London Blitz mark return home with nail-biting win over arch rivals.
On a sunny spring afternoon in North London, London Blitz marked their return home after a year away from Finsbury Park with a hard fought win over cross-city rivals London Warriors in front of an atmospheric crowd. Having played “home” games at three different pitches last season, their much-anticipated return home didn’t disappoint as the A team moved to 3-0 whilst the B team beat the Essex Spartans to move to 1-1.
London Blitz B team kicked off proceedings for the day with a come from behind win against the Spartans. A low scoring first half finished 0-3 to the visitors but a second half rally from the home side saw the B team score 19 unanswered points to win 19-3.
This set the stage for the season’s first meeting between London Blitz and the reigning champions London Warriors. The game got off to a slow start with both teams going 3 and out on their first drives. But things didn’t take long to get going as Blitz linebacker Luke Prendergast picked off Warriors quarterback Jerome Allen inside the Blitz 10-yard line. The Blitz offense couldn’t capitalise on the opportunity and was forced to punt. The Warriors got an interception of their own but also couldn’t put points on the board as the Blitz defence stood firm.
Running backs Temi Oduyemi, Glen Toonga and Gabriel Quartey ground out yards on the ground; the Warriors offence dinked and dunked in the pass game, but both defences remained resolute. The Warriors deepest drive into Blitz territory was ended by an interception from cornerback Dotun Ademiju – his second in his first two games for the Blitz. The Warriors took a deep shot at the end of the 2nd quarter but what looked like a certain TD was broken up by Sam Jeater in the endzone, to end the half 0-0.
The second half started as the first ended, as the two teams offenses were met with strong defensive stands. The breakthrough came in the 3rd quarter as the Warriors capitalised on a Blitz turnover and running back Dwayne Watson found the endzone. With the PAT converted, the visitors lead 0-7.
With the Blitz pushing to put points on the board in the 4th quarter, a fumbled snap turned the ball over to the visitors who couldn’t take advantage. As always, the Blitz ‘never-say-die’ attitude shone through and the home side finally put their own points on the board with a screen from QB Joe Thompson to RB Dwight Caulker who took it to the house, the second year Blitz Juniors graduate scoring touchdowns in consecutive games. London Blitz went for two after the TD and RB Gabriel Quartey ran the ball in and the home side led 8-7.
The lead didn’t last long as the Warriors returned the ensuing kick off for a TD, after a missed PAT, the score line read Warriors 13 Blitz 8 deep into the 4th quarter. The Blitz drive started from their 34-yard line and had to go for it on 4th down to keep their hopes of a comeback alive. Joe Thompson converted on 4th down with a pin-point pass to Mike Aboujouade. The Blitz then needed to convert another 4th down with Gabriel Quartey coming up with the yards after being hit in the backfield. Quarterback Joe Thompson then found Mike Aboujouade down the sideline for a long completion. Swift feet from Aboujouade led him into the endzone, finally giving the Blitz a well deserved lead. Blitz went for two after the TD and couldn’t convert.
The Warriors once again had a big return on the kick off, after a Blitz penalty was added to the return, the Warriors offence started within field goal range with little over a minute on the clock. The Blitz defence stopped the Warriors from advancing much further and it was left to Warriors kicker Ian Jacquet. As the Warriors attempted their field goal, the Blitz side line called a time out to freeze the kicker, this piece of game-management paid dividends as the Warriors missed their field goal and Blitz won a nail biting game 14-13.
London Blitz move to 3-0 and on to the next game, away to Farnham on May 21.
Written by Blitz reporter Yonis Aden