May, 8th. Houston, Texas. Rice Stadium.
The opening weekend for The Spring League’s 2021 season concluded last evening with a tight game between the Jousters and the Generals.
After a quick possession by the Jousters, Quarterback Ryan Mallet led the Generals down the field off of several big plays from Tight End Sal Cannella. The Gens were in the position to score, but a fumble, picked up by Jouster William Likely and ran back to the Generals 31-yard line, kept them scoreless.
Luis Perez and the Jousters took this momentum and converted it into a touchdown pass to TE Donnie Ernsberger. On the kickoff return, Darell Holland brought the Generals across the fifty and into Jouster territory. A big run by Running Back Chris James brought the Generals into field goal position, and after a 37-yard try was good for Kicker Lirim Hajrullahu, the score was 7-3.
After a Jousters punt, the Generals moved down the field again and put another three on the board making the score 7-6 in favor of the Jousters. On their next possession Mallet brought the Generals into the endzone with a big pass to Darnell Holland, and after another 37-yard PAT by Hajrullahu, the Generals were up 12-7 for the first score change of the game.
Safety Malik Gant picked off a pass at the end of a decent Jousters drive and the Generals turned that into points off of a 59 yard Field Goal off of Hajrullahu making it 15-7 in favor of the Generals at the half.
On the other side of the break, the Generals went through a quick 3 and out. Drew Anderson led the Jousterns back onto the field as QB. After several passes to Tyler Palka and another touchdown reception by Ernsberger and a failed 2 point conversion, the Jousters cut the Generals lead to 2.
At the start of the fourth Mallet really began to find his rhythm, spreading the ball around and bringing the Generals into FG range. After a 47-yard made FG attempt by Hajrullahu, the Gens made the score 18-13.
An exciting drive by the Jousters capped off with a 4 yard run by Lavon Coleman brought the score to 18-19 in favor of the generals, a missed 2 point conversion kept the jousters from taking the lead. The Generals had a quick drive down the field ending in a 49-yard Field Goal off of Hajrullahu making the score 21-19.
The Jousters had a chance to win it but a last-second interception by Generals Evan Worthington capped off the night for the Gens.
Victory formation for Ryan Mallet and the offense, and the Generals recorded the first win of their Championship Defense season.
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Jose M. Rodriguez III