Short-Handed Blackhawks fall short in National Playoffs to Washington, 26-24 in Seattle
TACOMA, WA. (August 28, 2023) -- The Inglewood Blackhawks knew the cards were stacked against them when they found out late in the season that they would have to travel to Washington in the Western Finals but they made due with what they had and came up two points shy of reaching the national championship for the third year in a row, falling to the Washington Rebels by the score of 26-24. Inglewood only traveled with 29 players despite having 41 confirmed Friday night before the game. Regardless of the numbers or personnel, Inglewood still felt they could win the game. With both their #1 and #2 quarterbacks not traveling, the Blackhawks went with their #3 QB in Gabe Thomas who they had faith could win the game. But there were bigger issues other than the QB position. The Blackhawks top three running backs didn't make the trip so they used a combination of players in the backfield alongside Thomas and still only came up 3 points shy of winning the game. The game came down to the final seconds with a unsuccessful onside kick the ultimately ended the chances of victory. The Inglewood offense was led by WR Vincent Strange Jr.who hauled in 7 receptions for 178 yards and two touchdowns while chipping in a interception on defense. "Strange has definitely solidified himself as the best receiver in the nation", stated head coach Tony Reid.
With the lack of depth at certain positions, the Blackhawks were hit with the injury bug in the first quarter when All-Pro LB, Mikell Mair went down with a hamstring injury while OL Efeso Tuumatavai sprained a knee. Both finished the rest of the game on the sideline cheering their team on. DB/QB Darius Barlowe Sr. went in at QB late in the game and brought Inglewood within two points. Barlowe also had a 83 yard punt return for a touchdown called back which ultimately changed the complexion and momentum of the Blackhawks. WR Justin Sydney hauled in the late touchdown from Barlowe which put the Blackhawks in striking distance. "When we were down 12 with four minutes left in the game, Coach Reid told me, It's not over, watch us work the magic and boom we're only down two", stated DL Travis Taylor.
Inglewood finished the season 11-1 and ranked as the #3 team in the nation in the final polls. The Blackhawks organization would like to thank each and every one of you who have supported us throughout this 2023 campaign. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. Stay tune for additional information on the Blackhawks in the coming weeks.