By Bob Williams – Enforcers Team Reporter
Chicago – (27 March 2001) — The Enforcers defense, with the exception of late in the game, played very poorly yet they were able to shut out Birmingham Sunday night. Birmingham drove the length of the field three straight times in the first half, but in this battle of “Who wants to win less,” they were unable to cross the goal line.
The Enforcers improved to 3-5 and hold their playoff destiny in their hands when they travel to Giants Stadium to take on the Hitmen this Saturday, but their victory over the ‘Bolts was not without trepidation.
John Avery’s 73 yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage looked like a harbinger of things to come from the Enforcers. Sadly, it wasn’t. Birmingham drove down to the 5 yard line before Jay Barker overthrew and end zone fade pattern giving Corey Ivy his first interception of the night. On Birmingham’s second drive, they took the ball down to the 8 before James Bostic coughed it up. Matt Finkes recovered for Chicago. Then it was Chicago’s turn to show their ineptitude. Kicker Andy Crosland made a 33 yard field goal, but was questionably roughed. Coach Meyer took the points off the board and Crosland promptly missed a 26 yarder three plays later. The Bolts once again drove the length of the field, but Brad Palazzo gave us a reprieve by missing inside 30 yards. After a poor Chicago drive, Palazzo was struck again by the disease which was circulating in this game. He had a kick blocked by Aaron Humphrey and returned to midfield. This set up, you guessed it, a Chicago Field Goal attempt that went awry! This may have been the most entertaining play of the game. The kick was blocked of course and a scrum formed at the 15 yard line. Somehow Crosland came out of the pile with the ball and tried to run around the left end. He promptly got scared out of his mind and lateraled to an Enforcer backup linebacker who, before being tackled, lateraled to another Enforcer. Mercifully, the refs whistled the giant mess dead and the teams went into the locker room with the Enforcers leading 6-0.
The 4th quarter proved to be more of the same. With the Enforcers ahead 13-0, John Avery fumbled giving the Bolts a great oppurtunity to come back. Graham Leigh proceeded to fire the ball into Kerry Cooks’ chest for the 3rd Birmingham INT. Not long after that, Avery came back in to try to achieve a 200 yard game. This was a giant mistake as he was obviously exhausted. He managed to fumble again, and on the next series pull his hamstring on his last carry, which leaves the team in doubt heading to New Jersey.
While its obvious neither team really wanted to win this one, the Enforcers did and with that I am pleased. It means they really need to focus on fundamentals and have a solid game plan in place long before they step on the grass at the Meadowlands. John Avery looms as a huge question mark. His appearance in the line-up could be the difference in this drive to the playoffs.
Chicago Fans! RAISE YOUR FISTS!