The price that the Tribes had to pay to win the game was huge, with star WR Gancharov being carted off with a severe ankle injury, and also losing reliable S Depestele and OL Vanhoutte during the game too, so I’m sure they’re happy to have a couple of weeks off.
“It ain’t pretty but it counts”, was the word from Tribes coach Verheyen after the game.
Puurs Titans 50, Limburg Shotguns 6
I must admit that I’d wondered how the Titans were going to create enough offense to scare the good teams around the league, but I was sure shown by QB D’Hondt (10-22, 276 yards, 4td, 1int) and WR Vermeir (270 all-purpose yards and 3 tds). The Shotguns were simply unable to stop anything that the Titans threw at them, DL Boeckx doing his best with 6 tackles, but it wasn’t enough, the Titans scoring 7 touchdowns in the game, 4 by airmail and 3 more on the ground, thanks to RB Lagae, RB Nunes (otherwise known as “The Hermanator”) and even QB D’Hondt found the time to slam one in from 19 yards away.
On the other side of the ball it was a two man game for the Shotguns, QB/RB Eeman and RB/QB Hermans with 10 carries each, but the Titans, led by LB Meersmans (6.5 tackles and 1 int) and LB Eerens (5.5 tackles) had answers for almost everything, the only blemish was a 2-yard RB Hermans run right at the end of the game after he’d made an interception a couple of plays earlier and almost taken it to the house.
To be honest, this was as much of a demolition as you’re likely to see on a football field. The Titans piled up 405 yards of total offense to just 23 from the Shotguns, and the difference in passing yards was 276 – 0 (the Shotguns did actually manage to complete 1 pass).
Ten thoughts I think I think
1 – I think I had better explain why the blog was later than normal. I had asked all teams to provide a list of their players with numbers for me, and I’d asked for them at the latest at each teams’ first game. There were some delays with that, therefore there was also a delay with the blog. Everything is in order now.
2 – I think that despite the sheer number of penalties, the games were just about as clean as you’ll find. Good to see everyone doing their best and leaving it once the whistle blows. Yes, there were a couple of “late hits”, but nothing nasty.
3 – I think that the attendances were – Game 1 : 180. Game 2 : 300 (yes, I counted… approximately)
4 – I think that I’m surprised at how few clear number one runningbacks there are around the league. The most carries of any one player was 11 by Angels RB El Batti, and he was a linebacker last year.
5 – I think it was nice to see a few familiar faces around, from all different teams. Good to see you, guys.
6 – I think teams need to spend a bit more time working on their special teams. A bit? Let’s go with “a lot”.
7 – I think I hope that the teams got the rust off themselves and will perform better moving forward. I’m sure that at least three teams who played today won’t be happy with how they played.
8 – I think it’s good to be back on wordpress. While it was nice to be on the FFL website I think things are better here. For one thing, the formatting is so much easier.
9 – I think that I wonder how Coach Curtis’ camera experiments worked out!
10 – I think these are my non-FFL thoughts of the week
– I might have mentioned this on facebook a while ago but I can really enjoy a good game of rugby. England v Wales the other day was a classic.
– Better than that, Australian Football has begun again. They play a cup competition before the regular season as a bit of a warm up. My team (Hawthorn) are one of the favourites this year after finishing 3rd last year. While I’m in Australia I’ll get to see them play twice.
Quote of the week
“The reason the Tribes win all the time is they have more playmakers. It’s as simple as that” – the FFL’s favorite Canadian, Gary Dibble
March 4, Anderlecht
12:00 – Antwerp Diamonds (0-0) v Puurs Titans (1-0)
15:00 – Brussels Black Angels (0-1) v Leuven Lions (0-0)
Votes are currently streaming in which means that Thursday we’ll see if the rankings have been shaken up or not. I’m very curious to see who comes out on top! Don’t forget to join the group “The FFL Blog Extra” for some stats and discussions, think I’ll create a poll too (nice idea, Bart Killens). Until next time