Sunday, 6 November 2011

xpLosION Recap

After week long rain in the midlands area there wasn’t a cloud in the sky for the start of the BUAFL season. Unfortunately due to the fantastic public transport system in this country we missed the coin toss but arrived in time to see the opening kickoff. Apologies for not knowing some names, we will amend as soon as we get them!

After a good return from Dan Conroy the Lions offence got the ball first to try and set the tempo for the game. With the loss of Tristan Varney for the season it would be Jonny Glover leading the Lions offence and strong running from Conroy and #13 as well as quick passes from Glover drove the Lions to within the Renegades 10. A touchdown pass from Glover to Ben Brown in the red zone put the Lions on the scoreboard first; the point after attempt was good. 7-0 Lions.
After the Renegades #7 returned the ball to their 20, Adam Grant and the Renegades offence tried to establish their own rhythm over the Lions defence. The Renegades first play of the game was a pass play for a good gain and a new 1st down. NTU would then hand the ball off to Alexander Fodor, who after a 5 yard gain ripped off a huge run on 2nd down to get NTU to midfield. Unfortunately this was as good as the drive got for NTU and they ended up punting the ball back to the Lions.

At the end of the first quarter the Lions led 7-0.

The Renegades defence lead by Andrew Wilkins once again held Dan Conroy and the high powered Lions offence in check to force another 3 and out. Following a boom punt by Greg Freeman a NTU 1st down run was followed by a check down pass to Danny Miller on 2nd down, who would rack up the yards after catch and get the Renegades inside the Lions 30. However the drive stalled and the Renegades made a key decision to go for it on 4th down.

The Adam Grant pass attempt was picked off by Greg Freeman who returned the ball 70+ yards for a Lions touchdown, getting flagged in the process for excessive celebrating, the kick was good and the Lions took a 14 point lead.

After a good return of the following kick off by Marcus Boswell NTU began on their own 41, but good gang tackling from the Lions D would force the Renegades to go 3 and out again.
Andrew Newiss had the huge return brought the Lions into NTUs side of the field, but a flag on the Lions forced them to begin at the Renegades 32.

Good running from Dan Conroy and Eni Osonaike, as well as a penalty committed by the Renegades defence gave the Lions the ball on the Renegades 7, after a holding penalty on 1st down the Lions were forced back to the 14. Glover avoiding two would be sackers managed to pitch the ball off to Conroy for another good gain.

The Lions were unable to drive the ball into the end zone once again, instead settling for a field goal leaving the score 17-0 to the Lions.

NTU’s next drive was dominated by the Lions defence, a knock down by Lions cornerback Dan Hampton on 1st down then gang tackling and D line pressure on the Renegades QB on 2nd and 3rd down respectively, making the Renegades go 3 and out again.

The Lions offence got the ball at the halfway mark, but Glovers 1st down pass was picked off by A. Wilkins. Birmingham’s defence replied immediately by forcing Miller to fumble the ball and Kyle Burrows dived on the ball, recovering it for the Lions.

A 1st down pass to #13 brought the Lions into the red zone once again but Glovers was once again picked off, this time by Chris O’Dea on the NTU 2.

With 1 second remaining NTU tried to run the ball from their own goal line, but good penetration from the Lions D brought down the NTU running back in the end zone for a safety. The half finished with the Lions leading 19-0.

After a half time show from the Renegades cheerleaders, Lions cheerleaders and an impressive firework display, we were back to the football.

The Lions kicked off to start the 2nd half and the long break didn’t seem to have an effect on the Lions D, continuing to force the Renegades to go 3 and out. However a lucky bounce on the NTU punt forced the ball to hit a member of the return team and it was recovered by NTU. The Renegades failed to capitalise on the opportunity going 3 and out once again.

With Sope Dirisu now in at QB for the Lions, they continued to hand the ball off to Conroy to pound the Renegades D. Screen passes from Dirisu brought the Lions to 3rd and inches, they were unable to convert and ended up punting.

The Renegades finally managed to get their first 1st down of the second half with a pass on 2nd down going for good yardage, unfortunately once again Grant was under a heavy pressure from the Lions D line and wasn’t helped by numerous drops from his receivers, so the Renegades had to punt once again.
Good running from Osonaike and more completions from Dirisu got the Lions just over halfway, but a great play by cornerback Boswell, batting the ball down on 3rd down, would force the Lions to punt.
Andrew Wilikins blocked the punt for NTU and a Lions player fell on the ball to stop it going for 6.

NTU now had the ball on the Lions 36 would start to hand the ball off to Russel Kabade who got a first down on his first play. After a huge hit from Hampton forcing the ball to fall incomplete the quarter was over.

After a scoreless 3rd quarter it was still 19-0 to the Birmingham Lions.

A 3rd down pass fell incomplete so the Renegades went for another field goal attempt; once again it was no good and the Lions offence took over.

After a short run from the Lions back, Tim Davies a defensive player for NTU was badly injured and had to leave the field in an ambulance. Initial reports say he dislocated his knee and we wish him a speedy recovery!
The long delay and the injury to one of their teammates seemed to make the NTU players lose focus and on the next play they missed several tackles on Newiss, allowing a long gain.

This was followed by an amazing Michael Vick like play by Dirisu, avoiding 4 NTU players and scrambling for a first down. Another screen pass to Newiss looked like it would be stopped for minimal gain, but once again Newiss made NTU players look poor by juking away from their tackles and gaining good yardage.

The drive was capped off with a 6 yard touchdown run for Conroy but the kick was no good giving the Lions a 25-0 lead.

Both teams exchanged possessions and NTU had the ball back for one last drive. NTU managed to move the ball and got into the Lions half, but on 4th down Grant rolled out and threw an incomplete pass. However, the head ref had thrown his flag for a dubious roughing the passer penalty on the Lions D and NTU got the ball inside the red zone, 1st and goal.

On 2nd down Miller finally managed to get NTU on the scoreboard with a well deserved rushing touchdown, the first the Lions have conceded at xpLosION in nine years. Following the NTU kick off, the ref blew his whistle and the game finished with the Lions winning 25-6.

The final score was 25-6 to the Birmingham Lions, a good way to start the season with strong performances from Conroy and Wilkins. The rest of the league kicks off today and we look forward to covering the rest of the season here on Dbl Coverage. Be sure to check out our BUAFL top 20 Power Rankings on Monday!


  1. "but a great play by cornerback O’Dea, batting the ball down on 3rd down, would force the Lions to punt."

    That was me, my main play of the game Haha. Marcus Boswell #24. :)

  2. I can confirm that it was Marcus Boswell, not O'dea that made that bat-down.

  3. Punt was blocked by Andrew Wilkins of the Renegades.

    #27 i think was Russel Kabade.

    Tim Davies was the injured player. Dislocated knee. Updates still pending.

    "Dubious roughing the passer penalty" seems to undermine what is otherwise a fairly balanced article. I imagine, like everybody else but the head ref, your attention (as was mine)was on the flight of the ball.

  4. Sorry Marcus, the person I was with said it was #23.

  5. "Dubious roughing the passer penalty", That got given because due to contact with QB helmet. Pretty much all the roughing passer flags were for the same reason.


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