Falcons shut out Trojans, secure playoff spot.
Sometimes it seems as if everything you work for, strive for, live for all comes together at once, without knowing what it is that you did differently from other times. This was what the Arnhem Falcons were wondering at the end of the first half against the 010 Trojans this past Sunday.
The scoreboard was showing 24-0 in Arnhem favor by the time both teams went on their “tea-break”. Initially the Trojans provided a bit of a scare. First by running back the opening kickoff for 27 yards, then by adding 33 yards rushing in quick succession before disaster struck for the team from Rotterdam: the first of three fumbles on the day put the Arnhem offense on the field.
Starting at their own 37 yard line, it took the Falcons offense exactly 7 plays to score in what could be described as an “old school” drive: 6 runs, 1 pass capped of by Lennard Harris on a 14 yard TD run. Tim van Mal took care of place kicker duties this game as well and added the extra point for a 7-0 Falcons lead.
The Trojans were determined not to go down easy though as their next drive brought them all the way to a 4th-10 play on the Arnhem 11 yard line. The Trojans sent out the fieldgoal unit, but opted for some trickery by passing the ball to league leading runningback Kevin Wesselink who was finally wrestled out of bounds at the Arnhem 2 yard line, not quite close enough for the first down or the score.
What followed was a Falcons drive that seemed to break the Trojans’ spirit. The Falcons drove the ball to the 36 yard line with power running before a penalty put them back at their own 21 yard line. Then another piece of magic happened when the Trojans completely botched the coverage on the next play, covering tight end Thijs Steffen with three defenders and completely forgetting about wide receiver Matt Newman along the right sideline. Falcons QB AJ Hobbelink immediately spotted the mistake and heaved a ball deep down the right sideline which was easily caught by Newman and turned into a 79 yard touchdown reception. Once again van Mal added the extra point (14-0).
The Trojans seemed unfazed as they returned the kickoff 34 yards to the Trojans 36. However, this was immediately followed by the second Rotterdam turnover of the day when QB Leroy ter Haar saw his pass picked off by Riangelo d’Antonia on the very next play.
What followed was the longest Falcons drive of the game. A 17 play, 67 yard drive basically preempted all expectations of a Trojans comeback. A steady dose of Brandon Stamper and Lennard Harris at runningback combined with sufficient passing attempts to keep the defense honest resulted in Lennard Harris’ second TD of the day, this time from 4 yards out.
Halftime couldn’t come fast enough for Roterdam at that point, but their first half woes on defense weren't over yet In a passing dominated drive, the Falcons managed to get the ball down to the Rotterdam 17 yard line from where kicker Tim van Mal added his first fieldgoal of the season. The 35 yarder made the halftime score 24-0.
In the second half, the Trojans defense stiffened, while the Arnhem offense seemed to take their foot of the gas a little. After four drives in the third quarter neither team had been able to find the red zone. This changed when a Trojans punt fell short and allowed the Falcons offense to start at the Rotterdam 36 line. A balanced drive, which spanned the third to fourth quarter change of sides took the Arnhem offense to the Rotterdam 3 yard line. From here, it was quarterback AJ Hobbelink who ran in the ball for a 1 yard touchdown and a 30-0 lead. The extra point was blocked.
A serious injury to a Trojans player on the next drive took the edge of the remainder of the game. The Trojans drove into Falcons territory, only to fumble and lose the football for a third at the Arnhem 28. From there the game ended with a number of three and out drives from both teams.
Game Notes: Kicker Tim van Mal played his last game for the Falcons, as emigration plans see him and his girlfriend ship off to New Zealand for an unknown, but undoubtedly bright future.
Box score Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Total
Arnhem Falcons 7 17 0 6 30
010 Trojans 0 0 0 0 0