The Centurions opened the 2016/17 regular season by welcoming the UWS Pyros to Fort 22 – well that was the plan at least but come the allotted kickoff time there was not a Pyro in sight. Various delays in their travel down from beyond the wall meant kickoff was delayed for the best part of an hour. Eventually when the game got underway, York looked very much in the mood after a focused warm up.
The game started with fireworks as WR Yuki Shiroo took a handoff and weaved his way through the Pyro’s defence with impressive agility, only the endzone could slow him down. QB Theo Hewit, utilising his new found swagger, danced in to convert the 2pt attempt. There were a few disgruntled Centurion Old Boys on the sideline that were disappointed that York’s opening score was not a safety for the third consecutive season. Defence followed suit with a three and out, DE Ben Matthew notching the opening tackle of the game. Offence retook the field but did not fancy hanging around as RB Kevwe Uwotu exploded down field on the first play of the drive for the score, Hewit did his thing once more on the 2pt. The euphoria was short lived, as a botched kick landed in the Pyro’s wedge and they rumbled it back through a depressing array of missed tackles for the score. They failed on a quick pass for the 2pt.
Defence had another good series which culminated in LB Rafe Hunter Hallet blocking a punt to give the Centurions excellent field position. Enter Rookie RB Charlie Collier. He fought hard for a few runs, helped in one case by a nice double team block from C Alan Gray and LG Ben Grainger. It did not take long for him to juke his way into the endzone however the Wideouts had different ideas and had his score wiped off for a block in the back penalty. Embodying the age old Centurion mantra of “Persistence beats Resistance”, Collier took the following play to the house, sheepishly peeking back to see if another flag had been thrown. It had not. The 2pt attempt got intercepted but a strong tackle from LT Rob “Roboldemort” O’Brien knocked the ball loose, but agonisingly out of bounds.
A strong solo tackle on Special Teams by CB Sam Lock set up the next series and a sack from DT Joe Atkinson stalled the Pyro’s Offensive drive. WR Max York did not waste his only reception as he took full advantage of a Cover 0 formation and promenaded into the endzone surrounded by nothing but greenery and fresh air. Shiroo obliged by taking the 2pt home with him as well. The Defence has a coupled of nice plays, CB Ben Faulkner blew up a screen but was unable to hold on to the ball for what would have been a Pick-6.
As you can probably tell, the first half was action packed. For those of you getting tired by this report fear not, the second half was less so. It started interestingly as the opening kickoff was squibbed and picked up by Wedgeman and FS Stephen Bates who executed a crowd rousing truck as he returned it to just after halfway. This sadly would prove to be the Centurion’s longest play of the half. A couple of nice snags from Rookie WR Alberto Conti were among the highlights but the team failed to find the higher gears they had in the first half. The game ended slightly sourly for the Centurions as QB Tom Latham and Rookie FB Dalton Weir connected for a nice passing TD only to see it called back for an illegal formation. One of the WRs owes those two a pint…
Overall a solid win for the York Centurions outfit but not a complete performance by any means. Credit to the Pyros for bringing a great attitude to game despite a long and arduous journey down from Scotland. Sitting at 1-0 on the season, the Centurions will look to double their tally in a Roses-come-early season game against the old adversary. Lancaster Bombers, we are coming for you.