I HAVE THE SAD DUTY to report this evening that the Manchester Wolves, my city's minor-league arena football team, lost their home opener to the formerly hapless but now quite good Albany Conquest, by a score of 64-54. Despite the seeming closeness of that score, I can assure you that the Conquest stomped all over us similar to how Julius Caesar conquered the Gauls. Football-wise, it was pretty grim.
Of course, this loss was all my fault. You see, as I was halfway to the arena, I realized with horror that I had forgotten my Lucky Steelers Hat, the glorious headwear which I have worn many a time to watch the Wolves triumph over their opposition. Thus, in retrospect it seems clear we never had a chance. Some may argue that I am vesting far too much faith in my Lucky Steelers Hat -- after all, Manchester's turnovers, dropped passes, innumerable penalties and general failure to get the job done may have contributed to our loss. But it's my lucky hat. I mean, come on.
At the core of our troubles was an inability to stop Albany's well-executed offense, particularly the good play of its offensive line and excellent performance running and passing. Along with that, everything seemed to go wrong for our side. Starting with the coin toss, which went against us, and continuing on with many plays that were oh-so-close to successful but which ended up unsuccessful -- and in some cases, disasterously. For instance, one of our wideouts made a great catch deep in Albany territory, but had the ball stripped from him almost immediately after he caught it and started running for the goal line. Albany pounced on the ball and recovered it. There was a blown lateral that our quarterback threw and our receiver missed, leading a quick-thinking Albany defender to scoop the ball up and run forty-something yards for a touchdown. That's just a sampling of what went wrong. All in all, it was tough.
Although we hung in there during the first half -- Albany was only up 33-27 at that point -- at the end of the third quarter, Albany had 54 points and we had but 34. That three-touchdown lead was surmountable, but we needed to play better than we did to make that a reality. The end result is that we're 1-2, Albany's 2-1, and we get to play division leader Wilkes-Barre Scranton (now 2-1) on the road next week. Oh boy.
Still, the game was a lot of fun -- they always are -- and the players played hard. I daresay my new favorite player on the team is No. 22, defensive back TC Myers. First, consider the guy is a cross between a cornerback and a safety in the DB position. Next, consider that he is 5'7" tall and weighs 165 lbs. He's a defensive version of Mack Herron. But did he have energy tonight. He made some of the best plays on defense we had, and the guy could hit like a steamroller. Also, he flew around the field, making tackles and never giving up. That was something to behold -- even as the players he covered had six or more inches on him, he kept at 'em. It was pretty darned impressive. Speaking of Mack Herron, though, I do wonder if Myers might be a good running back. First, the opposition would have to catch him, and then they'd have to tackle him. Good luck with that.
Of course, with such a new squad and yet another new quarterback at the helm, it's going to take some time for the team to coalesce and I am hopeful that they'll catch fire later this season. Admittedly, I'd prefer it if they would catch fire next game, because Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is never an easy team to face. But we'll see, won't we?Posted by Benjamin Kepple at April 18, 2008 11:51 PM | TrackBack