May first. Week Two. Spring 2021. Varsity session. It rained all week prior, but we had a nice eight hour window of dry weather and dry field to get some nice clean games in.

America’s Children kicked off the day on the road against the New England Nightmare. It’s been a rocky start for the Nightmare thus far as they have been in control of each of their first two games but haven’t been able to hold on to the lead. It took a few drives for this game to get going as the first half was riddled with fourth down punt interceptions. On their third possession of the game, America’s Children finally got on the scoreboard. Andy Geffard picked off a Nightmare pass and set his team up inside of the opposing fifteen. Two plays later, Geffard curled inside the pylon and secured a rocket from Patrick O’Donnell for the TD. The Nightmare would not be outdone. On their ensuing possession, Dillon LaPlante connected with Martin Beccerril who was slanting over the 30 with his jeans who then scorched up the sideline for the equalizer. After trading interceptions out of the locker room, LaPlante found Felix Torres wide open in the back of the endzone to take the lead. A lead that was held until the final minute of the game. With kill clock mode enabled, the Nightmare weren’t able to advance the ball and that pesky rookie, Andy Geffard struck again. He picked off an arrant pass, then took it into the endzone to tie up. But wait…his flags were facing the sky and it suspiciously got called back to where he caught it at midfield. O’Donnell, not happy took his anger out on the Nightmare’s defense. On the very next play he lofted a jump ball towards Geffard who leapt above the goalposts and skyscrapers to haul it in for the score. Game tied, ball don’t lie. Finally, the forgotten former number one, Tom Scalley was a man left all alone when O’Donnell fired it in his direction to convert the extra point and send Nightmare back to the locker-room with an el. America’s Children pulls off an improbable comeback and wins 13-12.

A deep playoff preview saw Rampage take on the Raiders at home. Rampage got on the board first, after a bang bang 50/50 pass interference call that would set the tone (literally) for the rest of the game. QB Junior Teixeira aired one out deep to Carter Cormier who drew the PI to set up a Michael Vinagro strong arm stiff arm touchdown. After a turnover on downs and a face guarding penalty, Teixiera shoveled a little three yard pass to a dragging Cormier to go up 13. The Raiders would not be shut down that quickly. Quarterback Mike Howe, did his best Patrick Mahomes impression dancing and shifting his way out of defenders reach until he connected with captain Patrick Nelson for a touchdown. The Rampage offense couldn’t be slowed down, yet. Reigning MVP, Andrew Duval hauled in a short slant underneath for another score with a minute forty left to play in the first half. Howe and his offense responded again to keep this one close. He slung a laser to the rookie Brian Pacheco in the corner of the endzone as the clock expired to pull within seven at the break. Duval then struck again, this time on defense. He picked off a miscommunication pass by the Raiders and darted his way to the endzone for a pick six. Rampage D stayed hot, forcing another turnover on downs to set up yet another score. Teixeira threw up a jump ball from the eight yard line to Vinagro who hauled it in for his second touchdown of the day for a commanding lead. With the clock winding down and tempers winding high, Howe rallied one last time but too little too late. He hit Pacheco again crossing over the middle who snuck his way over the goal line for the final score of the game. The Rampage win going away, 32-20.

The Blitz Game of the Week took place next between Flagnado and the Battletoads. It was a sloppy one to start on offense for both sides as defense was the name of the game. Sacks and relentless pass rushes by both teams kept both offenses at bay. It wasn’t until Flagnado’s Tyler Humphrey found paydirt for the first time this season to break the zeros. Jason Michelini sacked the Toads on two straight plays to get the ball back on offense. Just as usual, when a guy makes a big play on D, he gets rewarded on O. Jason Michelini caught a fireball from his quarterback brother, Timmy to go up by 13. The Toads showed they had a little life in them still. On their final drive of the first half, Pete Coats caught a touchdown from the five yard line to go into the break down by seven. The second half featured four down turnovers after four down turnovers. Fast forward to two minutes left on the clock and Flagnado with possession. They can run the ball to kill the clock with their slim seven point lead, but the Toads won’t let them. After two quick incompletions to burn a total of six seconds off the clock, they went for the homerun ball two plays in a row to ice it. Both were incomplete and they turned the ball over with 53 seconds left on the clock. The Battletoads then went on the offense and Flagnado sat back in the prevent defense. The prevent defense as we all know prevents you from actually winning. Pete Coats then caught a little slant over the middle, stiff armed his way to the sideline and sprinted his way into the endzone to tie up. This game is now heading for overtime. In the new college format overtime rules, Flagnado elected to defer giving the Battletoads the ball at the ten for a two point conversion try. As momentum would tell us, the Toads converted and Flagnado could not on their opportunity. The Battletoads comeback in miraculous fashion to win at home in the swamp, 13-12.

After that thrilling ending, Rampage took the field against Legion of Doom. Rampage, who had a game under their belts already today came out firing hot. Junior Teixiera connected with Andrew Duval on the opening drive to go up six quickly. After two quick punts by both sides, Teixiera was back again. This time hooking up with James Tanguay on an end around reverse from Duval. Rampage goes up by twelve in the first half and pitches a shutout on defense. LOD was playing shorthanded in this one but their D was stout and on point in the second. On their first drive, QB Kiel Canada fastened a bullet in the way of Vinny Frasco who dove over the pylon for the body sacrificing touchdown. Both defenses tightened up and wouldn’t allow a point from there on out. Frasco would force a fumble and Duval and Tanguay would both add interceptions to their highlight reel games. Rampage comes out hot and survives an LOD stinker on offense, 12-6.

With a docket full of super close and intense games, it’s bound to tail off eventually; and the Vikings and Shake n’Bake game was just that. Jason Grace took the Shake n’ Bake mode of operandi in the form of a short shovel pass from Dane Schindler inside the five to go up six right away. After messing around for awhile before getting back on track, Grace struck once again with two minutes left. The former rookie of the year, took a reverse from Schindler to only get trapped in the backfield. He eluded a pass rush and threw a missile to Austin Williams in the endzone for the touchdown. RJ Gagnon was the bright spot for the Vikings. He picked off a Shake n’Bake pass as the clock expired in the first half and almost made it into the endzone before getting pulled down. Gagnon led the team in receptions on this day but it was Matt Arpin who caught the lone score for the Vikings. The second half was an onslaught of domination by Shake n’Bake. Dave Martel returned the Vikings extra point for two, then on their possession, Austin caught another touchdown and extra point to recapture their two TD lead. Chris Rocker finished the job for the victors with his singular reception going for a 40 yard bomb touchdown to close it out. Vikings lose a lot more than just the game in this one as their quarterback suffers a season ending injury. Shake n’ Bake gets back in the win column, 28-6.

The Phantoms visited the Shotgunnaz at 11:40 and this one was a lot more fun than the score reads. Both teams came out firing. Cory White got it kicked off with a quick pitch TD from the two yard line on his second attempt. Then Brendan Bernazzani slung a fourth down tip ball into the hands of Jordan Martin to tie it up. The Shotgunnaz would force a turnover on downs that led to a David Hamilton sixty yard bomb to take the lead. The Phantoms responded instantly with a touchdown of their own just two plays later. Rookie Dakota Lurvey, caught a short little dump pass then was off to the races as the clock reached zeros. Both teams tied up at 12 at the half. Andre Rioux played hero on the first drive for the Shotgunnaz. He took three handoffs and totaled 48 yards on the ground to set up a leaping Steve Riley grab to capture the lead back. Advance to the two minute warning and the Shotgunnaz driving. They marched the ball all the way up to the five yard line when Bernazzani overthrew his receiver but lucky for him, he was throwing to OBJ. Jordan Martin went skyward with one arm to corral the touchdown to go up 12. The Phantoms would answer immediately. John Freese hooked up with Chad Crockett over the middle on a wide open deep slant. He scampered into the endzone to pull within six points. With only 33 ticks left on the clock, they decided to use their one shot money ball. Freese dropped back and lofted a prayer towards the goalline. Amidst the sea of defenders, Omar Graciano got a hand on it but not enough to secure the catch. The Shotgunnaz would throw a garbage time TD to Martin again instead of kneeling it out to end it. Phantoms came all the way back but the clock struck midnight a little too soon as they fall 30-18.

Raw Talent took on the Spartans in the first leg of their doubleheader. As far as blowouts go, this was still a game with about ten minutes left in the first half; after that it was all Raw Talent. The way of the world is living with the shovel pass inside of the five yard line now and Raw Talent worked that into their playbook to start the day off. Devon Collier flicked it to a passing by Nate Guillermo for a go ahead score. After the Spartans fizzled out on offense on their ensuing possession, Guillermo slashed the hearts of the Spartans with a quick dip from the 20 to go ahead by two scores. The Spartans finally responded by way of Aiden Hatt taking a handoff up the sideline uncontested for his first career rushing touchdown to pull within six. The comeback didn’t have many legs cause Collier showed up his running skills and did the same for his squad. Rushing for 35 yards for a ground and pound TD. Raw Talent wouldn’t look back from that point on. They shut down the Spartans offense and kept pouring it on every chance they had on O. A Dylan Boucher touchdown was sandwiched between a pair of JJ Lopez pick sixes in the second half. Raw Talent wins going away, 39-6.

Too soon for MVP chants? This guy thinks not.

To close out the day, Raw Talent looked to keep their momentum going in a battle with Take Over. Normally this game would’ve looked different but a shorthanded Take Over team was no match for a hyped and pumped up Raw Talent squad. JJ Lopez stayed red hot right outta the gate scoring on a “three guys missed my flags” touchdown. Take Over would counter. Jose Rivera pitched the ball back to Garrett Barry who fooled ’em all when he faked the run and aired it out to rookie stud receiver, Jeremy Beland to knot it up at seven a piece. It didn’t take long for Lopez to answer right back on a whirling dervish of a touchdown. Not to be outdone by yet another Beland bomb hauling for the equalizer. Raw Talent still had momentum but they had yet to unleash their secret weapon, Nkongolo Harmel. Collier finally decided to look his way as he cleared the field and dashed to his first touchdown since 2019. Now we all know what happens when you pop your cherry…you keep it fresh and popping 100 from there on out. Harmel did just that. He hauled in two more circus like touchdowns and added a sack to his total for the day. Raw Talent puts up impressive numbers in both outings as they take down take over, 40-13.

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