Blitz start the season off on the right foot with a win! By Matt Gabrielson
Villa Park IL- The Chicago Blitz took the field for the first time on Sunday March 13, 2016 defeating the North Kentucky Nightmare with a final score of 33-22. Early on in the game it was a back and forth battle between two solid indoor football teams with the experience and depth of the Blitz proving to be too much as the game wore on. The Blitz were particularly solid on the defensive side of the football making it very difficult for the Nightmare to get into any kind of a consistent rhythm offensively. On the offensive side of the ball the Blitz overcame some early struggles to put together a very solid performance. When asked about his team’s performance Blitz head coach Mike Oliver said “We got our glitches out of the way, the guys clicked pretty well, we are pointed in the right direction and got the W!”
First games can be particularly tough to prepare for especially on the offensive side of the football. The Blitz offense had some growing pains early on in the football game but really found their grove as the game progressed. Blitz quarterback Demetrius Jones improvement throughout the game was the catalyst in getting the Chicago offense clicking and was named offensive player of the game for his efforts. Jones had this to say about how the offensive game plan was working “Once we found some rhythm with the passes everything else began to fall into place.” When asked how his offensive group overcame the early struggles Jones explained “We had some guys making some great catches on some bad balls putting us in better position”. The Chicago offensive line did a particularly good job of not only keeping Jones clean but opening up some big running lanes in a game where running the ball is not particularly easy. A beaming Coach O had this to say about his running game “I really liked what I saw out of our running game, with these rules it is a passing league but if you’ve got a running game here that’s a real big plus.”
Defensively the Blitz dominated the North Kentucky offense from the opening whistle to the final buzzer of the game. The front five of the Blitz gave consistent pressure on the Nightmare offense never allowing the North Kentucky quarterback much time to find an open receiver. Holding a team to only 22 points in the indoor game is very impressive and the Blitz defense surely opened some eyes with Sundays performance. With two interceptions Blitz defensive back Jorrick Calvin was named the defensive player of the game. When asked what made it look so easy for him on the field Calvin explained “We have a great D line, and a great linebacking group that put great pressure on the quarterback and just makes our job as DB’s very easy.” Sunday was Calvins first game in two and a half years due to an injury Calvin talked about his motivation “It has been 2 and a half years since I have been on a football field, so I really came out there with a chip on my shoulder.”
Special teams for the Blitz looked very good in the season opening win. Longtime Blitz placekicker and back to back special teams player of the year Julie Harshberger had a strong game despite the difficult conditions that kicking in the indoor game presents. In what may have been the most exciting play of the game Blitz wide receiver/kick returner Bryant “Speedy” Pascascio returned a missed field goal the entire length of the field for the game’s first touchdown. The Blitz kick coverage teams had a very solid game giving up very little to the Nightmare in the return game.
You never quite know what to expect when it is a team’s first game of the season, but the Blitz definitely answered the bell in this victory. While there were a few wrinkles that had to be ironed out early on, those wrinkles became less and less as the game progressed. The offensive growth throughout the game became more and more evident with every drive. There was already a buzz heading into the gam about what would be seen from the Blitz defense and they looked every bit the part in the victory. The Blitz next game is not for another 3 weeks. So if the team showed that much growth throughout a game imagine what they will do with an additional couple weeks of practice. If Sunday was any indication this Blitz team has the pieces in place to do something truly special in 2016.
The Chicago Blitz next game is Saturday April 2, 2106 7:05 PM at the Western Michigan Ironmen
The Blitz Are looking to continue to take Steps forward in 2016 By Matt Gabrielson
The 2016 AIF season is finally at hand and for the Chicago Blitz it can not start soon enough. After a grueling training camp that lead to some tough decisions as to who would and would not be suiting up for the Blitz in 2016. As a result the Blitz will be putting arguably one of their best teams in the franchises short history on the field Sunday night.
While it may only be the Blitz third season in existence, the Blitz have taken a step forward every year and this year figures to be no different. But before we can look at where this team is going we need to take a look at what has brought them to this point. Back in 2014 the Blitz front office staff and coaches put together a very solid team with just weeks to prepare for the season. Despite having such a short window to put everything together the team went 7-3 falling just inches from making a playoff berth. 2015 saw the Blitz put together a very strong team going 6-2 in the regular season. Chicago upset the Saginaw Sting in the AIF semi-finals before falling in the AIF championship game.
The Chicago Blitz are looking to take yet another step forward in 2016. A big factor will help the Blitz continue to grow and reach their goals is the consistency of head coach Mike Oliver. Coach O has been the Blitz head coach in each year of the teams existence and seems to know always how to get the best out of his players on a day in and day out basis no matter what the situation. Coach O has also surrounded himself with a tremendous supporting cast of assistant coaches that are amongst the best in all of indoor football. Lead by Defensive coordinator Noel Soto, Defensive assistant Dennison Robinson, Offensive and Defensive line coach Chris Van Stone, and Offensive Assitant Dave Auwerda.
The practices leading up to this Sunday's opener have been very spirited. Watching the Blitz practice you see a team that is very hungry and very much wants to be a champion. The intensity of the team drills has been very entertaining to watch for the fans that have attended the open practices thus far.
The AIF has also switched to a set of rules very similar to the Arena Football league for the 2016 season. With this change the AIF could see some very high scores and very exciting games throughout the season. From what has been shown in practice to this point the Blitz look to be more than prepared for this change and how these games will go. Between a very stout defense that will be very difficult to score on and an high octane offense that has the capability of scoring from any spot on the field, the Blitz figure to be very good in 2016.
A Championship is the goal for the 2016 Chicago Blitz. Every team says that at the start of the season but there is some thing very different about this team. Teams across the AIF will find out very fast that they will have to lay it all on the line against this Blitz team. Even that may not be enough when all is said and done for Blitz opponents. And it all starts this Sunday March 13, 2016 at 7:05 at the Odeum in Villa Park. Make sure you get your tickets to witness what could be a truly special football team in the 2016 Chicago Blitz!
Game day is fast approaching and the Blitz are excited to open their 2016 season! Tickets are available through the ticket page on this site or visiting Ticketforce. We look forward to seeing you at the Odeum!
Tickets for the Chicago Blitz home games are now on sale through Ticketforce. The Blitz will host five home regular season contests starting March 13th! Make sure to visit our tickets page for more information on prices and promotions available!