Blitz Come Away With Hard Fought Victory over the Nightmare By: Matt Gabrielson
Villa Park IL- The Chicago Blitz (2-1) bounced back this week with a solid 36-24 win over the North Kentucky Nightmare (0-4) on Saturday April 9, 2016 at the Odeum in Villa Park. Getting off to a fast start was the goal for the Blitz and ultimately it was the key to getting the win over the Nightmare for the second time this season. Chicago exploded out of the gates outscoring the Nightmare 20-6 in the first quarter. However the Nightmare would not go away clawing their way back into the game and giving the Blitz everything they could handle in what could be best described as a slugfest right until the final seconds of the game. Ultimately a interception returned for a touchdown by defensive back Deshon Conley with less than a minute to play in the game sealed the victory for the Blitz. “This win gets us back on track, we really need to win out to make sure we make the playoffs, we have our work cut out for us but we are back on track” explained Blitz head coach Mike Oliver on the importance of this victory. When asked about his team’s resiliency for a second straight week a beaming Coach Oliver responded “They are warriors there’s no give up in these guys, there are some things we need to work on but these guys just never give up”
The Blitz offense was really able to find its openings early on in this game putting up 20 points in the first quarter. Chicago’s offense did a particularly good job of running the ball at the goal line as evidenced by running back Keenan Miller’s back to back rushing touchdowns in the first quarter. Not to be left out of the scoring party receiver and team captain Bryant “Speedy” Pascascio found the end zone late in the first quarter. In his second game with the team and first full start of the season Quarterback Tony Powell put another solid game together spreading the ball around and not allowing the Nightmare defense to key on any particular receiver. A key piece to the Blitz offense the last two weeks has been the return of wide receiver Brian “Boobie” Miles. When asked how he has been able to make such an impact Miles explained ““The anxiousness of getting back to the team and really missing it, and really having a passion of being back with the guys it has just been really great.” The second half however was not as kind to the Blitz offense as they were only able to muster three points for the entire half.
Defensively the Blitz put together yet another strong outing. “The talent and the comradery, we play great as a defensive unit and it is all working in our favor right now” explained defensive back Deshon Conley about the strength of his defense. The defensive line continued to impress with constant pressure on the Nightmare quarterback. The Blitz defensive line was able to continue to play well despite losing defensive end Ryan O’Neill and defensive end Deandre Mosley playing linebacker this week. Defensive back Jorrick Calvin continued his strong season with an interception with just under seven minutes to play in the game. The Nightmare were knocking on the endzone door with less than a minute to play in the game when Blitz defensive back Deshon Conley read a passing play intercepting the pass and taking it all the way back for the game sealing touchdown for the Blitz. When asked about what he saw on the play Conley reminisced “I knew from when we played them in week one what they like to run in the goal line situation, so I read it and just broke on the flat.”
The Chicago Blitz special teams had a strong bounce back game with this week’s win. New Blitz kicker Igor Materic had a very solid outing going 4-5 on extra points and 1-2 on field goal attempts. Kick returns were another area of strength for the Blitz giving the Chicago offense good starting field position for the majority of the game. Brian “Boobie” Miles had a very impressive kick return for a touchdown early in the second quarter. “Everyone keeping composure and just keeping that next play mentality, it’s not always going to happen and be in our favor we always have to have that next play mentality and keep moving and going” explained Miles about his thought process on the kick return touchdown. Chicago’s kick coverage teams had a much improved game not giving the Nightmare returners any room to work with.
While this game was not a perfect one, it was a win and in the end that is all that matters. The Chicago Blitz refusal to get rattled by any situation continues to loom large in every game they have played this season. Adversity continues to knock on the door of this team and continually the Blitz refuse to answer that door, and that is the mentality that champions are made of. The Blitz have played in 3 fairly close games scoring wise to start 2016. With only eight games played in the AIF (American Indoor Football league) schedule the Blitz are already near the midpoint of the season. With River City and West Michigan each suffering one loss already this season it is a tight race for who will make the playoffs. The mental makeup of this team will continue to be important moving forward as it could be the difference in making the playoffs or not. If the showing by the Blitz the first three games is any indication it would not be wise to sleep on the 2016 Chicago Blitz.
The Blitz are off this coming weekend but return to action on April 23, 2016 with a road game versus the River City Raiders in St. Charles MO.