Preseason Blastoff

This weekend we will be kicking off our Twentieth Blitz season. Twenty sessions, ten years; can you believe it? Time flies am I right? Some of you have been around since 2012 while others have just joined the experience a few short years ago.

When we first started we had six teams. Four free agent teams and two teams of buddies who wanted to hit other people. We allowed a loose interpretation of tackling because we wanted to make it as close to real football as possible while keeping the “flag” concept still in tact. You could stiff arm whenever a defender came close. You could lower your shoulder and blow up the defender. The rusher could plow over the Offensive Lineman if he wished. Crazy times and some tough warriors we had back then.

We’ve come a long way since those early years. Tackling is now an unsportsmanlike conduct, stiff arming now must be between the collar bone and waist. And most importantly, on offense and defense you cannot initiate contact in any manner without trying to get out of the way.

So to nowthe pandemic took a toll on our goals for the beginning of the 2020 decade but we’re finally starting to get back on track a bit. Just last spring at this time, we had a record twenty-four teams registered and we were ready for an explosion of athleticism and gamesmanship. However, plans change everyday and that’s part of life, but all that matters now is that we’re back on track and ready to take this to the next level once again.

Now… let’s get to this weekend and what’s going on.

First and foremost, New Hampshire did lift the mandatory mask mandate, however Nashua did not (see article linked to here). I know this pains most of us, but we are required to technically have a facemask when playing. Mind you, we’re not gonna be crazy sticklers about it, but please have a mask on your person to respect the law and your fellow Blitzers on the field who may or may not care or believe in their effectiveness.

Nightmare will take on Raw Talent in the first game of the season. Nothing like a nice and early 7:55 am game to get the new season jitters out of the way. Nightmare we expect whole heartedly to be better this session. Last season they had a really tough schedule and they still were able to battle in just about every game. They had Flagnado, the Raiders, Scoregasms and the eventual champions, ROD on their schedule…yikes. The Nightmare battled tough though. They elongated drives on offense and made teams use all of their downs on defense and they didn’t give up many big plays. Returning is defensive player of the year finalist, Nick Santana who put up insane numbers at safety last season as a rookie. Also back is a healthy Martin Beccerril and Trevor Lassard to add to the weapons of sophomore quarterback Dillon Laplante. The Nightmare lost Gunner to Rampage but they added speedster Nguyen Nguyen to try to replicate his production.

Raw Talent is back after a full year off to get healthy and retrieve some of their studs who previously had conflictions with work. Dumb work, always getting in the way of championships. The team previously known as “New Wave” is no longer new since they have a pretty good resume of seasons past so instead we are going to see their pure and raw talent. Returning are the corner stones of this franchise. Devon Collier and Sam Gilot are back with their squad and ready to make a statement. Harmel is back. JJ Lopez is back and so is the Ghost, Nate Guillermo. They made a few big additions in the free agency, signing Ivan Quijano away from the Nightmare and bringing in Chris Quijano as well. One of the oddest and most underrated signings in all of the league this year though, is the addition of Pierre Noel. Who you may be thinking? Well, Pierre played way back in the day when we had tackling and velcro flags. In his one season he hauled in 26 receptions and a TD for a free agent squad off the street. Expect big things from the new look new wave known as Raw Talent.

In this matchup, I predict a close game with a lot of early season mistakes. Maybe a few interceptions and bull rushing penalties (Sam). The Nightmare hasn’t seen Raw Talent before and heck, we really haven’t either but with a 7:55 start time it’ll be tough to gauge any kind of true victory because no one likes waking up and playing that early. It’s going to be more or less a pick em game with the home team getting 2 points thanks to the crowd noise.

The second game is a classic matchup of original six squads. Flagnado looks exactly the same as a year ago just a year older; and we all know that means a lot for the already oldest average team in the league. Tyler Humphrey, who put the league on notice last year is back trying to regain his MVP form from last session. The award he missed out on last year by two measly votes while still wrangling in Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the year. Don’t forget about Old Man Brown who no matter how many seasons he’s played, he still keeps running by everyone on the field. This Flagnado offense led by Timmy Michelini and his center, who just so happens to be his brother, Jason looks poised to pick up where they left off last season when they lost by just a score in the semifinals.

The Scoregasms much like their opponent, are also returning the same roster as the fall. The Tripodi brothers are back and healthy, until they collide into a brick wall going all out for a loose ball. Rookie of the Year runner-up, JT Harold is also back ready to improve on his already outstanding rookie numbers rushing the quarterback making them real scurred on every single drop back.

This is what we call a coinflip game. The rivalry of these two teams dates back to 2014 and they have been flip flopping wins and losses just about every matchup. Flagnado won the last one in the Fall and the Scoregasms got the one before that, so we’re gonna go with Scoregasms by six on opening day.

What some is touting as the Game of the Week, The Rampage and Vikings square off in the third game of the day. The Rampage, last season in their first official full year, led the league in every offensive category. Quarterback Junior Teixeira loaded up his arsenal once again with reigning league MVP, Andrew Duval and MVP on any other squad, Carter Cormier at wideout. Their defense lost Sam Gilot and Devon Collier but they tried their best to replace them with a plethora of options. ROD, personal center Michael Vinagro and extreme throwback stud, Dave Caponigro come in thirsty for a long Rampage playoff run.

The Vikings might be back back for reals after a horrendous start to the decade. Rumor has it, four time Blitz Champion Jake Forsaith is coming out of retirement to sling the rock for the Vikings. They’ve also pried super stud wideout, Garrett Nelson away from the Battletoads to take the double teams away from Nate Moss and Anthony Williams. Opposite Nelson, will be track star Dave Brown who’s contract expired with the Tigers and is on a one year prove it deal with the purple and gold. And lastly, the biggest addition is former MVP, AJ Labrecque. If healthy, he will give that Vikings offensive line and Tight End slot a boost that was lacking last season when Nate was at quarterback.

Rampage is on the road and the Vikings are at home, but this is gonna be a lot closer than the spread predicts. Junior will be slinging the ball all over the field, while the Vikings D is going to do their best to try to keep up with them. But if Jake is back or even if the interchangeable Steve Tambo is throwing, it’ll be tough to get ahead of this healthy Vikings offense. Vikings have experience but are also plagued with last years record and rust still stuck to them. We predict Rampage takes a lead under two minutes and wins by three.

Battletoads, Raiders, fourth game. Let’s start with the home team Raiders this time around. The Raiders pretty much swept the awards last season winning four of the major seven. They were one play away from their first franchise finals appearance last season and they won’t let me forget it. MVP Hopeful, Mike Howe has been training in the trenches Rocky style to get his team back on top. They’ve lost their quarterback of the year in Sam Bonney-Liles and that could hurt them but they have made other big additions to fill the void. Anthony Georgopoulous and Briand Pacheco signed big money off season deals to play with this squad so you know they’re amped to ready to go. Offensive Player of the year, David Baldwin is poised for another breakout season with the human cheat code, George Notini on the other side at wide reciever. Watch out for Britton Doyle who set a record for dirtiest amount of stiff arms given last season. And lastly, the sleeper, Jack Mahoney. He had an impressive 2:1 reception to touchdown ratio last season and would’ve had more if he was around more often. Raiders coming in hot from the top rope this season, watch out.

As far as the Toads go, it’ll be more of the same. They will lull you into a false sense of security with their on field antics, but then when you look at the scoreboard, they’re right there with ya. Sure they lost one of the best big men wide receivers in the league, but they brought back slot man extraordinaire, Josh Briand. And of course, let’s not foreget they are bringing back Blitz future hall of famer, Nick Kepka Calvetti. There’s been some water cooler talk this offseason that the iron hamster, Ben Glassman has been in the gym with Ben Phelps improving his strength and meme game. If it’s true, we will see if it translates to more outstanding endzone grabs or if it’s not, it may translate to more sexy javelin pics. Either way, win win situation.

The Raiders aint messing around in their home opener, they’re putting the league on notice and looking to secure that bag. The Toads will be sneaky and make it a close one, but the Raiders will most likely prevail and win this one by a touchdown or two.

Next up on the docket, is the actual game of the week. Half of the defending champions (ROD) minus the R and plus the L for Legion, is back looking fresh to take on the team they defeated in the championship game last fall. Legion of Doom has always been a tough regular season squad and now will be even tougher now that they know what it feels like to win. Jay Smooth is back and we all know what he can do; everything. Mr. Humble, Jamaal Woods is a legendary lockdown corner and he’ll be patrolling the entire right side of the field on D. And lastly, Kiel Canada is back baby… so we’ve been told. Is the infamous “dadbod” ready to regain his MVP form and put the LOD back into the championship game? Who knows, perhaps we will know more when we know who else is gonna show up each week for this ultra deep deep roster.

As far as the Bridesmaid and never the Bride known as Shake n’ Bake, they are the baked potatoes at Wendy’s… loaded once again. Dane Schindler went into Total Recall this offseason to try and wipe out the championship losses of season’s past. John McCarthy, who is the sneakiest quickest bad boy on grass, is amped and ready to explode. Jason Grace Island is still closed for tourists and Chris Rocker is the fine wine of the Blitz field, just getting better with age. Of course who could forget, there were last years stud additions who now have a year under their belt to really set themselves apart from the game. Sportscenter frequenter, Patrick Bradenise along side with skywalker Eric Williams will make Shake n’ Bake a problem team to game plan against.

LOD on paper might win this game, but games aren’t played on paper anymore. They got a taste of victory last season and don’t want to give that up but it’s opening day and they will most likely have the championship hangover. Shake n’ Bake is sick of losing to the same teams every session, so I predict this will finally be the one. The one game that they can win and feel good about. The home team will win somewhat convincingly, as they will jump out to a huge lead, then slowly blow it enough to let LOD get back into it. Then finally put them away with a sick Austin Williams catch in the endzone.

After a couple of intense games, we’re gonna scale it back to a nice and chill matchup of B squads. The Shotgunnaz will take on Take Over in their first franchise game at their new stadium. The Shotgunnaz are a year older and have an onslaught of guys that are poised for breakout seasons. David Hamilton, who came on the scene two calendar years ago just keeps improving. He will catch anything thrown in his direction and with his brothers lining up next to him, it’ll make for a lethal combination for the Shotgunnaz offense. They lost Kevin Langevin to a bitter contract holdout, but they did resign old faithful, Andre Rioux who should help the depth. Newcomer, Jake Nardone might give this B squad the shot in the leg they’ve been looking for. Tyler Hartt is officially signed his one year tender and the Shotgunnaz are looking to make some noise and get called up to the big boy league.

Take Over is led by former bad boy, Garrett Barry. He went from roster to roster trying to find a place where he fit in just right, but has now landed in the right spot; the captain of a rookie franchise loaded with ballers. We know a lot of these guys as role players on Reign and Insanity but now they are looking to make the jump as impact difference makers. With rookies Jeremy Beland, Don Wright, George Vasconcellos, Greg Scott and Xavier Vinnie, this team is the youngest squad in the league (based on seasons played) and it could be a blessing in disguise as young teams tend to thrive early on in their careers.

With Bernazzani throwing for the Shotgunnaz on opening day and Jordan Martin rolling out of center, it’ll be a tough assignment for Take Over rusher, Ben Stewart to try to contain all by himself. The Shotgunnaz will hand the rookie squad their first franchise L on opening day by 12. It’s good to get it out of the way nice and early. Only way to go is up.

The second to last game of the day, features another rookie team, The Spartans face off against America’s Children. A team that has been playing in the league so long that we’re not really sure they can be called children anymore. Let’s start with what we know. The Spartans are a team. They have their own Instagram page. Their captain is Aiden Hatt and he’s been pumped to roll his squad into blitz for quite some time. Rampage captain Junior Teixeira wants him bad. Not in that way weirdos, but to show him who the real king of Goffstown is. In Sparta, the young children were trained to be soldiers from birth. Unlike other children in Athens, they didn’t study things like art and philosphy, they studied…War. If this Spartans team is anything like their namesake, they could be the first rookie team since the Raiders to win the Bees and get promoted to the A’s.

America’s Children would be everyone’s favorite team if it weren’t for the Toads. They are the Toads 2.0. They are fun, they are good at football and they ball out while saying sorry for getting in your way. The difference between them and the Toads…their meme game. America’s Children shows up and makes you a meme instead. With the world class flag pulling of Darrin Standish and go go gadget phalanges of Tom Scalley, America’s Children brings back the core that has taken them to the very end of the B’s each season. This year they bring back a pair of key free agent acquisitions. Firecracker, David Labonte and the shifty athletic vet, Howie Dessureault. And last but very not least, quarterback Patrick O’Donnell is healthy and healed up after a rough couple of knee injured plagues seasons. Beware B’s, the Children are now men.

This will surprisingly be a good game believe it or not. America’s Children has hung with the Scoregasms, Vikings and even Rage’s of the world, but they at times find themselves losing to far less inferior teams. The Children like to play to their competition and I think the trend will continue in this one. The Spartans will most likely have a lot of rookie mistakes and a few mulligans here and there but that will translate to America’s Children doing the same. Alas they will prevail by a score or two but it won’t be as easy as they expect it to be.

The finale of opening week features the Tribe and the Phantoms. There’s a nasty rumor that the Tribe is sandbagging the league in their inaugural season with an abnormally small roster and tempered expectations. What we have heard by the office water cooler is that the Tribe is for real and they will make some big time noise in the B’s this session. They have a roster that consists of athletes that have played around New England so they aren’t any strangers to the world of competitive flag pulling. The Tribe clan aint nothing to eff with, so what we’ve heard.

As far as the Phantoms go; they really got the ball rolling at the end of last session. They’re returning all of their starters minus big man Jay Davis, but the Muzzy boys can slide right into his role. With the Vinegar Strokes taking a session off, the Phantoms made a big free agent signing in wide receiver, Chad Crockett to work the middle of the field. Big Tight End, Omar Graciano is back from injury looking to pick up where he left off two seasons ago. And finally, late round draft pick Dakota Lurvey who scouts say could be the next Rob Keddie. The Phantoms won two of their last four regular season games so they finally got momentum in their favor.

In what could be an absolute shootout of backyard style football, the Tribe is going to show the world that they are ready for the Blitz experience. The Phantoms are notorious for capitalizing off of other teams mistakes, but at times find it difficult to execute when the other team plays flawless. The Tribe won’t play flawless here as it will be their first game but it’s a great matchup for them to adjust to a new set of rules and gameplay. The main prediction here is that the Phantoms will start their season undefeated but it won’t be easy. Tribe loses opening day but not many more after that.

So this is opening day in a nutshell. A very big walnut sized nutshell. It’s a lot to unpack all at once but it was fun to read and or listen to. If you didn’t hear your name it’s because we hate you, so get better… now. Kidding obviously. We’re saving something to talk about for the next episode episode episode. Hold up. Hey.

If you read this whole thing… congratulations, we salute you; that’s real commitment and you’re a real one. However, we’re concerned for your safety because your legs are probably asleep after sitting on the toilet for so long. Call for medical help as the seat may have absorbed your behind. If you listened to this as our first real podcast, we apologize and we hope you survived our sloppy not so fine tuned entrance to the world of podcasting.

Either way, we appreciate you. Remember to press the subscribe button on wherever you get your podcasts from. Please enjoy the satirical, semiempirical, statistical analysis of every game, each week. Check the website for the Vegas Rankings on Mondays. The individual game updates like box scores and stats on Tuesdays. Blitzen’s Horns on Wednesdays, Flagcasts on Thursdays. And lastly, this week’s favorite photos on Fridays on Insta and album photodump on facebook.

Thanks for listening. ‘Til next week.. goodluck and godspeed.

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