It’s finally here! The long wait is behind us and Spring Session of Blitz finally kicked off this past weekend. The birds were chirping, the flowers were blooming and the snow was…on the ground? Yes the winter was still here and it played a factor into the several of the weekend games. High winds, cold balls and slippery grass all contributed to this playoff like atmosphere on week one.
The season started off with a conference final rematch from the fall as the Vikings took on the Punishers. The first catch of the season award goes to the reigning rookie of the year, Chris Rocker. He caught the first catch on a nice slant for 15 yards to get the season started. Angel Rivera then caught a little dump off and stiff armed his way 40 yards up the sideline for the first score of the season. The Vikings offense then took over for their first time. The long and much anticipated return of Anwar Clark got the Vikings on the board. Clark scored a TD on his third catch of the drive to put the Vikes up by a point. The Punishers answered in the form of JMac. The Old Spice Swagger player of the year, caught a pea from QB Dane Schindler on a post route to take back the lead. It wasn’t until the 2 minute warning was looming that Nate Forsaith caught his first TD of the season to put the Vikings up. But don’t count the Punishers out so fast; Austin Williams tapped his toes in the endzone with 65 seconds left to go up by 7. With all their timeouts in their pocket and the sideline in their playbook, the Vikings were able to get the ball downfield to Dez Manning in the back of the endzone with 13 ticks left on the clock. This game at the half, was just as it started…tied up. The second half started with Kevin Langevin catching a bomb up the sideline to take the lead back. JMac of the Punishers struck again in the same fashion, using all 60 yards of the field to work his magic. The Vikings finally put this one of reach with 7 minutes and change left on the clock. Dez scored his second and final TD of the game for the nail in the coffin for the Punishers. The Vikings got another pair of garbage time touchdowns to make this one look more of blowout than it was. Vikings win on opening day, 45-26.
The BGOW (blitz game of the week), took place across the field as the league’s former most hated team, the Rage; took on the current most hated team, the Athletes. This was a battle of juggernauts from the get go. Neither team could get anything going on offense as both defense’s were stout and on point. Former league MVP, Rob Keddie was the star of the fist half hauling in 2 touchdowns for the Rage to go up by 12 in the middle of the half. The Athletes got it close several times but just weren’t able to punch it in in the red zone. It wasn’t until 1 min and 45 seconds left that the Athletes got on the board. QB Matt Bailey pitched the ball back to Dee Jennings who then connected with Bailey on a wheel route for the TD. They got their extra point and went into the lockerroom down by 5. The Rage went completely flat in the second half as the Athletes stunned their explosive offense. The Bailey and Jennings connection stayed strong in the second half. Bailey connected this time with Jennings for the TD to put them up 13-12 with 13 minutes left in the frame. That’s how it would stay as the Rage got the rock to the goalline in the final moments but weren’t able to punch the ball in for the victory. Hatred is good for storylines and news articles but at the end of the day, no one really hates anyone, except the refs. The Athletes win their inaugural game 13-12.
At 9am another nail-biter was going down as the new look Blue Balls of Doom took on the Battletoads. Reigning Offensive Player of the year, Kiel Canada broke the goose eggs with his first TD of the season from the 5 yard line. Shortly after that, Josh Edelman Briand, punched in a TD to tie it up at 6’s heading into the half. After the break, the Blue Balls scored again this time by way of turnover. Dave Martel caught himself an INT and then caught a TD three plays later from Jordan Miranda. The Blue Balls were up 6 points with 1 minute left and the Battletoads were driving. Briand who racked up catch after catch in this one, tallied his 2nd TD of the game with 5 ticks left on the clock to send this one into overtime. In overtime Martel took over. He snagged 3 balls and the game-winner as the Blue Balls of Doom leap over the Toads in overtime, 18-12.
The 9:30 game lacked the thespian arts of its predecessors as the rookie squad, Vinegar Strokes went on the road to face the Dream Killers. The home team got the games’ first score as rookie rusher, Jason Posnick swam past the o-line to record a sack in the endzone to put Dream Killers up 2 quick points. On the Vinegar Strokes ensuing drive, their Captain/GM Al Macdougal caught a screen at their own 2 yard line. After stopping to process the situation, he realized there wasn’t a man within 10 yards of him, so he scampered down the field for his first career touchdown. The Vinegar Strokes wouldn’t look back. Austin Ogiba and Mike Kelly added TD’s while Macdougal bookended the day with one more. The Vinegar Strokes earn their first franchise victory, 26-2.
Young Dynasty and America’s Children squared off in a battle of veteran teams. Murica’s Tom Scalley picked up right where he left off last season. Scalley caught 5 balls for 100+ yards and two TD’s. The Young Dynasty offense was stifled by the stingy D of the Children. Ross Pepin led the team with 8 qb hurries and a sack to boot. Darrin Standish caught his first INT of the season to pair with John Mattera and his first pick and pick six. Despite Tyler Baker’s best efforts for Young Dynasty (11 receptions, 105 yards, 1 TD), America’s Children was just too much. Last season’s B runners-up fall in their season opener, 33-18.
Much like good cheese, a rivalry takes some time to mature. Some rivalries exist but are not able to fully materialize. It is much like the rivalry between the Tigers and Flagnado. For all of 2015 these two teams duked it out in back and forth battles but have yet to meet up since…until week one of 2018 (insert intense cymbals and drum music). Flagnado struck first as Bill Savary caught a 50 yard pass down the middle for a touchdown and the lead. Dylan Humphrey then picked off the Tigers to set up a Jake Tinirella TD for Flagnado. The Tigers would later cut into the lead right before half as Dave Brown caught a leaping TD in the front of the endzone. The second half was a strong defensive battle as Humphrey would pick off another pass and Tigers rusher, Paul Donahue racked up the qb pressures to go along with a sack. Neither team could get any points in the second half as the defenses dominated. Flagnado hangs on and wins a big divisional matchup, 13-6.
At 11:05 a pair of apprentice soldiers battled on the sod, as Instinct took on the Tune Squad. This was a back and forth battle in the first half. Tune Squad went up 18-13 thanks in part to rookie QB Derek Stella. Stella threw a pair of TD’s to Alex Golden and one to Larry Dirocco. Joe Page for Instinct put in work as well. He tossed a pair of TD’s for 197 yards to pull his team within 5 at the break. The second half, Stella and his Tune Squad broke it wide open. Damon Wilson hauled in a pair of TD’s to go along with a pick six on the defensive side of the ball. Instinct plays well, but Tune Squad got the best of them on this day. Tune Squad wins, 42-25.
The high noon showdown saw Illmatic welcome the Reapers to the league in a divisional matchup. The Reapers came to play for reals as they jumped to a 31 point lead in the first half. DJ Ramos caught a bomb from Cleatus for his first TD. Danny Connolly then forced a fumble. Cleatus then connected with One Eye Wilson for a 1 yard shovel pass. Danny Connolly then forced another fumble. Keko then caught his first TD wearing Reapers blue. Danny Connolly; no he didn’t force a fumble but DJ Ramos took over. He caught three straight TD’s to complete the route. On a plus side for Illmatic; their defense firmed up a bit in the second half only allowing one Ramos TD. The Reapers win their baptism game, 37-2.
In a game that was a whole closer than it appeared, the new look Goonies went on the road to take on the Scoregasms. Center, Zack Carter who led his team in receptions and targets found paydirt first for the Scoregasms from the 3 yard line. The Goonies QB Jimmy Lauzon then answered back quickly. He found Mike Psapia who wiggled his hips and tiptoed into the endzone to take the lead. Lauzon then found Tech who tapped his toes on the side line of the endzone for the score. Then the nicest Goonie and hardest working man in gray, Will Washington caught his first TD of the season in the back of the endzone. Goonies went up big, but then Carter scored again right before the half to pull within striking distance. Out of the locker room, Washington caught a pass over the middle and stuck his arm in some chests as he rumbled to the endzone for the score. Then controversy struck. Ian Abrahamsom caught a quick out for the Scoregasms, then took a shove to the sideline and kept on going. Thanks to a crowded sideline and a TV blackout due to poor ticket sales, the call could not be neither confirmed nor reversed. Scoregasms win the benefit of the doubt and pull within 7. The Goonies QB then ate the clock and scrambled into the endzone for the game-winner. The Scoregasms got a big boy TD late from James Smith but it was little too late. Lauzon rushes for a TD and throws for 4 as the Goonies down the Scoregasms, 32-25.
The finale of the day saw New Wave go on the road to take on Beast Mode in their home stadium. After a Beast Mode safety sack in the their second drive, New Wave went on a run. Devon Collier started slinging all over the field. First he connected with Harmel, then Dylan Pelletier and lastly JJ Lopez via diving circus catch. Despite Beast Modes best efforts, they stood no chance against the young and fast defense of the Wave. The winners racked up 4 INTs led by Nathan Guillermo’s 2. New Wave crashes down on the Beast Mode’s home opener, 20-2.