Kansas City Blues at St. Louis Royal Ramblers
Saturday, April 24th
Kansas City Blues 1 (10) vs St. Louis Royal Ramblers 1 (30)
Kansas City Blues 2 (15) vs St. Louis Royal Ramblers 2 (16)
Slippery When Wet
Kansas City Blues 1 vs St. Louis Royal Ramblers 1
Bring your studs, bring a towel and bring a trash bag” Coach Scott Kram told the players in the team huddle at the end of Thursday Night Practice. There was rain in the forecast, 100% chance for STL area said the weatherman. It was going to rain all night Friday and all day Saturday until late afternoon. In fact the slow moving storm had passed Kansas City when the Blues were meeting at the side parking lot of the Walmart at 70 HWY and Blue Ridge Blvd and the players and coaches filed into the bus under a dry morning sky. Most of the state was dry. The Concordia, Columbia, Fulton exits were all seen through dry windows. But around the Wentzville exits the rain began to fall.
The opening kickoff of the D1 game went up into the air as the largest drops of the day were falling. It was corralled, taken into contact and to deck, rucked over and phased back out to a forward crash, annnnnd knocked on for a penalty. The Blues collectively took a deep sighing breath. This one was going to be a grind. The ball from the resulting Royal Ramblers scrum came out of the back of the scrum and through the hands attached to some familiar faces. #9 Giovanni Falco, #10 Ani Mteto and #12 Jabari Leopold have all worn Blues Jerseys of some kind in the past, Jabari being a major contributor to our ultra-successful 2019 D1 Campaign. They are good players and those three proved to be a threat to the Blues D and major part of the success of their new team. Gio played quick ball all day and was his same Field General self at 9. Ani and his big boot played havoc with the field position of Blues all day, several times putting the kick over the heads of the back 3. And Jabari showed the same skills he used to score the last minute go ahead try over Palmer in frozen ass Davenport by breaking tackles and making productive runs from minutes 1-80.
It was all STL in the first half. Several kicks over top and big runs by Jabari and their large and hard running 8 man led to scores. 22-0 was the score at the halftime whistle. The second half proved more competitive. A Blind side line break by 10 Ty Lewis and then pin and pass to winger Sam Tanner lead to a Blues Try. A Royal Rambler kick for points, try and then a sentimental “morale victory special” last possession try by Jimmy Lillis at the goaline after a long, double digit phase possession rounded out the scoring for a final of 30-10 Royal Ramblers.
Kansas City Blues 2 vs St. Louis Royal Ramblers 2
The D2 game proved to be as much of a dogfight as the D1 game. Young up and comers from both sides slugged it out in the grass and the mud. STL opened with a penalty kick for points. 0-3. A line break by the Blues Tik Tok Baron Himself Gabe Caldas lead to a punch in try by Carter Martin. 5-3. A wide ball try by the Ramblers. 5-8 at Half. Dog/Mud Fight Commences. Ramblers immediately threated out of halftime, putting the ball on the goaline and taking their time over several phases to punch it in. 5-13. But Ramblers immediate knock the ball on off the kickoff, muffing the catch. Blues swing it out but knock it on. Blues strip tackle, number 10 Gavin Kirk booms a kick for clearance. Back and forth it went, punctuated by penalties and Gavin kicks. Blues get the ball to the 5 from an offload from “The Wise One “ Steve Jackman. 2 phases later Ryan Ellison jukes at the goaline and dives in. 10-13. A red card on Blues winger JT Bergner for squirrelly activity in a ruck put the blues down a man. A linebreak by Kelvin Jarmon and offload to Blakeston Bryant put the ball down to the 22. An attempted chip up and over by Gavin fails to produce but Steve Jackman (Gandalf?) blocks the clearance kick. A blues recovery and Two crash phases later and Ryan Ellison dove into the try zone for a try. 15-16. The conversion was missed. And that is where the story ends folks. As the ball was kicked into touch with time out not too many moments later.
The Blues returned home from Saint Louis with two losses and a great many trash bags filled with wet gear and wet towels. But they drank beer and sang some songs on the way home on the bus, they got a little bit tougher and a little bit wiser. The finale of the Spring season awaits with a split Squad D1 vs Palmer at home and D2 at Wichita weekend this Saturday.