Well now, Nation, that was nice. The last time we saw the NightWatch, they were in a tailspin, having dropped consecutive games in North Carolina. Yet, the same Charlotte team that whooped Nashville by 9 in Charlotte two weeks ago, got outclassed by the NightWatch in a 19-15 decision last weekend. With Nashville sitting at 2-11 on the year, we can look at this last game quite simply: has the team improved upon last year’s debut season? Sure, we’ve espoused their improvement time and time again here on the Lantern, but Nashville is just one game away from tying last year’s 2-12 mark—and just one game away from setting a franchise record in wins. What will it be when Jacksonville, a team that has never won in Nashville, comes to town for the season finale this Saturday?
Saturday, July 9
Jacksonville Cannons @ Nashville NightWatch
Where They Stand: Nashville (2-11 7th in South); Jacksonville (5-7, 5th in South)
Last Matchup: Jacksonville took it to Nashville in the NightWatch’s 2 nd game of the season. That game was almost a mirror to the season opener, in which Nashville hung tough with the Cannons until the final quarter and then was blown out of the game. It also was the 1st of 5 contests in which Nashville has given up 30+ goals. Nashville will be looking to prove last week’s defensive effort—in which they gave up a mere 15 points—was no fluke.
Eric Sjostrom proved a pivotal piece of the NightWatch handling puzzle on Saturday, slotting in well with stalwarts Tyler Conger and Blake Waldron on the offensive side. Sjostrom completed 35 passes and threw away none. NONE. Waldron wasn’t too shabby himself, getting in a meaningful late game sky defense in the end zone. Meanwhile, the return of Ray Davenport to the lineup facilitated a much more active cutting line that was able to move the disc with ease. Look for Nashville’s offense to play a key in how this game shapes up.
Speaking of offensive, how about 76 goals from Jacksonville’s Mischa Freystaetter! That would have been good for the lead last season and yet the Cannons’ stud cutter has 2 more games to go. Pair that with a ridiculous 98% catch rate—the guy has only dropped 8 passes all season—and you have an ultimate superstar. He’ll be one to watch Saturday night, both for his outstanding play and to see how the NightWatch guard him.
Jacksonville has star power on offense with Freystaetter leading the way, but the Cannons haven’t exactly lit the world on fire like you would think given such a talent. The Cannons have scored an average of 23.3 points per game and given up nearly 25 points per game. Nashville, coming off its best performance of the year, is giving up a whopping 27.8 points per game. Look for Javier Ortiz, Paul Lally, John Carden, and Tom Radcliffe to keep the defensive front sharp throughout the game. If they can do that, the NightWatch just might come away with a franchise record for wins in a season this year.