Our first game against the newly promoted London Blitz B Team came late in the fixture list. This was quite an eagerly anticipated game. The Blitz B had been enjoying a winning streak over their last 3 games. Facing them at home would surely be a challenge. The thing that surprised us the most was the standard of the pitch. We were all quite concerned over player safety with the amount of pot holes and patches of deep loose soil instead of grass. Considering this is the same field the London Blitz of Premiership fame play on, we were expecting something better. But with a few handfuls of sand in the worst areas, we cracked on.
Meanwhile, not far away, the London Hornets were hosting the Essex Spartans. A quick look at how things stood in SFC1 East suggested that a win for us, and a loss for the Hornets, would pretty much guarantee a playoff berth.
The Blitz B received the ball from the kick off. But they were unable to get the first down and had to punt away. QB James Horne led his offence onto the field. We started our first drive on the 22 yard line. Jimmy began proceedings with a great run. A yellow flag was thrown for a facemask violation on the D, giving us an extra 15 precious yards. Shortly after, it was Thabiso Mpofu who drew first blood with his blistering speed around the edge for the touchdown. Kicker and WR William Browning steps up to kick and it is good. Cats 7 – Blitz B 0. The Blitz try to pass the ball, but DB Gregg Prettyjohns has his man buried in coverage. They eventually run the ball with some success. But it’s turned over on downs. Back in possession, Jimmy finds Kay Dennis through the air for 1st and 10 at midfield. But the drive grinds to a halt and Mpofu is unable to reel in the low pass on 3rd down. The Cats punt the ball away. The Blitz B resume possession on their 12 yard line. The Blitz B are still trying to find their way through the air. However, DB Maleek Addae has other plans. Maleek has his man covered and rises like a salmon to pluck the pass out of the air. Jimmy has the ball back on the Blitz B 14 yard line. He finds Mpofu again, this time with a pass over the middle. The PAT is no good this time. Cats 13 – Blitz B 0. The Blitz B start their drive with renewed vigour and plough through the middle with some very hard running. Consecutive penalties on the Cats D compounds this, and they find the end-zone for a rushing touchdown. They go for the 2 points but it’s no good. Cats 13 – Blitz B 6.
We start the second quarter with the ball on our 35 yard line at 2nd and 10. Jimmy seems to be in a rhythm. But this is cut short with an intercepted long pass to WR Ben Bingham. The Blitz B seem set to continue their running game. However, the QB fumbles the ball and LB Dan Smith is in there like a flash to recover the ball. Only a handful of plays later, Kay runs the ball into the end-zone to add to the tally. Will makes the kick. Cats 20 – Blitz B 6. The Blitz B Offence go back to work. But they don’t have the same success as before and turnover the ball on downs. The Cats Defence are really giving nothing away. RB Mark Womble takes the hand off at the Cats 40 yard line and gets a 1st down. RB Andy Evans is putting in a shift too. But the drive fizzles out and we are forced to punt again. The ball sails out of bounds at the Blitz B 25 yard line. The Blitz B are finding their feet again with more solid running through the middle. Despite having at least 2 players on him, this RB seems to be able to still move forward. Deep in the Cats territory, the Blitz B QB tries his arm, but Dan Smith is there once again. This time Dan gets airborne and intercepts the ball with only 14 seconds left in the half.
We receive the ball and Maleek gets a massive 35 yard return this time. It’s now 1st and 10 on the Cats 49 yard line. Womble gets another 1st down. But the play is brought back for a holding call. With not much else doing, the Cats go for it on 4th down. But the pass is incomplete. Turnover on downs. The Blitz B QB decides to tuck the ball and run to the left. He sets his team up with fantastic field position, in the Cats red-zone. The Blitz B get their battering ram of an RB into position and throw him time and time again into an impenetrable Cats Defence. DB Tom Mann and LB Jonny Hodgson clearing up whatever the D-line miss. It’s a turnover on downs on the Cats 1 yard line. The drive begins well, but the ball is fumbled in the exchange between Jimmy and Andy Evans. The Blitz B take possession on our 19 yard line. But again our Defence hold firm and the Blitz B just cannot find the end-zone. It’s another turnover on downs on our 12 yard line. Womble gets to work with back to back first downs. It’s not long until we are on the Blitz B 26 yard line. In the last play of the quarter, Jimmy finds Mpofu who scrambles his way to the Blitz B 2 yard line.
Following a slow walk from one end of the field to the other in the hot sun, Jimmy tucks and runs the ball for the last 2 yard into the end-zone. The PAT is good Cats 27 – Blitz B 6. With the addition of penalty yards, this drive went for 99.5 yards! The Blitz B look down but not out. Our D holds them to another punt. But Maleek times his jump late and the ball slips through his fingers. It’s recovered by one of the 5 Blitz B players surrounding him, giving them possession on our 39 yard line. Shortly after the Blitz B QB finds an open receiver in the corner of the end-zone. They go for 2 points, and it’s good this time with a passing play. Cats 27 – Blitz B 14 with 10:30 remaining in the game. Maleek quickly redeems himself with another amazing return. This time, he manages to get the ball back for a 54 yard return. Womble is able to carry the ball ever closer to the end-zone. Jimmy decides to tuck and run again from the 2 yard line to get his second touchdown of the day. The PAT is good. Cats 34 – Blitz B 14. Blitz B offence are certainly looking tired. They are unable to get a first down and punt the ball away. But the Cats offence aren’t able to get traction either and it’s another punt. The ball is on the Blitz B 25 yard line with 2:20 left in the game. Blitz B are able to find another gear and this time they cap off their drive with a passing touchdown. They go for 2 points again, and it’s good. Cats 34 – Blitz B 22. The Blitz B try the onside kick. But the ball bounces out of bounds before it can go the necessary 10 yards forward. It’s Cats ball on the Blitz B 45 yard line. With seconds left on the clock, Jimmy is told to kneel the ball for the win.
Your game MVPs are:
Offensive MVP: Thabiso Mpofu
Defensive MVP: Crig Pike
Special Teams MVP: Mark Womble
Game MVP: Dan Smith