St. Pete’s Tim Kleman battles for the tap with the Blackbirds’ Mark Earley and Basil Benjamin. PHOTO: Katherine Matson

With big tests on the horizon – versus Miami, April 22, and at Baton Rouge May 6, the St. Petersburg Swans are still searching for the high-octane offense that propelled them to last season’s USAFL D4 Grand Final.

Playing in a configuration leaning heavily on the side’s veteran players, the Red and White have been out-gunned in two successive metro contests, failing to crack 80 points in either.

In the pre-season opener, Orlando AFC featured the combined list’s youth, stampeding to a 158-71 finish.

That story line continued in the 2017 Home Opener Saturday night, as the Blackbird side ran off with a 9.6.60 – 1.1.8 second half spree that turned a well-played and hard-earned Bloods lead at intermission into a distant memory.

With the club’s pre-season goal leader Jake Keglor not seeing service as Pittsburgh swarmed relentlessly on the ball, St. Pete put up the lowest 2nd-half output in the club’s 26-match history.


The Bloods’ 2016 pre-season scoring leader Jake Keglor didn’t see the service Saturday, as the Blackbirds’ offense kept play deep in the St. Pete side.

It’s a long way from the electric attack that saw the Swans notch the #2 point total in a single USAFL match in 2016 (160 points, vs Orlando), leading the side through to a run in the USAFL Nationals.

While the Swans also used a vibrant attack to claim in the inaugural Major League Footy Florida Winter League Premiership, that offense has all but evaporated once the league calendar flipped to 2017.

To regain their stride on the attack, St. Pete will need to find answers fast, most likely by better integrating the club’s youth with veteran leaders – as the Miami Saints metro side (Ft. Lauderdale AFC) come to town Saturday, April 22 and 6 pm.

The Swans will then take to the road May 6 to tangle with the USAFL’s Baton Rouge Tigers.


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