Memphis Blast vs. Joplin Crusaders Preview

by Raven Moore


Memphis Blast Prepare for their first regular season game against the 8X Champions Joplin Crusaders

Memphis,Tenn-After months of anticipation, hard work and preparation, the Memphis Blast are now ready to take the field against the Joplin Crusaders of Joplin,Missouri. They’ll be bringing to the field a much different team than their unit from last year, but none of the players have allowed that to deter them.   The Joplin Crusaders have been playing games since March and have the looks of a team ready to compete. Crusaders owner, Sam Sturgis, spoke with the media about his team’s upcoming contest against the Blast and said that he feels that his team stands a good chance against the upstarts.

            “We [Crusaders] play as one team,” Sturgis said. “Our players don’t go into the games with any selfish motives, we all just want to win. Our players are coachable and ready to do whatever it takes to walk away with a victory.”

            Even though Sturgis preached a “team-first” philosophy, he did mention some players who are worth noting. They have a dynamic QB-WR duo in T.J. Fleeton and Tevin Gibson. Both players have experience playing college football and have been key in the Crusaders’ high-powered offense. 

            However, the Blast have a promising duo of their own in quarterback Austin Boyles and wide receiver Markerion Johnson. Johnson played at Mississippi Valley State and even with this being his first season with the team, he’s already been making a lot of noise this off-season.

When speaking to the media about his first game in a Blast uniform, Johnson expressed his excitement to see how not only himself, but how the team stacks up against the eight-time champions. 

“I’m very excited for our first game,” Johnson said. “I’m ready to see how much we’ve progressed throughout the past couple of months.”

The Blast have had their fair share of turnover over the course of the off-season, but it hasn’t deterred head coach Charles Thompson. Actually, he embraces the challenge and believes that it has allowed him to weed out the players who weren’t truly dedicated.

“Loyalty is the most important thing to me,” Thompson said. “We’ve had guys come who didn’t really love the game which means they had to go. The men I have on the roster now have been dedicated and are ready to showcase what makes them and this team special.”

Veteran safety, Marcus Mills, seconded Coach Thompson’s sentiments and has a lot of faith in his teammates.

“We have a great group,” Mills said. “I think we have a real shot of winning our first game of the season.”

The Blast will be traveling to Joplin, MO this Saturday to square off against the Crusaders at Missouri Southern State University field at 6 p.m. CDT. 

For those who will be able to attend, offensive lineman, Dwayne Moore II, has a special message for his beloved Blast fans.

“Win, lose or draw, we’re still the Memphis Blast.” Moore said. “Tic, Tic, Boom!”

*Memphis Blast Leads series 1-0

Last Game played 7/20/2002

Memphis Blast 24 Joplin Crusaders 6