Amsterdam Crusaders capture BNL Bowl II to win 2nd straight title

The Amsterdam Crusaders defended their BNL title by cranking up the defense, holding the Brussels Black Angels to a single touchdown and then coming alive late in the game to come away with a 17-7 BNL Bowl II win this past weekend.

The two teams entered the game having split the regular season series with Brussels taking the first contest 17-14 and the Crusaders gaining revenge in the final regular season game, 24-19. Amsterdam then defeated the Limburg Shotguns 28-20 in the semifinal after staging a fourth quarter comeback.

The opening half was filled with nervous play as mistakes abounded from both teams and neither was able to gain any momentum. Both defenses ruled the first two quarters until late in the second stanza. Amsterdam quarterback Melvin Maasdamme, replacing an injured Jasper Nijland, marched his team from his own 14 yard line down to the Brussels five yard line including a 38 yard strike to wide receiver Younes Kwyasse. The drive stalled there though but kicker Hasan Ozan Al booted a 22 yard field goal to give Amsterdam a 3-0 heading into the half.

Amsterdam WR Olivier Lugier #33 Photo: Bob de Calonne

The second half opened with the Brussels offense finally waking up. On the Black Angels second play from scrimmage quarterback Tomasz Firszt hit wide receiver Laurent Bogaerst for a 30 yard gain down to the Amsterdam 30. Although the drive stalled, Brussels were back at it on their next possession with Firszt marching his team down to the Crusaders three yard line before finding tight end Alexandre Delmotte in the end zone to give the Black Angels a 7-3 lead.

Amsterdam RB Berto Stuijt heading for the end zone to score game’s final TD Photo: Bob de Calonne

Still, despite dominating on the field in the third quarter, the Black Angels were unable to find the end zone again after they kept shooting themselves in the foot taking multiple penalties.

Brussels QB Tomasz Firszt evading Amsterdam defenders

Midway through the fourth quarter with Amsterdam trailing 7-3, the Crusaders offense came to life. With the tough, physical play of running back Berto Stuijt, the Crusaders marched deep into Black Angels territory. Maasdamme drove his team to the Brussels 15 yard line and then found Olivier Lugier in the corner of the end zone to give Amsterdam a 10-7 lead late in the game.  On their very next drive, with less than two minutes left, Stuijt put the game away with a 35 yard touchdown.

The victory was sweet for the Amsterdam squad who, for the second game in a row, had to dig deep late in the game for the win.

Photos: Bob de Calonne

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