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Game 4 - Lancers @ Wildcats

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In a surprisingly low scoring game, the Lancers defeated the Wildcats 17-6.  The Wildcats, playing good defense, led the Lancers 6-3 at the half, but gave up two long TD runs to Lancers' RB #41 in the second half, and made 2 critical mistakes which led to their defeat.

The first half was marred (as most early games are) by poor passing by both teams, including an interception by Wildcat rookie FS #25.  Lancer QB #6, coming to the Lancers in an off season trade with the Thunderbolts for RB #27, was ineffective until just before halftime, when he led a long drive which netted the Lancers their first score, a FG.  Previously, the Wildcats had taken a 6-0 lead on a pair of FGs - one set up by #25's interception.  Both teams' high-powered running games were contained by good defensive play, although the Wildcats' #22 ripped off a 57 yard run in the second quarter to set up the Wildcats' second FG.

In the second half, the Lancers' #41 exploded for an 80 yard TD run, giving them the lead for the first time, 10-6.  The Wildcats continued to be ineffective in the third quarter, with QB #7 completing only 2 passes.  Meanwhile, the Lancer's QB, #6, began to get the range, driving the Lancers deep into Wildcat territory, before settling for a 51 yd FG attempt.  It was wide right, and the Gladiators took over, in good field position.  Keeping the drive alive into the fourth quarter, the Wildcats faced a fourth and ten at the Lancer 19 yard line.  Instead of going for the FG, which would have brought them to 10-9, with lots of time remaining, they opted to go for it, and #7 was sacked on a blitz, by reserve S #36.  First mistake.  But the Lancers, after getting one first down and running valuable time off the clock, were forced to punt the ball back to the Wildcats.  QB #3 replaced #7, and RB #22 had a 41 yard run for the Wildcats, who once again drove deep into Lancer territory.  Again they faced a fourth down situation (4th and 5).  #3 went back to pass, and completed it along the sidelines to WR #85 for a first down.  But as he turned and began running, the ball popped out, and Lancers' SLB #56 recovered at the 11 yard line.  Second mistake.  On the very next play, the Lancers set their TE #86 (their blocking TE) on the left (they had been setting TE right on all previous plays), and #41 exploded over left tackle for an 89 yd TD run, giving them a 17-6 lead, which they protected until the end of the game.

Lancers' #41 led all rushers with 184 yards; Wildcats' #22 had 146 yards.  Lancers' WR #85 had 4 catches to lead all WRs.  Wildcats' QB #7 was sacked 3 times (one by CB #44 on a corner blitz, one by DT #78, and one by S #36 on a blitz); Lancer QB #6 was sacked once (DE #84 and WLB #52 sharing).

This game concludes the opening games, and inter-league, for all teams.  The current standings are:

Old League:  
Lancers 1-0-0
Gladiators 1-0-0
Titans 0-0-1
Hawks 0-1-0

New League:
Thunderbolts 1-0-0
Panthers 0-0-1 

Warriors 0-1-0

Wildcats 0-1-0

Next games (beginning intra-league play):
Lancers @ Titans
Hawks @ Gladiators

Warriors @ Thunderbolts
Panthers @ Wildcats

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I use time, with quarters set at 45 minutes each.

No records yet.  I much prefer defensive struggles (in real world games as well) to offensive blowouts.  Play - especially passing - is commonly quite sloppy early in the season.  There are particular running plays that usually seem to net big yardage and are difficult to defend against.  I'm always looking for ways to stop them without instituting radical rule changes.  This usually involves experimenting with different bases for the defensive players that are most often involved, or setting those players in different positions.  The field which I bought a couple of years ago has some very unique vibration patterns which I'm not yet used to.  The old field I knew by heart, having used it since circa 1970.

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