Missed opportunities hurt the Blast in their primetime loss to Rockets

by Raven Moore

Huntsville, Alabama  -- As the only teams in the GDFL playing this weekend, the Huntsville Rockets and the Memphis Blast had the nation’s undivided attention for their pivotal early season game.

“The Rockets and Blast definitely provided some early fireworks for this Fourth of July weekend,” League President, Charles Thompson said. “Being the only two teams in the GDFL playing was an opportunity for the entire nation to see two great organizations featured and it definitely was a treat.”

Though a strong early defensive effort by Memphis helped to keep them competitive, untimely second half errors proved to be their undoing in their 34-20 loss to Huntsville.

The game started as a competitive affair in the first half as both teams finished the half tied at 14.

After both offenses were shut out in the first quarter, the Rockets landed the first blows after capitalizing on poor coverage by the Blast’s secondary to score two passing touchdowns, taking the 14-0 lead.

Luckily, the Blast had an impactful quarterback of their own in Chakel Gates, who scored his team’s first touchdown.

Gates called his own number as he ran for a five-yard touchdown and then scored the subsequent two-point conversion.

The Blast managed to stop the Rockets from responding after an interception in the end zone by their safety Markerion Johnson was taken all the way to their 40-yard line.

Johnson would lead the team with two interceptions in the game.

His offense managed to capitalize on the momentum and made a huge play with less than two minutes remaining in the half.

Gates showed off his arm strength after he completed a 60-yard bomb to Tyrique Gunn to tie the game.

However, the Blast were unable to maintain their control in the second half, and the Rockets’ managed to take advantage of it.

The Rockets outscored the Blast 21-6 in the second half, with the latter’s only touchdown coming off of a fumble recovery by Malik Epperson in the end zone during the third quarter.

The Blast’s offense had opportunities to score but weren’t  able to take advantage of those moments.

One of those instances was when Antonio McNutt took a kick return 70 yards to the Rockets’ 10-yard line, but Memphis was unable to reach the end zone and instead turned the ball over on downs.

Marred by interceptions and other missed opportunities despite favorable field position, the Blast suffered their first loss of the year while the Rockets improved to 2-1 on the campaign.

A look ahead:Memphis Blast will be on the Road to the Mississippi Road Warriors. Huntsville Rockets travel to Clarksville,Tennessee to take on the Tri-City Outlaws.