Zander Tkel bulldozed his way against the Southern Thunder defense to power the defending champion Eastern Lightning to a 40-20 opening day win in the Commonwealth Football League Association 2014 Youth Football League last Saturday at the CPA Airport Field.
Tkel made four rushing touchdowns for 224 yards, while Donavin Ada ran for 136 more as they formed the Lightning’s 1-2 scoring punch that tricked the Thunder defense all game long.
Ada connected with Tkel twice early in the first quarter, as the Lightning jumped to an early 13-0 lead. Kimo Angailen scored the extra point.
N-Nes Siech put the Thunder on the scoreboard after successfully catching one of Norman Cabrera’s 3 completed passes, while Franko Bundoc made the 2-point conversion as Southern moved within 5, 13-8.
But Kevin Ogo scored on a 15-yard TD as the Eastern crew of coach David Ada entered the second quarter enjoying a 19-8 advantage.
The score remained 19-8 at the turn as both teams failed to hit the board in the second quarter.
Jeremy Agulto’s fumble recovery kicked things off for Southern in the third and the Thunder later translated that into a Matthew Reyes TD run to again move within five, 19-14.
The Lightning defense, however, always had an answer every time the Thunder threatened to grab the lead. Tkel had his first TD run and third overall, while an Angailen safety made it 27-14, bridging the final moments of the third to early in the fourth period.
Donavin Ada and Tkel each ran for TDs, while Angailen made it 40-14 after a PAT.
The Thunder’s Tyler Quitugua closed out the scoring from a Siech 20-yard TD pass, 40-20.
Norman Cabrera, despite the loss, made half of the 200 total passing yards of Southern with one TD, while Jaret Rosario completed 3 passes for 57 yards and one TD.
The Thunder completely shut down the Lightning’s passing game, as Ada completed only 2 of his 18 passing attempts for 34 yards and was intercepted twice in the game.
Bundoc and Siech combined for 138 receiving yards compared to the 34 of the defending champs’ Angailen and Ryuta Onuki.
The entire Lightning offense rushed for 456 yards against the 73 of the Thunder.
Meanwhile, the Thunder will aim to bounce back from the opening loss when they take on the Northern Saints this Saturday at 1pm also at the Airport Field.