Ghent Gators top AAFC for a playoff berth in Belgium

The Ghent Gators earned a playoff berth in Belgium’s top league on the field of the Division two champions in the FAFL, the AAFC. With an 18 – 0 victory they showed their dominance in a hard fought game. The Gators continue their quest for another Belgian Bowl next week against the Grez-Doiceau Fighting Turtles.

After a scoreless first quarter the Gators opened the score with a pass from quarterback Gilles Van Overschelde to wide receiver Benoit Lagae resulting in a 6 – 0 lead for the team from Ghent. The two point conversion was intercepted by AAFC cornerback Nils de Groef who, just two plays before had dropped a sure interception. The Antwerp team could not make a first down and Ghent scored again as wide receiver Thomas Lezy found the end zone while breaking a couple of tackles. The Gators two point conversion failed again as running back Sander De Gussem was stopped short of the end zone.

After halftime the team from Antwerp still failed to put points on the board. After an interception by Belgian Barbarian safety Isaac Luntadila Lufungula gave the AAFC good field position, the offense could not get the ball moving. In the fourth quarter, the Gators put the icing on the cake as van Overschelde connected with wide receiver Benoit Lagae to make the final score 18 – 0.

The Gators were a bit to strong for the new Antwerp team. The big difference was in execution. The Gators offense took advantage of the great field position provided by their defense. Turnovers were costly for the AAFC while the Gators did not suffer from their turnovers.

Gators head coach Roald Piqueur was happy after the game but still sees room for improvement:

“We made some small mistakes. Especially finishing a drive in the redzone was not our strong suits. And the fact we missed all three of our two point conversions bothers me as well. But we managed to score three times and that was enough for a win.”

Next stop for Ghent is a game against the number 2 team from the LFFA, the Grez-Doiceau Fighting Turtles. They beat the Waterloo Warriors on Sunday 21-16, while the Liège Monarchs lost to the Brussels Tigers 29-8 and dropped to third place.

After the game it was not clear for Piqueur who they would be playing on Sunday:

“Doesn’t matter who we play. It really hard to know what we are up against. A little bit like today. We’ve never played this teams and you don’t see a lot during the season. On top of that there is only a limited amount of game film that is available.

This week we will have to work on red zone efficiency, ball security and so on. Especially our offense needs some work. On the defensive side we missed some interception but our foundation was good enough to not worry about this.”

Original article in Dutch by Arne Dewolf

Photo: Gary Dibble (GD Photography)

Luther Rommens is a young American Football player from Antwerp, Belgium and a regular contributor to AFI.