Netherlands: Falcons Shut Out Nijmegen Pirates

Photo: Jasper Barendregt 
The statistics were already in Arnhem’s favor: never in the club’s 25 year history did the Falcons lose a game to the Nijmegen Pirates and this year’s team was determined to keep this streak going. In the first ever official game under the floodlights of the new field in Arnhem, the Falcons did not waste much time convincing the assembled crowd about this.

Even though the first drive was a three and out for the Arnhem offense, the succeeding three drives of the Falcons offense resulted in touchdowns while the defense effectively shut down the Pirates offense, thus leaving them an uphill battle for the rest of the game.

The first score was the result of a drive with a good mix of run and pass which was capped off by a 4 yard touchdown run by Brandon Stamper, who returned to the offensive lineup after missing a game through an ankle/calf injury. Jordin Kemperman added the extra point to make the score 7-0.

The next drive was dominated by the Falcons run offense, more specifically running-back Joost Holtslag. His first carry was good for a little over 4 yards, but the on the next play good blocking and determined running saw him scamper for a 74 yard gain all the way to the Nijmegen 4 yard line. Brandon Stamper then took over to allow Holtslag a breather and added a 2 yard TD run. Once again, Kemperman’s PAT was good (14-0).

The Arnhem defense then intercepted the Pirates quarterback for the first time, giving the offense the ball back on the Nijmegen 37 yard line.

The running offense continued to click, driving the ball to the Pirates 6 yard line, where a well-executed play action pass allowed tight-end Thijs Steffen to be completely open in the middle of the endzone where he had no trouble catching AJ Hobbelink first TD pass of the day to give the Falcons a 21-0 lead (Kemperman).

After this, the game got a little sloppy with both team exchanging punts twice. The Nijmegen offense managed to convert a fake punt on fourth down but then ran out of time in the first half, allowing the Falcons to head into the locker-room with a 21-0 lead.

The second half began much like the first half ended: sloppy. A three and out of the Pirates offense was followed by an Arnhem turnover. An inside blitz lead to a Hobbelink fumble which was recovered by the Pirates defense, giving their offense field position in the Arnhem half of the field for the first time. Nijmegen was unable to capitalize on this though, turning the ball over on downs.

Once again it was Joost Holtslag providing most of the yardage in the ensuing Falcons drive. With runs of 35 and 8 yards he kept the chains moving. Another play-action pass from the Pirates 23 yard line once again allowed Thijs Theffen to catch an AJ Hobbelink pass without any defenders near him. Steffen gladly accepted this gift and ran in his second TD of the evening. Jordin Kemperman added the extra point (28-0).

After another Nijmegen turnover, the Falcons offense got its next change from the Nijmegen 43 yard line. A big defensive pass interference penalty meant this drive quickly ended up in “goal to go” territory and after three plays Joost Holtslag was finally able to crown his achievement of the evening with a three yard touchdown run to the right outside. Jordin Kemperman stayed perfect on the night, adding his fifth extra PAT to bring the final score to 35-0.

Box Score Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Total
Falcons 14 7 7 7 35
Pirates 0 0 0 0 0

Game notes:
After establishing a 28-0 lead in the third quarter, the Falcons played their entire roster.
Falcons DE Ron aan de Stegge had to leave the game with a knee injury; Nijmegen Pirates lost three players to injury during the game.

Alfred Portengen