Bradford Bears @ York Centurions- Game 5 of the 2015/16 Season
The York Centurions were looking start 2016 with a bang. The new kit finally arrived, albeit four games late – shout out to the suppliers – and they wanted to christen it with a victory. A victory is what York would earn, although not a pretty one in terms of conditions not the temperament of the game. York won the toss (as always) and received, Bradford Bears boldly went for an illegal kick-off formation and York returned the ball to the 30 and refs tacked on another 5 yards for the penalty so Offense took the ball at the 35. York went 3 and out on first possession as standard. The Running game struggling to find traction in what was fast becoming a mud bowl. However Defence were ready to get dirty and shut down the Bradford Offense drawing them into committing penalties left, right and centre to force what was an extended 3 and out series. York went airborne and QB Tom Lathem launched a beautiful 30 pass from to WR Rob Lamont for the opening score. Unable to convert the two point conversion York led the game 0-6. On Bradford’s next possession they surrendered the ball quickly with a costly fumble which landed invitingly in the path of LB ‘Form’ Joe Ford. York had the ball back on the 50, and 2 plays later RB Dami Oloko rumbled a 45 yard TD run straight though the gut of Bradford’s defence. An excellent cut block from guard LG Andy Welsh cleared out a Bear’s Defensive Lineman AND blitzing Linebacker which meant all Oloko had to do was navigate his way through a mess of bodies on the floor, he stiff armed the Bears Safety for good measure on the way to the end zone. Oloko then fumbled the two point conversion forward into the end zone but realised lady luck was smiling on him as he recovered it again to complete the conversion and took the score to 14-0
Both teams then traded 3 and outs before the injury bug struck and the Centurion’s squad depth was tested after it lost Rookie RT Athi Selvadurai to a shoulder injury and Rookie WR Max Lancaster to a broken collarbone. However Defence proceeded to set the tone for York after two consecutive interceptions coming from the defence. The first CB Jack Marley found himself totally alone in his zone, only for a Bears receiver to run an incorrect route leading to the Bradford QB throwing the pass to the ever ready Marley. The 2nd from Punter turned Strong Safety David Pink who sat on a route nicely and broke on the ball and even stepped a potential tackle on the return.
The first interception York could do nothing with, but the 2nd gave the Centurions short field and Tom Latham expertly found WR Chris Allen for his first career score to increase the lead to 0-20. York’s Defence continued their domination with the Rookie D line of Satnaam Singh, and Ben Matthews, Tom Hodgson guided by wily veteran George Fox able to prevent Bradford scoring again with their heavy outside run game. On the next York drive we experienced the miracle at 22 Acres, Similar to the “Prayer at Jordan-Hare”. QB Tom Latham had quit clearly overthrown WR Joseph Mitchell and the ball hung in dangerous territory. However the oncoming Bear’s Safety committed the cardinal Defensive Back sin of thinking about the return before securing the ball. The ball cannoned off his expectant hands and back into the sprinting Mitchell who continued to sprint 50 yards downfield to score a touchdown and give the Centurions their longest touchdown of the season.
Not satisfied, he was soon at it again as he showed us some toe tap magic to grab snag another TD pass from resident Andy Dalton lookalike Rookie QB Theo Hewitt – his first career Touchdown. The score now 0-34 to York, Bradford did awake from their slumber and spoil the shut out party. They finally put points on the board as they got their running game going, they did however fail with their two point conversion after a heavy defensive blitz call that sent all the Linebackers and Safeties. The final score was Bradford 6 – 34 York, as York moved to 3-2 for the season whilst Bradford fell to 1-3.
Defensive Rookie of the Game – Thomas Hodgson
Offensive Rookie of the Game – Will Holbrook
Defensive Player of the Game – Ben Matthew
Offensive Player of the Game – Rafe Hunter Hallet
Overall Player of the Game – Joseph Mitchell