Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Pushed to the Wire

by Chris Stupack

On a rainy Sunday afternoon, Leeds Carnegie faced off at home to the 1-1 Northumbria Mustangs and had the opportunity to go 2-0 and send a message out to the rest of their division.

The game began well, with the home side kicking off and almost immediately, defensive captain Chris Sporton recovered the ball after great tackling and pressure from the entire defence. When the offence, led by the outstanding Dale Bottomley, began their first drive, the ball was turned over on downs and the game was still scoreless. More pressure from Carnegie’s resolute defence meant the offence would get another chance, and they delivered, Luke Campbell running into the end-zone on a 35-yard run. The PAT was converted by kicker Matt Wade.

The game was being played at a quick pace, with Carnegie’s no-huddle offence tiring out their opposition, but soon enough the visitors would put up their first points. After seeming to be stopped for a 4 yard gain, the Mustangs running back kept going, broke tackles and ran 50 yards to secure the TD. The ball was then run up the middle of the extra two.

Determined to score, and to give the defence a breather, the offence came out quick and hard in the next drive, immediately re-asserting themselves and scoring through Chaki Smith with another run into the endzone. This time the two point conversion failed. At half time the scores were close; Carnegie edging it by 13-8.

After a solid run to begin the half, Carnegie once again turned the ball over to the opposition and it was left to the defence to help the team once again. During these phases Carnegie WR Jordan Thomas was hit hard in a tackle, and require medical assistance. This was one of two separate occasions that stopped the game for a considerable amount of time, and so the players returned to their dressing rooms.

When play resumed, it was Northumbria who took the initiative and wanted the ball more, scoring with their first opportunity after the restart and once again converting the two-pointer.

The Leeds Met offence had already had an outstanding game, and not to be out-done by the Mustangs, drove the ball the entire length of the field with some excellent lead blocking to take the lead once again and lead 19-16 after another failed 2PAT. This was followed by another injury timeout, with the teams returning shortly after.

This extended break ultimately proved to be the end for the determined Mustangs, as with a minute left on the clock, Carnegie’s defence recovered, and the offence put the result out of doubt with another quick touchdown.

First year running back Zach Farr once again proved his worth, averaging 10 yards a carry throughout the game.

This was a game where once again, the Leeds Met defence gave up more yards in penalties than from actual plays. Head Coach Paul Wake commented; “Credit to Northumbria for making it a heck of a game, but we have to get a handle on penalties. At times today penalties really put us in a hole, but we managed to find a way to pull ourselves back out of it. We have a very inexperienced squad so it’s all part of being on that learning curve.”

Game ball and match MVP went to the outstanding display from quarterback Dale Bottomley, who commanded his offensive line well and carried the offence throughout. Rookie defensive end Connor Bibby also performed well despite being injured, as he constantly put pressure on the Mustangs quarterback with excellent pursuits and pressure.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts