Kicking off week 4 for The Spring League South Division is the Sea Lions and the Blues both looking to get back into the win column. This matchup is also the league’s weekly FOX broadcast, so it has the potential to get some great viewership.
Prior to this game, we saw the leagues transactions which lead to the Sea Lions sending Nick Fitzgerald to the Blues, who needed some help at the position. Shortly before the season kicked off it was revealed that Eric Dungey would miss the season for the Blues due to a minicamp with the Bengals. The gamble paid off, as he was signed by the franchise shortly after.
The Blues will start out week 4 with the ball, giving Connor Kaegi a chance to start at QB for the team. As with most TSL gams this season, the offense started out slow. On the last play of the drive, tight end David Grinnage suffered a leg injury, taking the game to commercial. This is just on the sad truths about the game, any play could be your last of the game.
Did you see that hit on Grinnage? Where's the flag for hitting a defenseless receiver?!?
DeAndre Johnson will start out the game for the Sea Lions at quarterback. With a slower start, he came out with a huge pass to the end-zone which looked like a touchdown at first. But, due to a holding call, the play was moved back putting them at 3rd & 21. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, but the team was forced to punt it away, giving the Blues another shot.
Kaegi was back in for the Blues, this time trying his chance with the teams running game. The team was looking much better on this drive, moving the chains and getting them near field. Kaegi then threw one to the end-zone to Lucky Johnson who drew the pass interference call, putting them at the goal-line. On the very next play, Kaegi handed it off to Marcelias Sutton to grab the touchdown.
Marcelias Sutton puts the #TSLBlues up 6-0. PAT is NO GOOD. Loved that drive from the Blues, they looked mostly composed and on the same page. They’re going to need more of that this game.
Now behind, the Sea Lions will take the field with a little over 2:30 left in the 1st quarter. Johnson relied on his own legs to move the chains for the team, keeping the drive going for the team. When his rushers couldn’t move the chains, Johnson once again moved the ball, brining it to 3rd and inches.
Just when they though momentum was on their side, they drew and offsides call pushing them back five. Although the pass was close, i batted down by Denzel Rice of the Blues forcing the Sea Lions to kick it back.
The Blues start the second with possession, and another chance to add to their lead. When it looked like they were going to go 3 and out, Kaegi tossed it off to Fabian Guerrato move the chains to get the first down. The momentum seemed to be going their way, but when presented with 4th & 1, Coach Cottrell decided to punt pinning the Sea Lions back.
The Sea Lions luck continued the same, ending the drive with a pick from Quincy Maegar.
The Blues were now in a great spot to score again, and was clearly their goal. Kaegi continued to shine on this drive, move the ball both in the air on the ground. He brought the team to the goal line, and on 2nd down snuck it in himself for another touchdown.
With the extra-point good this time, they now lead the Sea Lions 13-0.
GAME DAY ALERT: Connor Kaegi sneaks it in for the #TSLBlues, giving them another touchdown.
Johnson knew that he did not want his team to get too far behind before the half. The Blues defense continued to come out strong, but Johnson was able to keep the ball moving on the first few plays. It didn’t last long though, the Sea Lions ended the drive at 4th & 30, clearly being forced to punt the ball back with 48 seconds left in the half.
The Blues decided to run out the clock and and bring the came to the intermission, with a decent lead. You can expect the Sea Lions to make some adjustments at the half to try and get back into this game.
With the Sea Lions down 13, they will start out the second half with the ball. DeAndrea Johnson was looking like a new man on this drive. Moving the ball, moving the chains, and ending with a touchdown. Johnson threw it looong to KeVonte Turpin for their first score of the afternoon, with the extra-point, it was now a one possession game.
Although the Blues still led, Kaegi came out wanting to build their lead. Their first hand luck was not the same, ending the drive with Kaegi throwing it away; giving the Sea Lions the ball and great field position.
Johnson and the Sea Lions will start the drive 43-yards away from potentially taking their first lead of the game. Relying on their ground game again, Tucker moved the chains on their first play, getting them even closer to their goal. Things took a turn for the worse, in his first week for the team tight end Erik Swoope had a freak injury taking him out for the season with a leg injury.
Stuck on 4th & 1, the Sea Lions kept the offense out there. Luckily for them, DeAndrea Johnson was able to sneak it in for the first down, continuing their drive. Now in the red-zone for the first time, they took three shots at the end-zone but could not convert.
At this point they brought out Garrett Hartley, and with the successful 30-yard field goal they bring the game within three.
GAME DAY ALERT: Garrett Hartley cuts the lead in half for the #TSLSeaLions with a successful 30-yard field goal.
The Blues came into the half with a sizable lead and they’ll be looking to gain some of it back. Kaegi came out strong, throwing it to tight end Hakeem Valles who grabbed the extra yardage on the play moving the chains and giving them a great shot at scoring. Ending the third, Kaegi ran the ball himself, giving them another first down going into the 4th.
The Blues were on a roll going into the last quarter of the game, and they wanted to keep that going. They looked fantantasic on this drive, and were rewarded with a touchdown. Connor Kaegi threw a short pass to Davion Davis, who forced his way into the end-zone.
With Barnes out for the game, the team was out a placekicker, forcing them to go for two. They ultimately couldn’t get it done, but they now lead 19-10 with 14:10 left in the game.
GAME DAY ALERT: The #TSLBlues extend their lead with Connor Kaegi connecting with Davion Davis in the end-zone.
Barnes is out, forcing them to attempt a two-point conversion, but could not complete.
Now down 9, the Sea Lions wanted to sty into this game before it was too late. Early in the drive they were pushed back. Leaving them with 10-yards to pickup on 4th down, forcing them to punt with 9:40 left.
With this drive, The Blues had the chance to run down the clock, grab some points and close out this game. They did bring the game down to 5:26, but they were forced to give it back to the Sea Lions. The Blues did execute perfectly on the punt, pinning the Sea Lions at their own goal-line.
DeAndrea Johnson almost throws it away on the first play, but they were able to get the ball and the first down; keeping their hopes alive. Johnson tried to throw it long to KeVonte Turpin again, but he couldn’t pull it in which would have put them at the 30. Ken Echols-Luper came out on the next play though, pulling in the pass, bringing them to the 40.
The momentum didn’t continue though. DeAndre Johnson threw an interception on the next play with Damon Lloyd giving the Sea Lions possession late in the game.
With a two score lead, the Sea Lions defense had to keep the Blues from the end-zone. They were able to push the Blues back to 3rd & 21, but also exhausted all of their timeouts. The Blues couldn’t get the drive going, but there was now only 3:03 left for the Sea Lions to catchup.
DeAndrea Johnson came out for the Sea Lions, came close, but couldn’t make it happen. The team was forced to go for it on 4th & 1, but the Blues had the ball again. This also gave former Sea Lions QB Nick Fitzgerald a chance to come into the game for the Blues for the first time. With 1:56 left in the game, his task was fairly simple… Run down the clock.
They couldn’t bring it to zero, but they did bring it down to 8 seconds. That was all they really wanted to accomplish, stop the Sea Lions from having the time to get two scores.
With this win, the Blues go even on the season at 2-2, whereas the Sea Lions take a huge hit and drop to 1-3. Two more week remain in The Spring League season, so time is running out if you want to make a run for the Championship. This loss may be the straw that breaks the camels back for the Sea Lions.
What did you think of the first matchup of the day? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.