BNL: Brussels Black Angels edge Amsterdam Crusaders in nail biter to stay unbeaten

The Brussels Black Angels staged a minor upset Saturday night in BNL league action in Brussels when they held the Amsterdam Crusaders to two touchdowns to come away with a 17-14 win to stay unbeaten while handing Amsterdam their first loss of the season.

The game was billed as a battle between the two top teams in the BNL and it lived up to its hype.

But the opening score was less than spectacular.

A deep punt by Black Angels kicker Hadrien Godichal on the game’s first possession landed on the Amsterdam three-yard line. The Crusaders, unable to move the ball were forced to punt themselves but an errant snap sent the ball sailing through the end zone giving Brussels two points for the safety.

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Brussels WR Thomas Bouron #10 was brilliant catching two touchdown passes. Photo: Sandra Ruhe

Then, on the ensuing drive following Amsterdam’s kickoff, the Black Angels struck immediately as quarterback Tomasz Firszt connected with wide receiver Thomas Bouron for a touchdown increasing the lead to 9-0 after Godichal booted the extra point.

It wasn’t the start the visitors had been hoping for.

Early in the second quarter, Amsterdam finally got on the scoreboard. Quarterback Jasper Nijland connected with French WR #33 Olivier Lugier on a deep pass taking the ball down to the three-yard line. Three plays later, after the Brussels front seven stuffed two straight runs, Nijland found wideout Melvin Maasdamme for the touchdown and with the 2-point conversion by Mani Blijd the Crusaders suddenly had closed the gap to just 9-8.

Both defenses then stiffened, and the score remained 9-8 heading into the break.

Amsterdam opened the second half impressively as Nijland marched his team on a 10 play, 87-yard drive, capping it with a 17-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Younes Kwyasse to give the Crusaders a 14-9 lead. A two-point conversion attempt was thwarted by Brussels.

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Amsterdam’s French WR Olivier Lugier #33 Photo: Sandra Ruhe

The Black Angels answered on the very next drive as Firszt orchestrated a 10 play, 70-yard drive, converting two straight fourth downs, both through completions to wide receiver Thomas Bouron, the second one for a 10-yard touchdown. Running back Arkadi Meerschout caught the two-point conversion pass and Brussels extended the lead to 17-14.

The fourth quarter saw a defensive battle including an outstanding goal line stand by Amsterdam but neither team was able to find the end zone giving Brussels the upset 17-14 win.

The Black Angels now sit atop the BNL at 4-0 while the “Cru” drops to 4-1 after suffering their first loss.

Next weekend, Brussels will play host to the struggling Ghent Gators who haven’t managed to get a win yet this season while the Crusaders don’t return to the field until May 15 when they too face the Gators.

With information from Robbe Pieters.

Photos: Sandra Ruhe

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