Chicago hasn’t won a meaningful game since 10/9/17. In a new season and home opener, St. Louis came into The Thunderdome to beat them and remind us “Hey! We beat you guys before, and we will do it again.” Well, they kicked our butts without hesitation. Looking at the overall stats from the last time these two played each other, the stats are similar this go round, give or take some yards and turnovers.
St. Louis loves to run and they brought in the first season running back from USC that is 5’6″ and 205 pounds named Denzel Diaz. Gladiators call Diaz “Mighty Mouse” and I tell you what, he really knows how to run and he does it so erratically forcing guys to miss first steps and tackles while creating running lanes. This is a strong guy that also catches and punt returns.
Freeman  Peltier started this game with a INT in the 1st quarter with 7:32 remaining. There was a defensive TD Colin Douglas called back because Davius Reid had no control on the catch and it appeared as a fumble. Both running backs were running strong in the 1st quarter which ended with a pick by CB Arrington, thus no scores. There was this noise starting in the 2nd quarter in The Thunderdome, I mean it gets loud in the stadium, but this… no one could decipher what anyone else was saying. It kept getting oddly louder “Here I come to save the day!” On a 2nd & 2 on Gladiators 36, Denzel broke on a long run on the right side and finally got tackled all the way from the left side of the field. That placed St. Louis in Wildcats territory on or near the 20. STL settled for 3 with a 35 yard FG putting themselves on the board.
ET King, well both QB’s, were over throwing and missing targets and no one was catching passes. You could tell something about King was not right, DR Sim mentioned it about Chicago should try to be consistent with play. King has a new WR and a new RB that are trying to gel and learn a new system. At this time of the game, ET had only 42 yards and 2 turnovers while the Gladiators’ Alexander had only 25 yards. Then on a 3rd and 12 with 6:50 till halftime, ET threw a great deep pass from shotgun that was caught by the veteran Kendall Gilbert with a one-handed catch TD. St. Louis did not let that lead marinate after a failed attempted swing pass to Diaz that resulted in a missed catch. It was starting again…”Here I come to save the day!”  St. Louis 29 yard line and lined up for I-form that went to the weak-side run that resulted into 71 yard sideline TD. After numerous back and forth of hard hitting steady defense and limited offense from both teams. The 1st Half ended with a 10-10 result, with a Chicago 51 yard field goal. The numbers were unbelievable with run totals of 159 STL / 38 CHI and pass totals of 36 STL / 135 CHI with equal TOP. Neither team had a sack in the 1st Half.
In the 2nd Half, the Wildcats receive the ball and started to work themselves down to mid field in the beginning of the 3rd quarter with passes to Gilbert, Varner and non-stars. With 7:30 on the clock and Big Mo of STL busted through the offensive line and sacked ET, generating the game’s 1st sack. 3rd and 16 with pass thrown to Zellie stopped short of the 1st by Daggs and Peltier. On a 4th & 1 on the 15 with 6:40 left, Wildcats would decide to go for a pump fake to draw the opposition offsides. TO was used and Chicago went for a 32 yard FG giving them a 3 point lead making the score 10-13. STL would come on and was forced to punt after a 3 and out. After a deep out completion from Davis Reid, instead of running the ball, Chicago continued to pass which contributed to the low production of J Calvin Kim. We were ahead after all, now let’s control the clock a little. Next play was a sack by a STL non-star linebacker. Next play there was an attempted completion that was busted by the lack of sideline. See, Gilbert caught the pass but it was out of bounds. Okay… cool. Not so fast. Coach Varner would throw a challenge on the call. We had 2 TO remaining as it was. Gilbert was definitely, without a shadow of doubt, out of bounds. It was one of the other plays that started the spiral of defeat and haunts. With their defense, Chicago makes another stop and has another chance to put on the finishing touches on the game in the end of the 3rd quarter. STL still had to score and fight!
4th quarter slugfest from the start then, we blame Hooty for the interception deflected by Douglas for the Gladiators that brought them inside the 5 yard line. Ethan does a swing pass to Diaz and it was late for Rockafella to bring him down before the endzone. The Gladiators would change the lead again, making it 17-13. Wildcats got another chance, but again fell short and could not get to midfield. Chicago had some claws into St. Louis offense while trying to maintain game leads and bounce backs. Make no mistake, Hendershot was tracking the runner along with Afolabi’s tackles the entire game. The pressure of STL was mounting with Icenhower busting up plays and attacking the QB. ET kept driving the field with a post attacks to non-star Baker, then star Reid. Non-stars are just as important and could change a game. Big Mo makes a solid stop for STL that gives CHI another 4th and short situation. When you have a back like Kim. You have to use him, especially in short yardage with possible game winning possessions. Wildcats got to hunt and eat that is how they survive. Then this happened… We line up for a FG instead of, I don’t know going for the extra yard, scoring a TD with 2:13 remaining so we also have 2:00 warning TO. No instead we go for a fake FG and attempt to pass with the backup QB Holmes scrambling and get totally destroyed by the Gladiators Special Teams group. Why is Kanye returning kicks?!
Game Over!!!    STL 17- CHI 13
Denzel Diaz MVP / Led his team with 29/177 yards 1 TD/ Led his team with 8/21 yards reception 1 TD
Shout out to DR Sim for the coverage call. Thoughts and Prayers with Avry King and the King Family!
[event_details 7715] [event_results 7715] [event_performance 7715]