by QCC Twitter
Entering the game, the Carolina Skyhawks were coming off a close 13-16 defeat to the London Knights just a week after defeating the defending champion Mexico City Aztecs. It has been a up-and-down season for Carolina so far and they were looking to start getting back to their winning ways as they traveled to Buffalo to face the Queen City Corsairs. The Corsairs, meanwhile, had a crushing defeat on the road against the Tallahassee Pride, who tore apart their defense in route to a big victory. Queen City had been undefeated prior and was eager to show that their loss in Tallahassee was, in fact, a fluke.
1ST QUARTER: A Defensive Battle
Early in the game, the Queen City defense looked to be much improved from a week prior when Christian Christiansen and the Pride tore them up in the passing game. They even held Mark Biddix and his crew from scoring on the opening drive. The Corsairs responded with a nice drive of their own, but suddenly a big turnover, an interception from AJ Caswell, gave the ball right back to the Skyhawks. Caswell is great at protecting the ball, but today’s game would not help his stats. Carolina took advantage of the good field position and Mark Biddix found Mark Strike for a touchdown to put them up 7-0. The Corsairs adjusted on offense and responded with a nice touchdown from Caswell to Memphis Blue to tie the game 7-7. The game then turned into a defensive battle, with each team picking off the quarterbacks on what seemed like every subsequent drive. The first quarter ended 7-7 with both offenses looking to finally work themselves out of an early rut.
2ND QUARTER: Turnover City
The second began with a shot from AJ Caswell to WR Chris Curtis to put Queen City up 14-7. Biddix and the Skyhawks couldn’t get anything going against the improved Corsairs defense, who were playing like they had something to prove after last week’s embarrassment. Even the defensive line as getting pressure, taking down Biddix on multiple occasions. Meanwhile, Caswell found Curtis again in the endzone to put the Corsairs up 21-7. It was their second connection on the afternoon. Right before halftime, newly signed safety Nacho Sicario picked off Mark Biddix for the third time to keep the score 21-7 heading into halftime.
HALFTIME: O Captain, My Captain
At halftime, both teams were struggling with turnovers and fairly evenly matched statistically. The Corsairs were consistently able to get nice chunk yardage from star HB Ash Odom, who rushed for over 100 yards and averaged over 11 yards per carry in the first half. They would rely on him to continue to rack up yardage and open up the passing attack for Caswell. As for Carolina, Biddix and his linemen needed to work together to keep Biddix upright so he could find his targets, like Mark Strike and Trystan Dieciseis. If they could get HB AJ Francis going, too, it might give them the spark they needed.
3RD QUARTER: Queen City Defense Steps Up
The second half began much where the first half ended up. Carolina struggled offensively while Caswell put up his fourth touchdown on the day, this time to non-contract WR Joe Simpson, Queen City’s return man, to put the score 28-7. The Skyhawks were able to muster themselves behind the leadership of Mark Biddix and finally score for the first time since Queen City put up 28 unanswered points. Biddix found WR Mark Strike for the second time to make the score 28-14. After a three-and-out by Queen City, Biddix led the Skyhawks downfield again, but had to settle for a field goal that made it 28-17 after LB Alex Cross stopped them on a pivotal third down. It began to feel like a comeback was possible for Carolina. The third quarter ended 28-17, QCC.
4TH QUARTER: Too Little, Too Late
If any attempt was going to be made by Carolina to win this game, they needed to keep the Corsairs out of the endzone. Unfortunately, AJ Caswell was on point for this game, and found TE Mike Daggs to put them up 35-17. Carolina went into a more pass-heavy attack with the clock running down, but DE Jeff Duffy and DT Tommy Smith applied pressure consistently and even took Biddix down on multiple occasions. With the ball back, Queen City’s prerogative should have been running the ball, but it seemed like they wanted to make a statement win, continuing to throw the ball with only minutes left in the game. With three minutes left, they hit a field goal to go up 38-17. The Skyhawks tried their best to get the ball downfield, but Phoenix Blue and the Queen City defense would not let any long balls past them this week, learning from their mistakes in Tallahassee last week. Ash Odom managed necessary first downs, the clocked ticked down, and the game ended with a 38-17 Queen City victory.
Queen City improves to 3-1 on the season and hosts the defending champion Mexico City Aztecs in Week 5. The Corsairs won the SFL Kickoff showdown against MEX in Week 1, but they will have to be prepared for a hungry 1-3 Aztecs team.
Carolina falls to 1-3 on the year, and host the Atlanta Swarm in Carolina, who are trying hard to bounce back after a tough loss to the undefeated Alaska Storm.