Early mistakes keep Bengals winless
Football: Big Rock falls to 0-3 in Calgary midget league
Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 06:00 am
When the Big Rock Bengals fumbled on their first play from scrimmage it was more than an inauspicious beginning, it was an ominous sign of things to come.
The Bengals spotted the Calgary Falcons a 24-point lead at the half and couldn’t erase the deficit, falling 31-13 on Saturday at Shouldice Park to drop to 0-3 in their inaugural season in the Calgary and Area Midget Football Association.
“There is no doubt we have the talent to beat these guys and be very successful and unfortunately we need to come ready to play,” said Bengals offensive co-ordinator Johannes van Leenen. “There is always signs of brilliance and signs that, you know what, we can play with anyone in this league, but we need to come prepared to play.”
Falcons quarterback Alex Basilis was prepared from the opening kick-off. The lefty signal caller engineered a pair of first-quarter drives to give Calgary a 14-0 advantage, on two quarterback sneak touchdowns, before Big Rock could find its footing. Basilis added his third score of the half when he bulldozed in from goal line formation.
“Football is a game of emotion and intensity and in the first half we had no energy, no intensity, no emotion,” van Leenen said. “Our plan was to run the ball more in the first half and everything that we called was open, but fumbles, offsides, a whole litany of mistakes.”
Big Rock was a different team after the second-half kick-off with aggressive play from the front-seven on defence and the establishment of a consistent running game from tailback Brenden Hansen and slotbacks TJ Tighe and Daylon Creason.
The latter would get the Bengals on the board in the third quarter. Southpaw gunslinger Peter Zajdel found Creason on a slant pattern and the Grade 10 Foothills Falcon turned on the afterburners to run into the end-zone untouched from 40 yards out.
As unstoppable as the Calgary Falcons pivot looked in the first-half, the Bengals managed to contain the fleet-footed quarterback with renewed enthusiasm in the final two quarters as big hits from linebackers Jonathan Leggett and Cian Booth fired up the squad.
“We changed our front and came out with more intensity,” said Bengals defensive tackle Tanner Mullen. “Coach Jo said at the half we can beat these guys, let’s come out and play, put some pride into it and I think that kind of inspired our defence.”
The Bengals would find pay dirt again before quarter’s end. After a 15-yard scamper from Tighe and a 20-yard catch and run from Blake Klotz on third down, Big Rock showed some efficiency in the red-zone. Creason found a seam and ran 10 yards to the left edge of the end-zone for his second score of the half, cutting the deficit to 24-13.
Big Rock unleashed speedster Jeus Mapatac at the slotback position in the fourth quarter and the Holy Trinity Academy student made good on a pair of outside runs to keep drives going, only to be stalled by crucial turnovers by the Bengals.
The Falcons took advantage of the opening and marched the ball downfield with Basilis finding a receiver for a 10-yard score to complete the 18-point victory for Calgary.
“A couple times we had a good drive going and it got stopped just because of little mistakes,” Mullen said. “Those turnovers, fumbles, cost us the game.
“I thought we played well though.”
The Bengals get their fourth shot at entering the win column on Saturday April 19 when they line up opposite the Calgary Stampeders for an 11 a.m. kick-off at Shouldice Park.
The taste of victory could go a long ways for the young franchise.
“That would be a good starting point for the organization,” Mullen said. “That will be a proud moment for all of us where we feel like a team. Right now it’s more separated and when we get our win it will be better.”
To keep track of the latest on the Big Rock Bengals visit the team website at bigrockbengals.webs.com