Tuesday, 23 April 2013

AFL Week 5 Review

It was a big weekend for football all over Europe, and the AFL was no exception providing three good games. Here's DC's week 5 review.

JCL Graz Giants 23 - Prague Black Panthers 7

The Giants ran out deserved winners this weekend against the Black Panthers.

Despite my predicted scoreline being a little over inflated, my thoughts on the general flow of the game proved to have some credence as the Giants really put the screws on the Black Panthers with a fairly commanding performance, clearly having learnt from the previous week's encounter.

Once again Alex Good dominated the stat sheet with a combined 254 yards and 2 touchdowns, but the real kudos has to be given to the Giants defence who snagged a total of 4 interceptions, time and again extinguishing the hopes of Andrew Shoop and the Black Panthers offence as they drove down the field.

The first quarter unfolded as I expected with the Giants putting points on the board on each of their first two drives before the Black Panthers answered with an 8 play 76 yard drive that ended in Shoop running the ball in from 6 yards out. The quarter then ended with a Graz field goal and a promising 16-7 lead in favour of the away side. From there however the game ground into somewhat of a stalemate as turnovers killed both of the team's long second quarter drives and the score remained the same.

The second half opened with the Giants methodically working their way down the field and putting another 7 points up on the board with the help of a 2 yard rumble from Alex Gross, which appeared to blow the game wide open. Despite the exciting opening to the half, that was to be the last score of the day as both team's defence's took control and shut the game down to allow the Giants to run out 23-7 winners and see them elevate their record to 2-1.

Once again, Good was just too good!

The Black Panthers now drop to 0-3 on the year, which whilst not as bad as it looks considering they've faced the league's toughest schedule so far, it shows them that it's not all about who's calling the shots from quarterback, and if they want to pick up wins in this league then they'll need to develop a reliable running game.

To add insult to injury the Black Panthers also lost their main sponsor as well as head coach and influential football figure Tom Smythe this Monday, who left his post to take up the head coaching job for the Zagreb Thunder. More information HERE.

Player of the Game: C. Promitzer, Defensive Back #43. Two key interceptions on the day with 37 return yards was the pick of the Giant's defensive performance.

Prediction: Called the winner but not quite as many points put on the scoreboard as I thought.

Swarco Raiders 42 - AFC Rangers 17

The best remedy after being given a good beating the previous week is to be handing out the beating the next week, and that's precisely what the Raiders did to the Rangers on Saturday.

The game started off quite close and was tightly contested up until half time when the Raiders lead by a slender 4 point margin at 21 - 17 following a very encouraging and un-Ranger like performance in the first half, which saw them lead briefly 17 - 14 following a fumble recovered in the end zone for a touchdown.

Maynard once again had to try and put the team on his back.
© Florian Schellhorn from www.footballpics.info

The story at the end of the game however was more about what the Rangers couldn't do instead of what the could. Their strong first half performance was on the back of a good ground game which ate up a good chunk of yards through both Maynard and Boder. However, this week, the biggest problem was the passing game as the Raiders tightened up the loose screws from last week's shambles in the secondary and came away having only allowed 51 total passing yards.

The second half was all one way traffic as Callahan directed three unanswered scoring drives to take the final score to 42 - 17 and leave the Raiders at least satisfied with their performance and with that all important win.

Game highlights here.

Callahan let his arm do the talking this week with 4 touchdowns.
© Florian Schellhorn from www.footballpics.info
Player of the Game: Kyle Callahan, Quarterback #6. 15 completions on 18 attempts and 4 touchdowns is the kind of performance the Raiders need out of him every week.

Prediction: Correct and my score wasn't too far off, but my writings on the style and ease of the victory were off the mark as the Rangers put up a great fight in the first half.

Raiffeisen Vikings 27 - Danube Dragons 12

The best game of the weekend had the stage all to itself on the Sunday and definitely didn't disappoint, even if it wasn't quite as wide open as I had predicted. The first quarter was really a comedy of errors as on three consecutive plays the teams fumbled the ball away to each other and when the Dragons offence and Jonathan Dally finally got their mitts back on the ball they promptly threw an interception in the end zone.

The breakthrough finally came when Vikings running back Jesse Lewis almost single handedly marched the ball down the field accumulating a total of 54 yards in the Vikings 75 yard scoring drive which Lewis capped off with a 26 yard run after following some excellent blocks.

The Vikings defence mostly held the dangerous Ogun in check this weekend.
© Kellner Holly Thomas/Gridiron Photography

Lewis was once again the catalyst for the Vikings second score which came in the second quarter as he took the ball 31 yards on a nice cutback all the way down to the Dragons 3 yard line before watching Amadu finish the drive off with a power dive.

After the half the Dragons started to show what they were capable of on offence by putting together a 15 play, 80 yard drive that saw quarterback Dally take the ball in on the keeper to pull the score back to 13-6. The Vikings however were unfazed as they immediately came back with another scoring drive of their own which once again finished with Amadu taking the ball in from short.

Following a drive marred by penalties and miscues, the Dragons turned the ball over on downs to Christopher Gross and the Vikings offence who immediately put the game to bed when Pongratz found himself with enough time in the front corner of the end zone to haul in a 36 yard pass from Gross and take the score to 27-6.

The Dragons did manage to score on their last drive through fullback Ludwig but in the end the Vikings margin of victory was quite comfortable and sees them stand alone at the top of the league with a 3-0 record.

Game highlights here.

Jesse Lewis apparently had a score to settle with #15 on the day, here he is setting the record straight.
© Kellner Holly Thomas/Gridiron Photography

Player of the Game: Jesse Lewis, Running Back #28. Made some game breaking runs that enabled his team to score at key moments in the game. A hard fought and well deserved 143 yards and touchdown.

Prediction: Got the winner right but the defences played a lot better than I originally thought they would. In fairness I expected the Dragons to score more points but unfortunately some miscues close to the end zone really hurt their chances.

BAFANL: Week 2 National Division Power Rankings

1. Farnham Knights
Farnham haven’t played a game yet this year but they stay atop the rankings on potential. We have to see them in action before we can move them down.

2. Leicester Falcons
Not as convincing a win as we expected here at DC but a 34-26 win over an improved Crewe Railroaders side is a good start for the Falcons. This weekend’s game against the Manchester Titans will be the one to judge on where this team has leveled off following last year’s upheavals. Still it’s enough to keep them 2nd on our Power Rankings for another week.

3. Gateshead Senators
A win for the Senators in a low scoring game was exactly what DC Towers predicted last week and that’s what we got! A 13-7 victory over the Clyde Valley Blackhawks team that decimated the Edinburgh Wolves (who drop clean out of our Power Rankings) the week before is a good result for the North East team. They rise one place in our Power Rankings at the expense of the Milton Keynes Pathfinders who drop after a disappointing defeat to the Watford Cheetahs.

4. Manchester Titans
What a win. We knew this Titans team had improved vastly over the winter, with new players and a new coaching regime under Britball legend Nigel Dias. Double Coverage writer Nathan James Sharrocks covered that extensively in an article not a few months ago. But we didn’t expect a 54-0 shutout against the Lincolnshire Bombers side that has greatly improved recently and that pushed the Shropshire Revolution all the way last week.

It’s enough for a four place rise and enough to leapfrog the Revolution. As said above this weekend’s fixture against Leicester will gauge Manchester’s season better but they should be proud of such a good result.

5. Oxford Saints
The Saints too haven’t played a game yet this year. They’re a tough team to weigh up. They tailed off at the end of last season and we hear differing reports of players and coaches leaving and retiring but until they have played the talent they showed last year is what they shall be judged on. They stay 5th.

DC Writers Mock Draft: Picks 16-20

After a football packed weekend our DC Writers mock continues in the build up to the NFL draft, Live at 12am Thursday on Sky Sports 1.

Picks 1-5

Picks 6-10

Picks 11-15

16th - St Louis Rams - Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas.
Picked by Simon Loves

St Louis desperately need turnovers to help out their hot and cold offense. With the departure of Danny Amendola, this is more important than ever.

St Louis lost both Quintin Mikell and Craig Dahl this off season, so safety is a position of great need for them. Vaccaro is the best safety in the draft, and is a day one starter.

The Rams would do well to pick up this Longhorns play maker.

Game report: Watford Cheetahs v Milton Keynes Pathfinders

From Watford Cheetahs Website

BLETCHLEY, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, SUNDAY 21st APRIL 2013 – The Watford Cheetahs (1-0) opened their 2012 Season at arch-rivals the Milton Keynes Pathfinders (0-1) on Sunday, taking home the spoils with a 26-22 victory.

The Pathfinders won the toss and elected to defer, and so the Cheetahs started the game with great promise as Wide receiver TJ Ajayi took the opening kick-off all the way back to the Pathfinders 13 yard line. However, they were unable to take advantage of the short field and the drive resulted in a 30 yard Field Goal from Kicker and Safety Danny Morton being blocked. The Pathfinders took over and put together a strong drive to get in Field Goal range, which Kicker, Running Back and Safety Ben Williams duly converted (3-0).

Another good return from Ajayi, and two penalties on the MK defence allowed the Cheetahs to move into the red zone, and they opened their account for the season when Quarterback Martin Brown hooked up with 2nd Year Tight end Julian Lorelli on a short pass, which was run in 10 yards for the opening touchdown, breaking 3 tackles on the way. The extra point was missed and MK ended the 1st quarter in possession (6-3).

c/o Luke Plastow Photography

Irish Football Round-Up and Scoring Charts

Another great weekend of football over in Ireland as the season really picks up the pace. The Cork Admirals vs UCD game was called off but there was still one game in each of the Shamrock Bowl North, Shamrock Bowl South and IAFL-1 to review. One team took firm control of its division whilst another continued its dominating ways.

Photo  by Ash O'Flanagan - (http://www.ashoflanagan.tumblr.com)

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