Braves Overcome Turnovers to Beat Celtics 18-7

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Braves (orange) line up in a four wide formation. Picture by: Sean Goodwin

Back to the Blue division I went for this weeks flag football article.  There were two matchups that caught my eye looking at the schedule for this past Monday. Hellagoods were playing Straight Flags, and the Braves were going against the Celtics.  After an easy blowout win from Hellagoods I knew Celtics and Braves would be my game to cover.  The Buffalo Celtics brought a 2-0 record, and a week off due to a bye they had last week.  The Buffalo Braves had a 2-1 record, and were coming off a tight 11 point victory against No Limit last week.

The Celtics and the Braves were number one and number two in points allowed coming into the game.  However the Braves were able to get off to a quick start on offense.  Braves quarterback Chris Lonzi was able to complete four of his first five throws on the first drive.  His last pass was a short dump off to Dame Powell who dodged several defenders before scampering to the end zone for the games first score.  After a miscue between Leseaon and Lonzi on the PAT the score was 6-0 Braves.  The Celtics came into the game without their regular QB Terrell, and instead went with the big 6’ 6’’ Ace under center for the game.  Their first drive got off to a good start, but they failed to score from just outside the end zone on fourth and goal.  However, the Celtics defense made their first great play of the night on the Braves first play following the turnover on downs.  Daryl Rose made a fantastic leaping play on the ball and picked off Lonzi who rushed the throw.  Ace lead the offense back on the field for another try at scoring from short yardage on the goal line.  However, they just went backwards as their first three plays of the drive went sack, sack, and an interception by Brian Stevens in the end zone.  Dame was calling out for the sacks lead as he had both of those two sacks off great individual speed rushes.  The interception fest continued as the next two plays went for interceptions.  Rich Anderson made unbelievable diving catch on throw away from Lonzi.  It had me thinking off Troy Polamalu against the Chargers many years ago.  Lonzi made up for the mistake immediately by picking off Ace on the Celtics first play of their drive.  The score at halftime ended up at 6-0 Braves in the lead.

Celtics did not play great offense in the first half, and I could tell offense was the topic of improvement in their halftime huddle.  They had the ball at the start of the second half, and took just three plays to get their first touchdown of the game.  Robert Malave finally made a play in the game and got wide open on a great route for a 38 yard touchdown.  Celtics bench erupted in cheer as they finally found a crack in the Braves defense.  Things got even better for the Celtics when Daryl Rose picked off Lonzi again on the next drive.  The Celtics offense, again, could not capitalize off their interception.  Braves brought relentless pressure to Ace who looked exactly like a last minute fill in at quarterback.  The Braves on the other hand got the tie breaking touchdown on a deep 51 yard touchdown from Lonzi to Leseaon.  Leseaon ran a fantastic post route, and the Celtics safety was nowhere to be found as Leseaon walked across the end line.  Yusef would add a pick six on the final play and the Braves had upset undefeated Celtics 18-7.

The player of the game was pretty much decided at halftime as Dame Powell was the best player on both sides of the ball for the Braves.  He had 4 receptions for 82 yards and a score, and had two straight plays of sacks when Celtics had a first and goal at the one.  Leseaon added continued to score touchdowns as he has had at least one in three straight games for the Braves.  Lonzi also was able to shake off four interceptions, and make the big time throw in the clutch to Leseaon for the winning score.  The Celtics will try to rebound against winless Straight Flags next week while Braves get a rematch with Hellagoods, who handed the Braves their only loss this season back in week one.

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