By Jeremy Vega
Four weeks of anticipation, three weeks of trash talk, two teams ready to do battle, one winner. Tallahassee Pride vs Vancouver Legion, two of the most active teams in the league, both heading in different directions, both coming into Week 4 with something to prove. Pride, wanting to continue an undefeated season while showing the league that they are very capable of walking the walk and talking the talk. Vancouver, trying to climb back to .500 and show the league they have what it takes to make the playoffs after another rough start to the season. Snubbed of an opportunity to be the fan voted game of the week, the match-up still got a Saturday night semi prime time game that both teams dubbed “The Real GOTW”. The 1st quarter of the game had everything you would want, both teams scoring and battling. Unfortunately for Vancouver, it only lasted one quarter as the Pride took over. Lets get into the breakdown starting with the Tallahassee Pride.
Too Much Purple in Vancouver
The Pride came into the game not afraid to continue doing what has been working for them all year. Throwing the ball all over the field, it doesn’t matter where, they will and have been flinging the rock wherever they please. In the 1st quarter the Pride hurt themselves with mistakes. Interceptions including one in the redzone. The Pride failed to punch it in a couple of time early, but their offense certainly wasn’t stalling. They were bombing the ball down field as usual, but Vancouver managed to not let those big plays turn into huge runs for touchdowns. After one quarter, it was apparent that the Legion were not going to be able to stop the passes down field as the Pride attacked the Penitentiary downfield. After the 1st quarter, the game turned into the Pride show, as they dominated through the air and with big play after big play. Offensive coordinator Alex Bond beautifully mixed in runs with both the RB and FB to keep the Legion defense confused. The game turned into what most thought it would, a blowout. QB Christian Christiansen continued his MVP performance throwing for nearly six-hundred yards and four touchdowns. Both Pride receivers are playing on a level never seen in the SFL as they combined for 21 receptions, 500 yards and 4 touchdowns. FB Caleb Connelley, quietly helped keep the balance of the offense and throw the defense off balance. He picked up drive saving first downs, ran for a touchdown, and even had a handful of receptions. Caleb finished the day with 8 carries for 53 yards and a touchdown, while hauling in 4 receptions for 16 yards. A performance that earned him player of the week and a game ball in the Pride Locker room. Switching over to the defense, the Pride came out pressuring QB Tom Pepper of the Legion. The D-line compiled 6 total sacks, 10 tackles for a loss, and forced Tom Pepper to make off balance and forced throws all game. SS Alex Bond recorded a hat trick of interceptions, as well as 8 total tackles and a couple of pass deflections earning him the Pride player of the week and a game ball as well. The Pride, one of three undefeated teams heading into Week 5, are ready to head across the pond to face the London Knights who are enjoying success of their own. At this point in the early season I would not bet against the Pride offense, but only time will tell if they can keep up this level of domination.
Legion Home Opener Spoiled
The Legion finally made their return to Vancouver, coming off a big win and hungry to get back to .500. With a huge game in Week 4 against a dominant Pride team, the Legion came out battling with everything they had. Unfortunately, it only lasted one quarter as they succumbed to the Pride offense like the last three teams the Pride dominated. Captain and QB Tom Pepper, showed poise in the pocket even in the face of pressure as he was able to really get the Legion offense clicking in the 1st quarter. The offense sputtered through the final three quarters with interceptions from Pepper really hurting the team as he threw four picks. Per usual, Tom had a very efficient game passing, but was haunted by a D-line that certainly helped force those throws that turned into picks. Brett Killian had a monster game pulling in 11 receptions for 200-plus yards and a score. Newcomer Trevor Ferril had a great game again, hauling in 9 receptions for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Penitentiary was able to hold their own early, forcing turnovers and redzone stops. They gave up big passes, but were able to corral the Pride receivers and keep them from breaking off big runs. Too much Pride passing, and not enough correct play calling, left the secondary constantly chasing the Star duo wide outs. After the 1st quarter, the game just got away from the Legion and they couldn’t battle back into it going scoreless through quarters two and three, and short of a big catch and run for a touchdown it was almost 3 scoreless quarters. The Legion, every week come away from their games with things to build on as they have success in certain aspects of their game, even if they are not coming away with a W. Having played 3 top five teams through four weeks, the Legion schedule will ease up over the next four weeks giving the Legion the ability to put together some wins, get over .500, and get ready to make a push down the stretch to reach the playoffs for a second consecutive year. Week 5 the Legion will travel to Houston to play their new rivals for the first time this season.
Id like to congratulate all players, owners, and SFL staff for a great four weeks of regular season action. What is to come over the next eight weeks is anyone’s guess, but it will certainly be entertaining. Thanks as always to the readers for checking on all our Beat writer recaps. With more content on the horizon continue to check the #sflalerts and the website for more content. Thank you all. One Love