A crowd of around 150 people came to see the London Warriors first home game of the 2011 season against the 2010 National Champion London Blitz at Boston Manor in Brentford.
The game started well with good solid drives from both teams lead by RBs Devar Gayle (Warriors) and Gareth Dauley (Blitz), however, both the Warriors and Blitz are known fortheir stout defences and neither team was able to capitalise on their runningbacks efforts efforts with a score. The Warriorsstruck first towards the end of the 1st Quarter with QB Jerome Allen connecting with WR Emmanuel Mukoro on a 35 yard TD pass followed by a converted PAT by WR/K Ian Jaquet. The remainder of the half was totally dominated by solid defence from both teams denying either Offense from sustaining a long drive.
Half Time Score:
London Warriors 7 – London Blitz 0
The Blitz started with the ball at the beginning of the 2nd Half, however, they continued to struggle on Offense and were unable to move the ball on the ground, so they went to the air with Blitz QB Fred Boyle connecting on an 8 yard pass to WR Clive Palumbo to get the Offense moving. But, the Blitz fumbled the ball on a Toss Sweep which was pounced on by a Warrior defender at the Blitz 15 yard line – Warriors ball! After a promising run from WR Marvin Allen and reception by WR Emmanuel Mukoro the Warriors were poised to score again, but on 3rd Down, QB Jerome Allen was unable to find an open receiver so he tucked the ball and took off towards the end zone only to come up agonisingly short. The Warriors decided to go for the TD on 4th down, but they came up short again and turned the ball over to the Blitz on downs.
The Blitz couldn’t move the ball, in fact both Offenses were held in check for the rest of the 3rd and beginning of the 4th Quarters. The ball changed possession on numerous occasions before disaster struck the Warriors. With the ball at their own 30 yard line, Warriors QB Jerome Allen tossed a pass downfield that was intercepted by Blitz CB Dion Andrade who returned the ball for a Blitz TD, the following PAT was good and the game was tied at 7 -7.
The teams continued to battle throughout the 4th Quarter and with about 1 minute left in the game the Warriors managed to get put together a sustained drive with key receptions from WR/K Ian Jaquet culminating in a clutch 1st Down reception where Ian evaded three defenders and managed to get out of bounds at the Blitz 20 yard line to stop the clock with 14 seconds left in the game.
The Warriors still had one Time Out, 20 yards to go and 14 seconds on the clock so they decided to go to the air for the go-ahead TD, but the ball was over-thrown and luckily bounced in and out of the arms of an opposing DB, giving the Warriors another chance with just 10 seconds left in the game.
WR/K Ian Jaquet wascalled upon to try for the game winning field goal, the Blitz tried icing thekicker by using their remaining Time Outs and the strategy worked as Ian’sattempt sailed wide left, so the Blitz got the ball back with only about 6 seconds left on the clock, only enough tim e for one last ditch play for the win. The attempted deep pass was batted down by the Warriors and the game finished even at 7 – 7.
It was an exciting game, with great efforts by players from both teams, in 2010 the Blitz were the only team the Warriors were unable to defeat, so this was a promising result, especially as the Blitz Offense was effectively shut down and unable to score in this confrontation. This result bodes well for a great rematch at the Blitz in Finsbury Park on 5th June.