Memphis Blast vs. Huntsville Rockets Preview

by Raven Moore

Memphis, Tenn.-This Saturday, the Memphis Blast (1-1) will play in the Gridiron Developmental Football League’s “Game of the Week” against the (1-0) Huntsville Rockets. This is the Blast's first home game of the season and is looking to get their first official win of the season.

Due to field issues and weather concerns, the Blast has only played in one of their originally scheduled first three games of the season. To supplement the fact that the team was unable to travel to Houston for their scheduled week two game against the Texas Raiders, they ended up traveling to Clarksville, Tennessee to face the Tri-City Outlaws in an early-season exhibition.

Even with it being early in the season, Memphis has faced its fair share of adversity. In their first game, they lost to the Joplin Crusaders 35-6, but that didn’t dampen their spirits. Even with the injury to starting quarterback, Austin Boyles, it was shown that the team has viable options at the position.

Through the Blast's first two games, Markerion Johnson has stepped up in the role and has led the team in passing and rushing yards. He has been one of the team’s biggest supporters on and off the field. With regards to this game on Saturday, Johnson told Blast Media that he believes that it’s up to him to help his team get the victory.

 “I have to get us in the best position to score points,” Johnson said. “I know my guys will follow suit and we’ll come together as a unit to win the game.”

Defensively, Blast’s head coach, Charles Thompson is most looking forward to seeing what his defensive backs do. In the season’s previous contests, the team’s secondary has been its biggest question mark thus far, but Thompson told Blast Media that this weekend will be the true test to see where his defensive backs stack up.

 “This game is going to showcase what kind of guys we have at cornerback,” Thompson said. “We’re excited to see if our new players can handle the pressure, but if practice has been any indication, we seem to be much improved at the position.”

Looking to their opponents, the Huntsville Rockets, they have confidence on their side after defeating the Texas Raiders 62-0 in their season opener. The Rockets jumped out to a 41-0 lead by halftime and maintained control by dominating the Raiders’ defense on both the ground and through the air.

Their dominance didn’t end there as their defense kept the Raiders’ offense guessing and prevented them from getting anything going. A key reason for that was the play by defensive back, Lou James who had three interceptions on the night.

So, what will it take to for the Blast to pull off the upset? Veteran safety, Marcus Mills, explained to Blast Media that preparation is key if the team expects to win their home opener.

 “I know that if we aren’t prepared, this team can easily beat us,” Mills said. “I know that I’m ready, I’m just hoping that the rest of the troops are too.”

Mills also said that energy is another factor that could determine the result of this highly anticipated match-up. The 18-year veteran is well aware of the impact that bringing good energy has on a game and thinks that if the Blast can maintain theirs from the first couple of games, the sky’s the limit.

 “If we put all the energy from the first two games together.  We have a great chance of upsetting the number four team in the nation.” Mills said.