Week 4 of The Spring League kicked off tonight with a double header on FS1, as the North Division continued their season in Indianapolis. It started with a crucial matchup between the 2-1 Linemen, and the 2-1 Conquerors – both looking to grab ahold of the #1 seed.
The Linemen have been playing excellent football all season long, coming off a 47-7 shellacking of the Alphas. Ryan Willis threw for almost 300 yards and 3 TDs, as Hal Mumme’s offense was unstoppable.
Meanwhile, the Conquerors blasted the Aviators 34-7 in their last game, and they continue to show a nice balance between their air and ground attack. Kevin Anderson and Brandon Silvers have both been contributing, along with Sola Olateju and Jordan Salima in the backfield.
It was bound to be an exciting matchup tonight, and it most certainly was.
To open things up, the Linemen received the kickoff, and swiftly got to work. Ryan Willis dropped a dime to Tra Minter to set them up inside the 5 yard line, but a penalty on Reece Horn held them to a field goal. Jonathan Song knocked through a 30 yarder, putting the Linemen up 3-0.
The Conquerors started to march down the field, but ultimately stalled and had to punt the football on their opening drive.
Willis once again made some impressive throws to get the Linemen down the field, but they had to settle for 3, and Song hit from 49 yards out to make it 6-0.
GAME DAY ALERT: The #TSLLinemen add three more with Jonathan Song knocking in the 49-yard field goal.
In the early second quarter, the Conqueror’s offensive struggles continued, and they were forced to punt.
Despite an excellent defensive hold, Song was hit on the punt attempt, which gave the Linemen another chance. The entire drive was kept alive by Conqueror penalties, which they ended up paying for. Willis found Minter on a short TD pass, and the Linemen went up 13-0.
GAME DAY ALERT: The #TSLLinemen add to their lead with Ryan Willis connecting with Tra Minter in the end-zone.
In contrast to week one when these two teams faced off, the Conquerors’ offense was dead in the water. They hardly moved the ball in the first half, which led to them having to punt on every possession.
However, in the final two minutes, they were able to put it together. Anderson made some solid throws, and Salima converted on a 4th and 1 to keep the drive alive. A 95 yard pick six was negated by a penalty, and Anderson found Cole Spieker to make it 13-7 going into halftime.
After another solid drive offensively, the Linemen settled for a field goal, regaining the lead to go up 16-13.
However, the Conquerors took control quickly. Brandon Silvers replaced Kevin Anderson as usual in the 3rd, and he quickly marched his team down, finding Cole Spieker on an absolute bullet in the endzone, putting the Conquerors up 20-16.
GAME DAY ALERT: With Brandon Silvers now in for the #TSLConquerors they go back on top with a connection to Cole Spieker.
The Conquerors, then, drove down the field, taking their time, and running down most of the clock – only to have Cole Murphy hook a 39 yard field goal, and the Linemen took over, but time expired before they could score.
GAME DAY ALERT: Cole Murphy goes 0-6 on the season, missing a 39-yard attempt with 39 seconds remaining.
Overtime looks quite a bit different in the TSL. The coach who loses the coin toss gets to choose where the ball is spotted, and then the coach who won the toss gets to choose whether or not he wants the ball first.
Ever seen the coaches meet at midfield for the overtime coin toss?
To quickly answer this question: yes. I mean, c’mon now. This is exactly the type of game we were looking for all season long. Two high powered offenses with stout defenses going at it – and go at it they did.
The first half was controlled by the Linemen, but the Conquerors put themselves in a position to make a comeback. They made the comeback, and then grabbed hold of momentum…until they couldn’t firmly grasp it.
I don’t know if we have ever seen a more intense 4th quarter in spring football…(with the exception of LA vs TB). The sheer amount of offensive explosions we saw in the final 15 minutes was absolutely incredible – and getting to see overtime for the first time was a real treat.
For the Linemen, Ryan Willis played his heart out. He finished the day with 4 touchdowns, and 444 yards through the air: setting a TSL record. Michael Dareus was a star, catching 9 passes for 160+ yards, a touchdown, and a clutch two point conversion to tie the game at the end – not to mention that huge catch in OT.
While Kevin Anderson struggled for the Conquerors, Brandon Silvers came in and proved his worth in an outstanding performance, throwing for a few scores and leading his team back when it looked like it was going to be a blowout. Sola Olateju played spectacular once again, and Cole Spieker was spot on for his team.
At the end of the day, this game will certainly go down as one of the most exciting in TSL history, and we hope you were able to enjoy it with us.
As these teams head into the final weeks of the season, both should be proud of the way they’ve played so far. The Linemen took control of the division tonight, but the Conquerors absolutely battled it out until the end.
With two weeks left, the Conquerors will need to win out if they want to make the championship game. On the other hand, the Linemen will have to keep their foot on the gas if they want to secure the division for good.
Did you enjoy watching this game? Who do you think will win the North Division? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!