To close out week four of The Spring League, we got an important matchup between the Generals, and the Jousters. Both of these teams were looking to grab a hold of the South Division, as the winner would be solely on top.
In week one, the Generals barely beat the Jousters 21-19, in a game that came down to the wire. Since then, both teams have been playing excellent football, with the Jousters winning two in a row, and the Generals coming off of a 24-9 dismantling of the Blues.
In today’s matchup, it came down to which team had more grit, and determination, as it was a defensive battle throughout the game’s entirety.
The Jousters started things off with the football, and as usual, Luis Perez came out first. However, they were unable to get anything going, and were forced to punt early. However, the Generals also got off to a rocky start, and punted the football right back.
On their second drive, the Jousters swiftly marched down the field, but were held to a field goal inside the five yard line. Aguayo’s kick was good, and they took a 3-0 lead.
GAME DAY ALERT: The #TSLJousters strike first after a successful 2-yard field goal from Ricky Aguayo.
Defense was the big story in quarter one, as neither offense was able to gain much momentum at all.
Despite a decent looking march from the Jousters, a couple of dumb penalties pushed them backwards, and they had to punt again.
What wasn’t much of a surprise, was that our first TD of the game came from the defense. Sal Cannella coughed it up inside the Generals redzone, and Christian Sam scooped and scored, putting the Jousters in front 10-0.
GAME DAY ALERT: Christian Sam grabs fumble and runs it into the end-zone, giving the #TSLJousters their first touchdown of the night.
The Generals were finally able to pick up some first downs, but ultimately had to settle for three, and cut the lead down to seven.
An incredible catch by Anthony Ratliff-Williams set up the Jousters in field goal range, but Luis Perez threw an interception as time expired, and we went into halftime with a 10-3 score.
The Generals started to march, but Ryan Mallett decided to try a no-look pass, and well…it didn’t end quite the way he expected it to. Derrick Jones picked it off, and the Jousters held a 16 point lead going into the final period.
To open up the 4th, the Jousters got into the Generals redzone powered by Scarlett, and Aguayo kicked another FG to make it 22-3.
After a long drive that took up most of the fourth quarter, Mallett finally threw a TD, finding Siaosi Mariner for the score. The two point conversion was good, and the game was pulled within 11 points.
GAME DAY ALERT: Ryan Mallet connects with Siaosi Mariner to grab their first touchdown of the game.
After what we saw tonight from Kevin Gilbride’s group, it is certainly looking like the Jousters will be headed to the championship game. With only two weeks left, and sole possession of the #1 seed, they are in a perfect position to do so.
However, it isn’t guaranteed. The Blues and the Generals are both 2-2, and with two weeks left, the Jousters still need to win out to make it there.
If they lose a game, and the Generals win out, both teams will be 4-2 – and they split the season series against each other, so it will be interesting to see how the TSL would handle that.
With all of that being said, the Jousters definitely have the talent to go all the way. Cameron Scarlett has proved to be an excellent addition in the backfield, putting up 128 yards in his TSL debut. Perez and Anderson didn’t have the best game today, but still did enough to secure a victory.
Granted that Jay Hayes’ defense continues to play how they have so far, I don’t know if anyone can beat them. The mighty Generals didn’t score an offensive touchdown until 3 minutes left in the game, and they made Ryan Mallett look silly all night long. It is going to be hard to score on the Jousters down the stretch.
If the Generals do want to make a championship run, Bart Andrus is going to have to pull his team together quickly. Tonight, they looked all out of sorts, which is not like them.
As the season ends in a couple of weeks, the Generals will have very few opportunities to make it happen – so they will have to be efficient. It is certainly possible, but is going to take quite a bit of work, and tonight was a big step backwards offensively.
Important Stat Lines:
L. Perez: 11/18, 125yds, 1 INT
D. Anderson: 3/6, 44yds
R. Mallett: 16/31, 162yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
C. Scarlett: 25 car, 128yds, 1 TD, 18yds rec.
What did you think of Week 4 in The Spring League? Do you think the Jousters will go to the Championship? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!