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Freeman Fumbles in Brooklyn Bolts Loss

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The FXFL’s reason for existence is to show case talent that has aspirations of playing in the NFL.  It also is the dress rehearsal for those looking to return.

On a night where the conditions were quite unsuitable for optimum performance, what we got was a highlight film that made the case why it’s best to sometimes postpone a game for everyone’s good.

The 28-6 beating that the Florida Blacktips laid on the Brooklyn

Bolts was more a case of natural intervention than superior play on the field.

“We did not play well with the football tonight,” summarized first year Head Coach of the Bolts, Terry Shea, “You can say about the elements, we just didn’t play like we need to play.” This was disappointing for a team that was 4-0 here in MCU Park last year.

Josh Freeman, who chose not to speak to media afterward, saw his body of work speak volumes on the wet, damp, field, losing the ball five times and turning it over three times. The former starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has seen better days. It would be hard to believe on this evening that this man through for 80 touchdowns in his NFL career. “He was subpar and it culminated in that interception on the first play of the second half,” Shea responded, “He threw it right into coverage.”

He started the game well with a couple of good throws driving Brooklyn to the Blacktips twenty in his first series. But the sheets of rain that protruded the field and which drove the estimated 2,000 fans who attended under the roofs in the concourse section struck when Freeman fumbled the snap and lost possession. “We have no signature as to who we are on offense, our running back position is a shambles, our lead back is out with a hip issue, so we’re basically playing with two fullbacks in our backfield.”

It made for great conditions for a Bolts defense that was stingy throughout, shutting down the run totally with Manny Asprilla all over the field stopping flank runs and breaking up passes. So, despite the conditions, took advantage of the opportunity. “That’s why these young men are here,” Shea agreed, “To show their skills on film and tonight there were some individuals who played well. John Harris showed grit.” It was quite welcome considering out of the six receivers he came into the game with, he finished with three.

It was an equal opportunity program being run last night as far as miscues. Freeman lost it often but it was second string quarterback Jake Heaps that saw everything he touched turn to scores, for the opposition that is. After a scoreless first quarter which include a field goal miss from Ty Long, Heaps fumbled when nearly sacked and watched helpless as it deflected through his end zone for a safety. Soon after, in the shadow of his zone once more, Heaps fumbled it once more and Chris Alvarez of the Blacktips recovered it for the score and a two point conversion run from Jason Isom made it 10-0.

If the half ended there it could have been deemed somewhat respectable. But Freeman, on his three, lost the snap again. Blacktip quarterback Austin Trainor found wide receiver Andrew Opoku in the right corner as it deflected off the hands of a Bolt defender and the half was over 16-0 in favor the Florida outfit. “Everything that could have happened to us in the first half happened to us in terms of an avalanche of mishaps and obviously poor ball protection on our part.” Bolts Head Coach Terry Shea explained. “The touchdown we gave up at the end of the first half was really a misfortunate thing.”

The Bolts had nine practices to prepare for this contest but it did not show very well in the area of basic protection of the ball and that was the theme of the half and the game at large. It didn’t get any better when Freeman threw an interception that led to a running score and a 22-0 deficit. “We wanted to try and get back into the game and gain some momentum,” Shea recalled, “And I’ll be darned if we don’t throw an interception on the first possession.”

But a ray of light appeared in the darkness of the storm for an instant when the Blacktips fumbled the kickoff and Mylan Hicks recovered it on the six. Freeman found his touch and threw a five yard dart to John Harris in the left corner and though they failed in the two point conversation, down 22-6, they had a chance. But in the dying seconds of the third quarter, Freeman fumbled it again to the opposition.

The balance of the contest was a painful desire for the clock to expire for Brooklyn fans. But a moment of heart was expressed by the defense as Brooklyn made a goal line stand to get possession at the one with a minute remaining. “Our defense had every reason to roll over there,” Shea recalled, “That’s a building block that this football has to build on.” But, the Bolts were to suffer one more indignity as Jake Heaps, on his one, capped the night with a pass into traffic and he found Matt Oh, who returned it for the final scoring play of the contest and at 29-6, Brooklyn walked off the field dejected in as many ways a team can be. The Blacktips, enthusiastic from the start ran off like giddy kids with this victory. “This game is behind us,” Shea pointed out, “Now we have to make sure we know how to protect the football and play the game with that same attitude that our defense showed when they held them out of the end zone at the end of the game.”

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