On Saturday July 20th, the Spartans hosted the Ottawa Sooners in what was a down to wire game involving great defensive efforts from both teams. The game showcased strong, well rounded, offensive play displaying how good both the Sooners and Spartans were with both passing and running the ball. In the end the Sooners came out on top 28-25, scoring twice with under 4 minutes to play.
The Spartans set the pace of the game right off the first snap when #57 Brandon Soucy rushed through the Sooners offensive line and sacked the QB. After a long possession the Sooners would eventually be forced to punt to the Spartans. On the Spartans ensuing drive, they struggled to get anything going as the Ottawa defence had met their running backs in the backfield multiple times. Eventually they were forced to punt the ball back to the Sooners. On the next drive, QB #9 for Ottawa, Travis Campbell got his offence going. Using 3 different receivers and running the ball himself, he and his team marched downfield and scored when he connected with #84 Bobby Massie in the Endzone. With 3:14 left in the 1st quarter the Sooners were up 7-0.
Moving into the 2nd Quarter, the Spartans started with the ball as their drive continued through the end of the 1st quarter. QB #6 Adam Rocha, with the help of his offensive unit, drove down the field and after a deep pass and great catch, by #88 Josh Duckett, in the endzone the Spartans had tied the game at 7 with 12:03 left in the half. On the next Sooner drive, the Spartans forced a fumble that was recovered by #48 Cole Kennedy. That drive was quickly stopped by the Ottawa D and the Spartans had to punt the ball back. #10 Massimo Cimino had a great punt that landed and bounced out of bounds at the Sooners 27-yard line. Shortly after, #32 Eric Conrad for the Spartans picked off a pass attempt by Campbell and brought the ball to the 4-yard line. The Ottawa defence held their goal-line and kept the Spartans to a field goal which put the score at 10-7 for the Spartans with under 6 minutes to go in the half. The Spartans would go on to score a point off a missed field goal attempt with 30 seconds left in the half leaving the score at 11-7 going into the 3rd quarter.
The 3rd quarter was a back and forth battle between both teams. The Sooners backfield, #20 Remy Cimankinda and #35 Faronk Timbilla were running hard but were met by the Spartans equally tough defence. For the Spartans on the other side of the ball, Matt Glass and Jared Loyer played hard against the Sooners defence which led both teams to struggle with their offensive efforts. With 5 minutes left in the quarter the Sooners had the ball on their 9-yard line after another good punt by Cimino. A pass attempt by Campbell was intercepted by #8 Andrew St. Amour of the Spartans which put them on the 25-yard line. After a couple hard runs by Glass, Rocha laid out a deep ball to the back of the endzone for #84 Nicholas Witzke who made the catch for a touchdown. This put the Spartans up 18-7 with 3:52 left in the 3rd.
After a rough 10 minutes of play for the Sooners where Campbell was sacked 3 times in one drive, Ottawa managed to score a point off of a missed field goal attempt thanks to an illegal blocking penalty by the Spartans. With the score at 18-8 there was only 4:45 left on the clock. On the next Spartan drive the first snap sailed over Rocha’s head and the sooners recovered the ball and brought it into the endzone. They missed a 2-point conversion attempt and the score was now 18-14 for the Spartans with 4:38 left. The Spartans got the ball and moved downfield, but their drive was cut short when one of Rocha’s passes was intercepted for a pick 6, this time the Sooners opted for a single extra point and put the score at 21-18 in their favor with 3:08 left in the game. The Spartans, on their next drive, fumbled
the ball which got recovered by the Ottawa defence. The Sooners would once again score, making it 28-18 with 56 second left in the game. The Spartans moved the ball down the field and on the last play of the game scored with another pass to Duckett. The extra point was good, but it was not enough, and the game ended 28-25 for Ottawa.
With the results from Saturday night’s game, the Spartans’ first round opponent in the NFC playoffs has been decided. They will once again host the Ottawa Sooners next weekend on Saturday July the 27th at 7:00pm in quarterfinal action. Despite of the loss, the Spartans have a lot of good to take from this game and are looking to bring their all for the NFC playoffs