Hello and welcome back to the Barbarian Blog. It was a bit of a tough weekend for flowing offenses as field conditions were pretty heavy. There were four games played and three ended in a shutout, so that should be some indication as to how difficult it was.
The first two game reports come courtesy of John Jolie, Christophe Olenaed and Floris Van Hoof – thanks boys! There were also reports from Antwerp of two very serious injuries. We (the Barbarians staff and coaches) and actually the whole BFL in general, wish you guys all the best in your recovery.
Brussels Black Angels 26 – Limburg Shotguns 0
At the beginning of the game, the Angels simply ran over the Shotguns, as they showed that they definitely did not want to fall to 0-2. They also didn’t give Limburg any room as the Shotguns struggled to move the ball at all. After a serious injury to a Shotguns player, the game was halted due to the absence of medical team. After more than 30 mins the ambulance with player left and game continued. The game went a bit sleepy after this, it was as if the delay took all the air out of it. The Angels did manage to score a couple more times, and the Shotguns got some rhythm but missed a field goal attempt when they had their best field position of the game.
Leuven Lions 21 – Antwerp Diamonds 7
The Lions offense played no huddle and scored on their first drive, which left the Antwerp boys baffled at first. But they were able to reply with a long drive of their own which ended in a touchdown and they could tie the game at 7-7.
But then Leuven made pretty much a copy of their first drive and scored again, so it was a fast game from both teams in the first quarter. The Diamonds would miss a field goal after good field position and for the rest of the game were unable to capitalise on any opportunities that they had.
In the second half the Lions connected on a long TD pass to end the scoring. The game was actually ended two minutes before time expired after a horrible injury to a Lions player with Leuven ahead 21-7.
For Leuven, their passing game was in good effect with WR Sakyi-Gyinae in great form, meanwhile the Diamonds got a nice effort from their rookie Jens Leemans.
Gent Gators 14 – Brussels Bulls 0
So this was the first game of the season for the reigning Flemish Champions. They started out pretty well, forcing the Gators into a four-and-out, and putting together a little drive themselves but they were unable to get into scoring position. Gent got the ball back and engineered a 12 play, 72 yard scoring drive, special mention to WR De Ruyter (4 catches, 68 yards) for hanging on to a touch catch while being blasted by two Bulls defenders. Eventually, RB Mankusa moved the pile into the endzone from 3 yards away, and then QB Killens (8/19, 106 yards, 1 td, 1 int) connected with WR Vermassen for the conversion and Gent were up 8-0.
The Bulls tried the pass and they tried the run but it just wasn’t working for them, not even managing a single first down for the rest of the half as the Gators played a smothering defense.
The second half was much of the same for the Bulls. They made a change at quarterback at one point but nothing was really helping. They made only one first down in the entire second half, and that was from a late hit penalty on a failed third down conversion.
The Gators also only really managed one good drive in the second half and it was their first, some nice passing led to a 10 yard touchdown catch by WR Lezy on fourth down, and that was all the offense that the Gators needed.
For the Gators on the other side of the ball, CB Van Cauwenberghe led the team with 5.5 tackles (3 tackles for loss), and S Jolie had 5 tackles too.
For the Bulls the busiest guy on their defense was DE #66 (4.5 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 sacks).
What I liked most about the Gators win was that they didn’t really get to play their usual aerial attack, yet they won and won well with the run and with defense. The Gators severly outgained the Bulls 209-42.
Ostend Pirates 33 – Puurs Titans 0
After predicting both games wrong a couple of weeks ago I made up for it by going 4/4 this week. But it was this game that required the most thinking, and once I saw the field I even started to think that the Pirates might struggle. Wrong!
The game started tamely enough, both teams pushing back and forward but neither really going anywhere. Near the end of the first half the Pirates got the ball at midfield and very quickly made it down to the 2 yard line, where that old connection of QB Vermaut (8/21, 125 yards, 2 td) to WR Goncharov (3 rec, 61 yards, 2 td) was good for the first score in Pirates history, a diving, toe-dragging catch along the side of the endzone. It would go from bad to worse for the Titans as the final play of the first half was ruled a fumble and #51 for the Pirates sprung on it in the endzone, and with K Laleman coverting again it was 14-0 at the half.
The second half continued in a similar vein for the Pirates, their first drive after the break was again capped by a catch by WR Goncharov, taking it out to 20-0 and the game was as good as over. And then it was completely buried after a Pirates interception and return, leaving a simple 1-yard run for WR Goncharov to score a hat-trick of touchdowns.
In the final quarter, QB Vermaut busted one up the left side for 76 yards and only a desperate diving tackle stopped him from scoring, but it didn’t last long, with the Pirates QB himself scoring from 5 yards away and that was the final score in the game.
All in all a very successful debut game for the Pirates. Their fans had plenty of entertainment, and the question now is just how good are these guys? We’ll know more after their next game, on March 23 against the Black Angels.
We also shouldn’t forget their defense who played a solid game too, standing out were DE Dossche (6 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks), LB Debaille (5.5 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks) and LB Van Hee (6 tackles, 2 tackles for loss).
For the Titans, they got good service from their rookie runningback #24 (10 rushes, 46 yards), while on defense the standouts were DE D’Hondt (6 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 3 sacks) and LB J Meersmans (8.5 tackles).
The Pirates outgained the Titans 249-139.
Players of the week
Pirates QB Benedict Vermaut. 8/21, 125 yards, 2 td, 1 int. 15 rush, 104 yards, 1 td
Gators RB Lionel Mankusa. 24 rush, 82 yards, 1 td
Titans LB Jens Meersmans. 8.5 tackles, 1 fumble recovery
Quotes of the week
“Every time Dossche hits me, I get buried about five centimetres deep in the ground”, Titans RB Nico Steenackers
C’Mon Man of the week
We sometimes call it ‘snatching defeat from the jaws of victory’. It’s when you’re just about to win, and right at the very last second, you lose. Like Pirates DB Thomas De Groote, who intercepted the Titans 60 yards away from the endzone, and looked for all the world that he was going to score, but then he tripped over a blade of grass and fell only half a yard short of the goal line as glory was in sight. C’mon man!
Play of the week
Pirates WR Indrit Kaca makes a stunning over the shoulder catch down the left sideline while being covered tightly in pretty bad conditions. Great concentration.
Stat of the week
Pirates QB Benedict Vermaut accounted for 229 yards against the Titans. That was more than the Titans and Bulls entire teams combined.
BFL week 4 preview
Next weekend the BFL bandwagon arrives in Charleroi, and again I’m going to go light on the predictions because I don’t really know the teams involved (yet). We’ve got the Wapi Phoenix (0-0) taking on the Waterloo Warriors (0-0) , and then the hometown Charleroi Coal Miners (0-1) will take on last year’s semi finalists, the Mont-Saint-Guibert Fighting Turtles (0-0). It’ll be interesting to see, because this will be the first ever LFFAB gameday that I actually attend. After these games I promise to do a better job previewing the LFFAB!
So Thursday I’ll put up the BFL Power Rankings. As far as that goes, the most important question is this – did the Gators do enough to move up to #1 or will the Tigers remain at the top?
It was good to see some familiar faces in Ostend. Until next time