TEAM EFFORT LIFTS KINGS
Pensacola, FL – The Crescent City Kings picked up the most significant win in their inaugural season, defeating the Panhandle Crusaders 26-20 in a GDFL Southwest division showdown. Under the bright lights of Booker T. Washington High School, the Kings showed the grit, resilience and determination of a team not ready to fold the tent on their season.
The Crusaders ruled in the first quarter connecting on a few long passing plays and playing stingy, tough defense. Their early dominance led them to an early 12 point lead and the Kings seemed destined for another disappointing Saturday night. On this night, however, the Kings played with royal perseverance, outscoring the home team 26-8 for the final three quarters.
As customary for the defense led Kings, it was the defensive unit that sparked the biggest turnaround of the season. Kings defensive back Keywan Bullock stepped in front of an Octavius Smith pass and raced 65 yards, dodging every Crusader on the field for the Kings first score of the night. The dazzling play ignited the Kings sideline and that boost ledthe Kings to their first comeback win of the season. With the help of a few penalties the Crusaders once again found the endzone, increasing their lead to 20-6 shortly before half-time.
In the second quarter with a few minutes left on the clock before the half Bullock intercepted another pass giving the On a night when the hearts of the entire organization grieved with Kings Director of Football Operations Sherman Gillum, the team showed the resilience needed to finish the season strong over the next month.
Kings much needed momentum with their season undoubtedly on the line.
The momentum gained from the Bullock interception swelled into a wave of confidence after quarterback Jahmad Goff found wide receiver David Smith for a 36 yard completion just before half. Goff would make good of the drive by punching in a quarterback sneak from 2 yards out, for a 20-12 score.
The second half was dominated by the Kings. The Kings offensive line opened gaping holes for running backs Jeremy Robertson and Derek Williams, the 1-2 punch combined for 142 yards on only 15 carries. The defensive unit caused 5 turnovers and quickly rebounded from the early punches thrown by the Crusaders offense.
After exchanging punches the Kings delivered a haymaker when Goff connected with Akeem Davis for a spectacular 32 yard touchdown. Davis rose above the defender like a NBA rebounder and snatched a potential season changing touchdown. Even though the score was tied the game felt as if the Kings were ahead by several touchdowns. The defensive front harassed talented QB Octavius Smith and the secondary clamped down on the Crusaders speedy recievers.
With the score tied it was once again Bullock who provided yet another game changing play. His third interception and 70 yard return set up the go ahead score. On the first play from scrimmage Goff rolled right, evaded the rush and threw a 38 yard strike to wide receiver #80 Michael Williams putting the Kings ahead for good.
The Kings trailed the division leading Crusaders by 2 games coming in to their first meeting of the season, with Saturday’s victory they are now positioned to make a run at the GDFL playoffs and a possible division championship. The Kings lifted their record to 3-4 and 3-1 within the division. The Kings have two division games remaining and are in position to make a late season push to the division crown.
The Kings had several stars on this night, the offensive line constantly moved the Crusaders back, Keywan Bullock recorded 3 interceptions, a fumble recovery and a TD, linebacker Bernard Jones posted 8 tackles with 2.5 sacks, and defensive mountain Trish Stephens controlled the middle with 8 tackles and two sacks including one on the final play of the game.
On a night when the hearts of the entire organization grieved with Kings Director of Football Operations Sherman Gillum, the team showed the resilience needed to finish the season strong over the next month.