New England Football League Blitzin' Bears Win Nationals in Overtime Thriller in Sunshine Bowl! | New England Football League


New England Football League

Blitzin’ Bears Win Nationals in Overtime Thriller in Sunshine Bowl!

MIAMI, FL – February 19, 2022 The NEFL North Atlantic Conference Champion, Western Mass. Blitzin’ Bears continue their remarkable run in Miami. After surprising an outstanding (and previously unbeaten) Worcester Co. Wildcats squad in the NEFL’s Championship game, the Bears were invited to play for National honors in the prestigious Sunshine Bowl. The Bears would again be facing a formidable and previously 11-0 team in Cincinnati’s Queen City Raiders.

The unbeaten Raiders were favored, however the Blitzin’ Bears were coming from the crucible that is the NEFL, and had been tested by the best. Still, the odds seemed long for the Bears when this Raiders team that had been explosive all year, opened the game with a scoring drive that took them only 3 plays and just over a minute. It looked like it could be a long day.

The Bears had other ideas though, as they mixed run and pass driving down close, only to be stopped in the red zone. The Raider offense came back onto the field to find a Bear defense that was awakened and ready for them. A few plays later, a midfield interception set their offense up with a second chance to finish their previous drive off with a game tying score. Momentum had shifted and much of the afternoon, the Bears O and D had Queen City on their heels. Like any team good enough to win 11 straight games, the Raiders rallied relentlessly, tying the game late in the 4th quarter and threatening to win it with seconds remaining, stopped just short by the Bears defense at the goal line.

In overtime, Western Mass. Got the ball first, but it looked as though their scoring bid would be thwarted when a penalty led to a 4th and 8 situation, still 23 yards from paydirt. With the game on the line and no margin for error, QB Marquis Eberhart arced a perfect strike down the right sideline, where a leaping Dominick Whitley highpointed the ball, snatching it just inches out of the defender’s reach and squeezing it as he crashed to earth in the end zone. The crowd and sideline erupted as the Bears were now just one defensive stop away from victory.

The hot Queen City offense grabbed nearly half the distance to the goal line in a single play and was striking for the endzone with a pass down the middle. At that moment, another of the Bears’ huge playmakers stepped in. Antonio Colon Jr. undercut the receiver, intercepting the ball on the dead run, icing the exciting overtime win and the Title.

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