Sunday, 29 March, 2015:
Today was Palm Sunday and the first day of European Daylight Savings Time in toasty Murcia, temperatures in the mid-80s at kickoff.
It looked to be a "Beautiful Day for American Football!" at the 11:00 a.m. kickoff for today's Serie B contest.
Beat the Zaragoza Hornets 15-0
Lost to the Reus Imperials 14-34
Beat the Barcelona Búfals 20-13
Beat the Santurtzi Coyotes 19-16
Cobras Pagatina Leader Alberto
Confirming Special Teams Line-ups
If they correct those Red Zone offensive issues today, we could be in deep trouble.
The Hornets #79 is University of La Verne graduate Justin Schnurstein. His parents were here for the game and we had, by chance, run into them last night while roaming the mean streets of Murcia watching the Browns Penitent Procesión.
Before we start our usual game summary, I must make one final pre-game comment.
Over my six seasons coaching American football I have grown accustomed to players approaching me to inform me that for some interesting reasons as a girlfriend's birthday party, vacation in Bali, work in Israel, job training for a post as a French Customs Officer and a week long "pleasure" trip to Berlin being among my favorite reasons over these half dozen campaigns.
As a coach, not matter how valid or amusing the reason, you never like to hear that you will be missing any players on game day.
With that being said, I must say that the news that the QB for today's opponents was not at the game. Our scouting report had him as, by far, their best offensive weapon as a fine running QB.
The reason for his absence? He is a Penitent for a Cofradía (see yesterday's blogpost) in Zaragoza and Sunday was their day to lead a Procesión through the streets of their city. Religious traditions trumped American football on this day.
For the Hornets, this was certainly a tough pill to swallow.
For the Cobras, life just got a whole lot easier.
HORNETS BALL: Alberto put the opening Kickoff deep into the end zone for a touchback. On the game's second offensive play, the Hornets' fullback broke a play right up the middle for 30 yards giving them great field position. Cobras' OLB Casta made a huge tackle for loss that would force Zaragoza into a field goal attempt that our DE Javi blocked and CB Rufete scooped up and ran a short way.
COBRAS BALL: QB Angel Clemente had a big run to give the Cobras the ball deep in Zaragoza territory but a penalty stymied the drive and the Cobras turned the ball over on downs.
HORNETS BALL: Three and Out, Punt #1! Great pressure on their punt forced a 20 yard punt.
COBRAS BALL: We again turned the ball over on downs and the drive included a dropped 40 yard pass.
HORNETS BALL: OLB Casta came up big again with an interception that he returned about 30 yards on the last play of the First Quarter with the score Cobras 0 - Hornets 0.
ZARAGOZA BALL: Three and Out, Punt #2!!
MURCIA BALL: This drive featured some good running and catching by RB Amoros, a key fourth down catch by Rafa and ended with a 10 yard TD pass from Angel Clemente to Pablo Serrano. The PAT was again wide left but the Cobras were in total control leading 12-0.
ZARAGOZA BALL: Our defense stopped them cold on a fourth down play.
MURCIA BALL: A good two-minute offensive drive was halted when a wide open receiver dropped a pass in the end zone. The Cobras turned the ball over on downs.
ZARAGOZA BALL: The Hornets only had time for one play as the First Half came to a close with the score still Murcia 12 - Zaragoza 0.
COBRAS BALL: A disappointing Three and Out, Punt to start the Second Half.
HORNETS BALL: Three and Out, Punt #3!!! DE Javi came up with two back-to-back QB sacks.
COBRAS BALL: A good drive ended in frustration as we turned the ball over on downs again, deep in the Hornets' territory.
HORNETS BALL: DE Javi recovered a Zaragoza fumble on their first play of the drive.
COBRAS BALL: QB Angel Clemente came up big again with a ten yard scoring strike to RB Omar. Alberto's PAT was true and the Cobras were in cruise control leading 19-0.
HORNETS BALL: OLB Casta does it again with a fumble recovery as the Third Quarter came to a close with the score Murcia 19 - Zaragoza 0.
MURCIA BALL: RB Bryan had a key third down run to keep this drive alive and then QB Angel Clemente turned a broken running play into another TD pass, this time from 15 yards out to WR Pablo Serrano again. It was Angel's third TD pass on the day. Alberto's PAT was perfect and the Cobras were almost home leading 26-0.
ZARAGOZA BALL: Alberto's kickoff sailed about five yards deep in the end zone but the Hornets' return man opted to take it out on his own. No problem as Alberto drilled him at the 15 yard line. Three and Out, Punt #4!!!!
COBRAS BALL: Murcia turned the ball over on downs yet again, this time at the Zaragoza 19 yard line.
ZARAGOZA BALL: Three and Out, Punt #5!!!!!
COBRAS BALL: Time for the best play in American football, Victory Kneel Down! The final score was Murcia (4-2) 26 - Zaragoza (1-5) 0.
I was proud of the way that our team took care of business today yet a bit unsatisfied because I believe that we could still have played much better.
QB Angel Clemente won the Game Hammer for his three TD passes and one TD run. It could just have easily gone to either of two deserving defenders, OLB Casta or DE Javi.
The win leaves us with a 4-2 record and places us solidly in second place for the moment in Serie B's Par Conference trailing only our next opponent, the powerful, 6-0 Reus Imperials. We will travel to Reus on April 12th after enjoying this week's Easter break in the schedule.
We only have the Reus game in two weeks followed by a trip to Barcelona the following Sunday for a rematch with the Búfals to wind down the regular season. The season is going by so quickly, I guess it's true that time flies when you're having fun.
The eight team Serie B playoffs will start on May 3rd.
Murcia Cobras 4-2
Santurtzi Coyotes 3-4
Barberá 28 - Granada 22
Coslada Camioneros 3-3
Granada Lions 3-3
Granada (3-3) at Coslada (3-3)
Barberà (6-0) at Zaragoza Hurricanes (1-6)