The moment is finally here, The Spring League 2021 season has arrived! Kicking off the action is the Alphas taking on the Aviators out of The Spring League’s North Division at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Limited seats were available for tonight’s matchup, and all North Division games will be double headers. Two games for the price of one… nice!
Unfortunately, if you’re in the Houston area and were hoping to catch a game this season; the South Division games will be closed to the public. No time to think about that though, it’s time for TSL action.
The Aviators started the game with the ball. On the kickoff, Romar Morris was able to bring the up to the 40, giving them prime field position to start. The Aviators opted for Seth Suida at quarterback. Suida started out a bit slow, only moving the chains a couple times. To be fair, The Alphas defense is looking pretty strong right now. The drive ended with a huge sack by Shuler, pushing Suida all the way back to the 20-yard line.
The Alphas put Brian Lewerke in to start their first drive, and Lewerke tried to go out there and make a name for himself. With the first play of the game for the Alphas Lewerke went for a long pass, only for it get to get broken up at the last second. The Alphas did end up seeing some success on the ground, securing a few solid first downs from Blake Morgan drives. The run proved to be a wise choice for the Alphas, bringing them into the red-zone. That’s where the luck ended unfortunately. The team was forced to attempt a field goal, only for it to be blocked by Jalen Embry.
GAMEDAY ALERT: The Alphas attempt a field goal on their first drive, only to have it blocked.
After a few more failed drives, the quarter ultimately ended the same way it started… 0-0.
The Alphas started out the second quarter and once again focused on their run game. Although successful, it wasn’t enough to get the team past the 50. With the Aviators back in possession of the ball, the team opted to put Keller Chryst in at QB. The change seemed to help, but the Alphas defense once again came out on top forcing their opponent to punt.
Coming into the game, former DC Defenders signee, QB Vad Lee, will get his first playing time. The team once again relied on Burt, Morgan and the running game; pushing the ball near the 50. Brian Burt then was able to find a hole, rushing for 25-yards bringing the Alphas within striking distance. With the team continuing to rely on the run game, there was a close call when Burt dropped the ball near the end-zone, but it went out of bounds resulting in a 1st and goal. Luck was finally on their side, right at the goal line Vad Lee was able to run it in. The kick was once again a little shaky, but ultimately successful. The Alphas, with the first points of the season, now held a 7-0 lead over the Aviators.
With less than two minutes to go, the Aviators regained control of the ball. Hoping to tie things up, Chryst was went for a long pass which almost led to an interception. With less than a minute to go and time winding down, Charlie Jones nearly caught a massive catch but resulted in a scary play. The Alphas were charged with a pass interference charge, giving the Aviators a great spot with 24 seconds left in the half. There were a few close attempts at the end-zone, but none were successful. Closing out the half, the Aviators successfully attempted field goal bring the game to 7-3 in the Alphas favor.
Starting out the half Sturghill had an exciting kickoff return for the Alphas near mid-field. All that work work was for nothing as the Aviators defense once again came out on top forcing Brian Burt to fumble and regaining control of the ball.
GAMEDAY ALERT: The Alphas fumble on the first drive of the half.
Unfortunately for the Aviators, things weren’t going their way either. After a quick 3 and outs, the team punted the ball back to their opponents. With Lewerke back in at quarterback for the Alphas, he was having a little better luck moving the ball. Feeling like he was in his rhythm, he went for the end-zone only to find the Aviators Joseph Puto securing the interception.
GAMEDAY ALERT: Putu secures the interception in the Alphas end-zone, giving the Aviators possession of the ball with 9 minutes to go in the 3rd. #TSL#TSL2021#TheSpringLeague
The Aviators couldn’t do much with the possession, forced to punt it away. The Alphas were able to capitalize on the play, driving the ball down the field far enough to secure another field goal adding to their lead, bringing them to 10-3. The Aviators continued to suffer on the field, ultimately leading to their first fumble of the game giving the Alphas a chance to add some more buffer to the score.
At third and goal Lee passed it to Ka’ronce Higgins, but came up just a yard short of the touchdown. Aviators head coach Peter Vass challenged the play, but was unsuccessful because Higgins feet were in the end-zone but the ball never crossed the plane. On 4th down, the Alphas decided to go for it at the goal-line, resulting in Vad Lee once again running it in for the touchdown. After another successful extra-point attempt the Alphas now held a commanding 17-3 lead over the Aviators.
GAMEDAY ALERT: Vad Lee once again scores for the Alphas at the goal line on 4th down.
After a few failed drives from both teams, the Alphas once again got back into scoring position. Once in the red-zone, Blake Morgan once again showed off his skills breaking free for a 19-yard run for a touchdown. The Alphas were unable to secure the extra-point, but they were able to add to their lead putting them up 23-3.
GAMEDAY ALERT: Blake Morgan breaks free on a 19-yard run to secure another touchdown for the Alphas.
With 6″02 left in the game the Alphas had a bit of a scare when Taeron Brown was covering his receiver with his head down and hit his own teammate. Helmet to helmet hits are always worrisome, and admittedly it didn’t look good at first. Thankfully, Brown was able to get up and walk off the field on his own. It’s likely that he suffered a concussion, and will be missing at minimum the next week of action.
The Aviators were finally able to get some plays moving on their next drive. After three successful connections, a first for them this game, they were able to get in the end-zone. They were unable to secure the extra-point, but they took some of the lead away bringing it to 23-9.
Morgan once again showcased his running skills, dodging a few tackles and brining the Alphas to the 45 with a little over two-minutes left in the game. Moving into gear, the Aviators defense once again forced a fumble giving them the ball. It proved to be a little too late for the Aviators, their Alphas had built up a strong enough lead to hold them over and give them the first win of the season. Chryst was doing well moving the ball down the field, but the drive ended with an interception by the Alphas.
Final | 23-9 Alphas over the Aviators
The game started out slow and ended in similar fashion. If that worries you, it shouldn’t. The more games these teams play, the more they will gel. We saw this with The Spring League in 2020 and absolutely expect it this season. There were some shining moment in the game, notably Brian Burt and Blake Morgan proving to be a duel threat on the ground for the Alphas.