This past Saturday was the Treasure Cup in Ostend (again thanks go out to the organisers and to the Pirates themselves). It also happened to be the debut of The Barbarians. We’d had just two training sessions to get ready and I must admit that it went smoother than I’d thought it might, but the players all bought into what the coaches were saying and worked hard together to get a great result.
Game One : The Barbarians 33, Coudekerque Black Wolves 0
The Wolves kicked off and after a touchback The Barbarians offense took the field, slowly marching the ball downfield until QB Killens found WR Bruyndonckx in the endzone for the first ever Barbarian points, 6-0.
Strong defense forced a Wolves three and out, and after a long WR Lezy catch, it was left to RB Meerschout to punch it in from two yards away, and the score was 14-0 after some QB Killens evasion skills and a nice pass to WR Alloun for a successful two point conversion.
Despite the lead, the Barbarians kept their focus, LB K Meersmans dropping into coverage, making an interception and returning it to the house from 10 yards away, this time the XP from Borremans was good and it was 21-0.
The Barbarians gave away nothing in the running game, and the Wolves had to pass virtually every play. They had a little success but the Barbarians defensive backfield held it tight too. After a punt, this time it was QB Njufom who found WR Bruyndonckx alone in the endzone from 28 yards away, but the two point conversion failed. But they didn’t have to wait long to see more points on the board as QB Njufom found a streaking WR Alloun to end the scoring 33-0, the Barbarians having played well but expecting a tougher game next up.
Game Two : The Barbarians 34 – Ostend Pirates 8
The Pirates opened the game on fire, stopping the Barbarians with a three-and-out, and then that old connection of QB Vermaut to WR Gancharov opened the scoring, and after K Laleman passed to TE Brutyn the score was 0-8 for the home team.
But the Barbarians would step it up and reply immediately. After a nice drive, RB Steenackers pounded it into the endzone after good work from the offensive line, and the extra point from K Borremans made it 7-8.
The Pirates fumbled on their next drive (recovered by LB J Meersmans), and the Barbarians punished them for it, QB Killens finding WR Lezy on a nice catch to put them ahead 14-8.
After half time, the Barbarians front seven took over, pressuring Pirates QB Vermaut on every drop back, DT Depreitere in particular was too much to handle, and LB Lagae made an interception too. On offense, the Barbarians hogs were giving their QBs plenty of time and opening big holes in the run game, QB Njufom making the most of it by finding WR Alloun for another touchdown, this time from 25 yards away.
Then we had an instant replay from the first half, LB K Meersmans dropping into coverage, making an interception and scoring another touchdown from 10 yards away. K Borremans nailed his fourth extra point in a row and it was 28-8.
After an interception and long return by CB Pype, RB Steenackers scored his second of the game, setting the final score at 34-8.
Game three : Ostend Pirates 7 – Coudekerque Black Wolves 0
I must admit that I wasn’t really watching this game too closely, it was a defensive struggle but Ostend still had enough firepower to score, this time QB Vermaut found WR Laleman in the front corner of the endzone and it was up to Laleman himself to make the conversion.
Players of the tournament
For me, there were five : Steven Corijn, David Corijn, Denis Lyck, Seba D’Hollander and Olivier Beck – the Barbarians offensive line. Their quarterbacks had all the time in the world to find open receivers, and their runningbacks had gaps big enough to drive trucks through. Given that they were blocking with a different scheme than they’re used to, it was a fantastic effort.
Stat of the tournament
Barbarians forced turnovers : 5
Barbarians touchdowns scored after turnovers : 5
Quote of the tournament
“I was here first!”, Barbarians S Kim Jolie to RB Nico Steenackers as they both stood on the field in the same place ready for a kickoff, and neither of them wanted to go off.
This was typical of the attitude of the players, they all just wanted to play.
The future of the Pirates
I’d say that by the time the next season rolls around, that the Pirates are going to be a solid team. Right now they’re a few big bodies short of being a serious contender, but they have enough playmakers to scare any defensive coach.
The future of The Barbarians
Well, I’m not exactly sure. Everybody was excited before the tournament, and everyone was still excited after it. It was a hell of a lot of fun to be a part of, that’s for sure. The players were great, not just with their skills but with their attitude. It was a great chance for them to have some different coaches, try some new things, and learn from others who play the same position as them. We’ll see what the future brings, but I don’t think that this is the end of the story.
This will be the final blog post of the 2013 season. I hope you all enjoyed it, and we’ll be back for more next year. Until then