Blitz Fall in Final Minute in First Road Game
By Matt Gabrielson
Muskegon MI-The Chicago Blitz (1-1) lost a heartbreaker to the West Michigan Ironmen (2-1) by a final score of 34-30 on Saturday night April 2, 2016. Though the Blitz trailed for a majority of the game they were able to take 30-28 lead over the Ironmen with 45 seconds remaining in the game. Unfortunately West Michigan returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown taking back the lead with 28 seconds remaining. A late interception in the end zone with just 14 seconds remaining ended the Blitz comeback hopes. When asked about his team’s resiliency Chicago head coach Mike Oliver explained “I thought we battled back real well and that was evident when we took the lead late in the game with 45 seconds left.”
A big story in this game was a hand injury to starting quarterback Demetrious Jones just before halftime. Recently signed back up Tony Powell stepped up very admirably nearly leading the Blitz to a victory. When asked about his backup quarterbacks play Blitz head coach Mike Oliver had this to say “”That’s the reason we brought Tony in and he came in on real short notice, and you can’t really replace a guy like DJ (quarterback Demetrious Jones) Tony brings in his own set of skills to the table and he did a heck of a job for us.” Powell did a tremendous job of spreading the ball around never allowing the defense to key on any one receiver. “It’s tough but it’s not but it’s not because I know my teammates have my back and they help me with their play” explained Powell when asked how he played so well despite coming into the game cold.
The Blitz had tremendous success converting fourth downs as the game wore on. All three Blitz wide receivers getting in on the action making solid contributions throughout the game. Bryant “Speedy” Pascascio, James Walton, Brian “Boobie” Miles and running back Keenan Miller all making key catches in crucial moments for the Blitz. Blitz quarterback Powell had nothing but praise when discussing his wide receiver core “I just tried to make a play and I have some great receivers that helped us keep the ball moving on those fourth downs”
Despite coming out on the losing end of the scoreboard the Blitz defense played a really solid game only allowing 2 touchdowns the entire game. The defensive line had constant penetration never allowing much time for the West Michigan offense to develop any kind of rhythm. “We only gave up 28 yards total in the first half and continued to make plays in the second half and unfortunately they scored on some fluky plays” explained Blitz linebacker Lorenzo Hood. Defensive back Jorrick Calvin had another solid game with one interception and also had an interception returned for a touchdown that was unfortunately called back on a penalty. Blitz coach Mike Oliver praised his defense “Our defense did a real good job of keeping us in the game, they made some big plays that allowed our offense opportunities and kept the game from getting out of control.”
Chicago’s special teams units had a very difficult time in this game. Kicker Julie Harshbarger had an uncharacteristically off night in a very difficult kicking environment. The Blitz coverage units struggled mightily giving up two touchdowns. The first on a missed field goal attempt late in the second quarter and the second on kickoff return with 45 seconds left in the game.
There are no moral victories in football, but the Blitz have much to be proud of despite this loss. The character this team displayed in their refusal to give up despite so much adversity thrown their way throughout the game is what champions are made of. Despite being down 28-12 at one point in the third quarter the Blitz battled back to take a 30-28 lead with less than a minute to play. It is so important in the indoor game to keep battling like that as the momentum can swing so fast like it did in this game. One loss does not define a season and no team is going to exemplify that more than the 2016 Chicago Blitz!
The Blitz are back home this Saturday at the Odeum in Villa Park for a 7 PM kickoff