Sunday, June 01, 2008

Quake at Breakers

Went down to San Juan Capistrano on Saturday night where the Quake were playing at the Southern California Breakers in the seventh game of the season. It was a pretty good game, with a close-fought first half and the Quake pulling away to a 27-0 victory. Intensity is building to playoffs now. The Quake have officially wrapped up the Pacific Southwest division championship, but seedings are still up in the air. In the Western conference, it looks like the division champs will be Dallas, Seattle and California (all three remain undefeated) and it's likely Corvallis will get the wildcard slot, but it's not a done deal yet and the order isn't set. Quake will probably have to travel for their first playoff game ... go to their website and make a donation if you can, it'll cost a bit of money to get the team to the field. Please help!

Scoreless in the first quarter, the Quake got on the board in the second on a long run by Zaky down the left side. Zaky scored again in the third quarter, this time on a short plunge from two and a half yards out. Later in the period, quarterback Kuntz hit Blied on a pretty pass play for a long score, but a errant snap on the PAT kick sent the holder (Blied again) scrambling around in the backfield looking for space, and not finding any. In the fourth quarter, wideout Williams galloped half the length of the field on a reverse with Kuntz throwing the key lead block, much to the visitor's crowd's delight. I've posted some photos on KodakGallery but most of them after nightfall are worthless; my camera did not handle the lighting conditions well at all. (Full-res images will be available on the IWFL image shop soon.)

The Quake defense is looking quite good. The kick coverage, however, needs a little work. California would consistently give up too many yards on kickoffs, letting the Breakers start in good field position on many of their possessions, but then the defense would render it moot by forcing a turnover on downs. I expect the coaches will clean that up a bit before playoffs ;)

Just one word on the Breakers' first play on D. It drew a personal foul, unsportsmanlike penalty and had Quake fans in the visitor's bleachers calling for an ejection when the MLB of the Breakers went early and took the Quake center out of the game with a blow to the head. I've seen that technique on D before, where you are coached to deliberately jump offsides on the first play and hit someone in order to "deliver a message." Now I love good smashmouth football but hate cheap shots and guess which one I think this is. If I were told to do this I would disobey my coach, that's how unclassy I think it is. Anyway, center Avant was able to come back into the game later, which tells me she wasn't concussed, a fortunate thing. And after that opening bit of unpleasantness, both defenses played hard and played clean, which made for a pretty entertaining game.

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