Spartan Bowl II
In football, bragging rights are something that is always on the line, and yesterday in the Bronx, you had two Spartan football teams looking to lay claim to the name “2010 SPARTAN BOWL WINNER.” At high noon, on one of the hottest days of the year there was a colossal matchup between the New Jersey Spartans and the New York Spartans in the 2nd Annual Spartan Bowl.
In the inaugural Spartan Bowl the New Jersey Spartans sent the boys from across the bridge back home with a disappointing 13-8 loss. You have to wonder what would be the outcome this year… Unfortunately, this time the fellows from the NY would get there revenge, by coming back and pulling out a 24-20 win.
In the Beginning the New Jersey Offense came out a little sluggish and provided NY with the opportunity to see the ball quite a bit in the 1st Quarter. This ultimately led to NY gaining moment and putting together a drive that was paced by the run and moved the ball downfield. On a blown assignment the NY team completed a deep TD pass that allowed them to jump out on top 8-0 at the end of the 1st quarter.
But as you already know the Jersey boys responded quickly, by bringing in the “Myrmidons”. This is the name given to the plethora of skilled runners in the backfield for the New Jersey Spartans. First up was Robert Cheese (No. 28), who in the 2nd quarter displayed his talent by Blazing a trail through the heart of the New York defense. A excellent run that blasted through the middle and shot into the end-zone for a 80 yard score cutting the lead to 8-6 in the 2nd quarter. Then, after defense started to take a stance, with the quick footed group of DBs leading the way and breaking up passes, the New Jersey Offense got the ball back. This time around another of the “Myrmidons” was called upon… Al-Khalif Thompson (No. 4) broke out on a toss play that was helped by an excellently executed block on the NY defensive end (No. 97) that appeared to be a bone-crunching and jar-rocking smash put on by Derrick Williams (No. 25). Thompson had raced for a long touchdown which wowed the crowd at Gridiron Elite Stadium. This placed the New Jersey Spartans out front 12-8 with a few minutes to go in the half. Then New York tried to get something going heading into the half but they didn’t have a clue as to how talented the New Jersey starting defenders were when James Wright (No. 3) picked off a screen pass and took it back 60 plus yards for another score and at the half the New Jersey Spartans were in dominating control of their 1st action of the year 20-8.
During halftime the NJ Spartans Coaches advised the players that they needed to remain focused on the team purpose which was to get better and make sure that we found out who’s who and what everyone can do… The veteran players like Darryl Hill (No. 31) and Tyrell McFadden (No. 57) reminded the team that we have to give them nothing and take from them everything as we come out in the 3rd quarter.
And so the 3rd quarter came and went with the New Jersey defense locked in and holding a perceived lead heading into the 4th even with a few changes to personnel. But then within the last 10 minutes of the game the momentum shifted a bit as the New Jersey Offense was denied the end-zone from the 2-yard line. Which was possibly aided by the field not being lined…? thus halting NJ Spartans chances to put New York away and putting all the nails in the coffin. So then, the New York offense took the ball and made the most of the opportunity NJ gave then to get back in the game late. NY put together a nice drive mixed with runs and some good catches that enabled them to drive 94 yards for a touchdown and after New York converted another two point conversion it was 20-16 New Jersey. Then after a weird personal foul call that pushed the kickoff team up New Jersey finally had the ball around midfield. Coupled with some new found momentum the New York defense caught a break as they came up with an interception off of a 3-way tipped pass that gave NY possession with 3 minutes left in the game. Weren’t they fortunate… The INT was returned into NJ Spartans territory, giving the boys from NY a short field to work with. Their offense went back at it and with some black and white help, a New York receiver manage to pick up a big first down that put the NY team within scoring distance just after the two minute warning. Then on a run up the middle a NY ball-carrier reached the end zone with 50 seconds left on the clock. After they converted on their 3rd two-point conversion the NY Spartans had gained the final lead of the Game 24-20 and Spartan Bowl II was officially in the books and the New York Spartans got their payback. “It’s hard to go down this way, but I am very proud of the way our men played and conducted themselves in our 1st action of the year” said Coach Moss.
“This is a building block that we will use to prepare even more so as we get ready for the new season. The Starters and roles players on both sides of the ball played well, we just may have to spend some more time developing the young guys. Not too many mistakes today but it showed that we need to capitalize on every opportunity early and continue to put up points throughout the game. Our Players came up with some big plays when we had to respond and it was nice to see “the resiliency.”
Jose Renderos (No. 58) and Bryce Pointer (No. 18), showed that our Defense will be just as physical, maybe even more so than the teams in the past. What we take from this is that things really are different in the Green, Black & White… For the 1st time ever there were no NJ Spartans disagreements and everyone took responsibility and felt accountable for the way we let the other team back in the game, showing that in 2010, WE truly Raising The Bar!