Roses 2017 Bombers @ Centurions

The York Centurions took to their home field one final time in the 2016/17 season. Their sole aim was to vanquish the Lancaster Bombers once again. Yorkshire was not blessed with the glorious sunshine that had graced previous Roses fixtures, instead there was a stillness in the air disturbed only by the apprehension and expectation of the battle ahead. A strong crowd had gathered along the sideline, for every Lancastrian voice there were two or three Yorkshire tones to drown them out. President and LB Andrew Chudnovsky was the final name to ring around Fort 22 Acres as the card checks were over and it was time for class of 2017 to do battle one last time.

York won the coin toss and elected to receive the ball. The opening kick off fell very short and into the hands of C Alan Gray, he rumbled downfield for around 25 yards but more importantly to himself, he held on to the ball. The same could not be said for the gloveless RB Kevwe Uwotu who was harassed in the backfield and coughed up the ball on the opening play. Defence took to field and DT Joe Atkinson, still bitter from missing York’s last bout with Lancaster, clattered the running back in the backfield. For all the Centurions hard defensive work, the Offense struggled to move the ball and ultimately their was another Uwotu fumble. The York Centurions defence rallied, determined not give up the precious field position. The Bombers completed a fairly innocuous, short pass over the middle, the receiver was the lined up by LB Dan Denby and LB Rafe Hunter Hallet and they were able to knock the ball loose. One of the Bombers lineman forgot that his hands were made of concrete and attempted scoop up the bouncing ball. He was immediately blasted by FS Stephen Bates and the ball ripped from his clutches. The subsequent fumble was dived upon by a host of Centurions, rookie DE Shaz Altaf ultimately coming up with possession.

The turnover injected a much needed spark into the Offense. QB Tom Lathem set his feet and threaded the ball through the Defence to find the outstretched hands of WR Max York who strode on to the end zone untouched. The Centurions were true to form and were unable to tack on the extra two points. The half came to a close at 6-0 in York’s favour.

Lancaster came out firing after the break and put together a few passes to set up their own score, they were less fortunate on the two point attempt. Defence looked a little weary after a gruelling first half so it fell to Offense to step up. Lathem was knocked out the game after a big hit so QB Theo Hewit took to the field and wasted no time in making his mark. A smooth fake hand off sent Lancaster’s Defensive Line (Who call themselves the Nigerian Nightmare, despite playing like more of a day dream) to the running back. Hewit then pumped the safety into biting on an out route, reset his feet and drifted the ball into Max York’s hands. He duly obliged by taking it to the house for his second TD. The two point was a nifty slant route from the same man as the Centurions took up an eight point lead. The Bombers responded with a long touchdown drive that was extended after a controversial penalty flag turned a 4th down stop into a new set of downs. Their 2pt attempt was intercepted by CB Zyen Ubaid with the troublesome intended receiver violently knocked out of the game by Bates during the return. Uwotu had been given a snazzy pair of the gloves for the second half and he put them to good use. RG Ben Grainger obliterated his opposite lineman and the rest of the Centurions O-Line stood firm to allow Uwotu to slalom up the centre. When in open field the jets kicked in and he sped the remaining 60 yards to the endzone. York punched in the 2pt attempt with some bloody nosed running from Rookie FB Dalton Weir.

With a ten point lead, the Centurions Defence forced the Bombers into 3rd and very long but to everyone’s dismay they were able to haul in a big pass and get the first down despite tight coverage from Rookie CB Olufemi Johnson. The QB now in rhythm, York could not stop the passing TD or the 2pt attempt and so the lead was cut to only two points heading towards the end of the game. The Centurions’ offence ran hard and took a big chunk of time off the clock, in spite of WR Matt Brindley agonising giving a way a holding penalty to negate a big run. Injuries had forced LBs Hallett and Chudnovsky into Offensive Line duties, they battled on admirably. York’s 4th down attempt fell short so the Centurions Defence were sent back on to defend a long field and a narrow two point lead. The second half had not been vintage York Defence but they simply needed one more play.

DE Ben Matthew and DT Tom “Floor” Hodgson remained ferocious throughout and so Lancaster were forced to continue the passing game. The attempted a pass to their slot who has a significant height advantage over SS Sam Lock. Lock’s coverage was tight enough that it allowed FS Bates to jump on the route and get a big paw on the ball sending it skywards. The crowd, who has been deafening prior to the snap watched anxiously as the ball began its descent. CB Zyen Ubaid, who had been balling twice as hard in memory of a close friend tragically taken too soon, peeled off his coverage and secured the falling ball. What followed was without a doubt the best blocking the Centurions have put out on the field, Ubaid slithered left and right as bodies crashed into one other across the field. Eventually he was brought down before he could wriggle free but it was already enough to secure the victory. The offence went back on in their ludicrous shotgun kneel formation and the clock gloriously expired.

The celebrations ensued with Flares, Champagne, and Air horns filling 22 acres. The Centurions had secured a winning record on the season and the Lancaster Bombers were once again silenced and sent home with a big L attached to them. President Andrew Chudnovsky then hoisted the Roses Trophy amid raucous cheers, the hard work and perseverance of the season making the champagne taste particularly sweet. The York Centurions retained their crown against their bitterest rivals and confirmed exactly what the crowd had been screaming all game

“Roses are White, Lancaster are Shite”

Game 6: Centurions @ Bombers

The biggest game of the season. The loser of this Roses 2017 preview would end the season with a losing record and would be subject of all the trash talk leading up to Varsity. Storm Doris had battered Lancaster’s field but realistically it isn’t proper BUCs football if you don’t sink a few inches into the pitch every step. Starting QB Tom Lathem remained on IR for the fixture as did CB Zyen Ubaid and star DT Joe Atkinson, a couple of rookies stepped into the lineup and took up the Centurion standard.

The opening kickoff got the tracks rolling with a nice return from WR Yuki Shiroo and some violent blocking. Offence were in no mood for niceties as a short pass freed up WR Max York to skip through the Bombers defence. He was brought down by the Bombers Cornerback that had failed to cover him initially, his pursuit was filled by nothing but guilt and embarrassment. York threatened to stall on the one yard line but RB Kevwe Uwotu didn’t fancy that and forced the ball in for the opening score. FS (Now maybe Fullback) Stephen Bates came in for the goal line heavy set and helped C Alan Gray and LG Ben Grainger (returning to face his former team as an honourary captain) clear a way for big FB/RB/QB Dalton Weir to slam home to the two point conversion.

The Bombers did not lie down however, they but together a good drive. Their pulling guard swept up LB Andrew Chudnovsky and exposed a gap which the running back hit at speed. He displayed surprising elusiveness for one of the smaller backs we’ve faced. The Bombers drove to the nine yard line before LB Dan Denby forced a fumble but could not recover it for an important turnover. Lancaster out foxed the York Defence with a QB Keeper, Bates channelled his inner torpedo (Having been raised in the Harry Rackham school of tackling) and halted him at the one yard line. Big DT Satnaam Singh came in for the goal line stand, Lancaster responded with a dreadful High-Low block that saw their TD get chalked off and were given a 15 yard penalty flag instead. Ultimately York’s defence stood firm.

Dalton Weir had a couple of nice plays including dropping the boom on to a Bomber in the hole for a nice 4th down conversion. Rookie RB Jacob Bilborrow clocked his first career reception on a very dodgy tipped pass, he went full deer in the headlights after catching it and got drilled. The Bombers recovered possession and drove downfield to score, again finding joy as the run gaps weren’t getting stuffed quickly enough, the two point attempt was dropped by their wideout. What followed was a bit of a farce, York stuffed Lancaster with minutes to go in the half. Lancaster’s punt unit came on as did York’s return team. However due to some negligent Chain Crew officiating (I am only allowed to say that they were supplied by Lancaster) it somehow remained 3rd down after a lengthy conversation from the officials. This extra down was inevitably converted into a huge first down pass and then another for a long pass brought up a score for the Bombers who took a 14-8. Details deliberately vague, there was an incident after the Touchdown that resulted in a lot of penalty yards and an ejection. This also meant Lancaster kicked off at the Centurions own 30 yard line, as coaches and players desperately attempted to line up an onside unit the kick sailed out of bounds and the penalty flags rained down. A very British University American Football play if there ever was one. The Bombers took their lead into half time and seemed to have some sort of dance off to celebrate it.

The second half was a midfield joust for much of it. Max York resumed kick return duty as Shiroo received a nasty knock. The Bombers Steams player had been watching a little too much NFL as he attempted to stop a punt rolling into the endzone by popping it up in the air. It went straight to Max York who rumbled 40 yards down field after CB Ben Faulkner blindsided a bomber and knocked him into next week, Bates also blocked a Bomber into the Centurions players box. Sadly one Lancaster player slipped through and brought Max York down to stop him scoring what could have been a 99 yard touchdown. Offense then kicked into gear again, the Offensive Line who had struggled with Lancaster’s pash rush and six front all game gave QB Theo Hewit a clean pocket to throw from and he popped one to the back of the Endzone. Max York was already being tackled way before the ball arrived but he extended out a single paw and plucked the ball out of the air. After rolling over and the referee seeing he maintained possession, the touchdown was signalled and York were back at level pegging. A questionable play call for the two point conversion saw Hewit get knocked out the game. Step forward rookie Dalton Weir.

The referees called for calm and sportsmanship as the speaking captains went out for the coin toss. Having correctly called heads, Bates was immediately giving a warning for over celebrating. York took the ball and had passing on their mind. After a couple of plays Lancaster’s red sea defence parted and Dalton Weir delivered a strike to Max York for the OT Touchdown. The two point attempt was probably the biggest calamity of a play imaginable with approximately 75% of the Offence doing the wrong thing.

It fell to Defence to hold them out and take the win. LB Rafe Hunter Hallett continued to add to his tackle tally and LB Dan Denby dialled up some more timely blitzes to drag the Bombers to 4th and long. Lancaster called a timeout and defence drew their breath, they promised themselves and the team just one more play. Rookie DE Shaz Altaf bull rushed the Offensive Lineman and forced the quarterback to throw a skyward duck that trickled harmless to the ground as York took the victory. The sideline was overjoyed to take the win and condemn Lancaster to a losing season but it was marred by the knowledge that the Centurions did not play up the standard they are capable of and ultimately the game was too close comfort. With time to iron out the mistakes and the missing players to get healthy the Centurions cannot wait the do battle with Lancaster on home turf at Roses 2017.

Game 5: Napier Knights @ Centurions

Edinburgh Napier Knights brought an impressively sized squad, and an impressive 5-0 record, to York on a mild Wednesday afternoon. In truth York were still slightly battered and bruised after grinding out a win against Edinburgh Predators only three days earlier, starting QB Tom Lathem couldn’t make it through the warmup. The coaches ensured that this hadn’t fazed the squad. York took the ball but couldn’t do much with it, other than throw an ugly interception on the first play that got returned dangerously close to the redzone by Napier. They sent on their offence and the size differential was painfully obvious, they ran their full back downhill with the ball as they crashed out a few three and four yard gains. DT Bart Hayden dragged the ball carrier down for a loss and then LB Dan Denby stuffed him just past the line once more. A Fake run Quarterback rollout pass nearly outfoxed the Centurions but FS Stephen Bates was able to recognise it and bring down the Tight End, who must have been about 6ft 8in, before he could do any real damage. Disappointingly they converted their fourth down and moved in position to score. The Fullback was walled first by Bates and then by LB Rafe Hunter Hallet but on the third down they broke through, Rookie SS Jacob Beaman unable to bring the guy down in time. The point after attempt was a dreadful kick and Napier assumed a 6-0 lead.

After the fireworks of the first drive there was not a lot else to write about in this game. Both teams attempted to run fake punts, both teams failed to successfully run fake punts. The Centurions turned the ball over a couple of times, Napier’s security was significantly better but was not much of a factor as they offered very little offensively for the rest of the game. Rookie RB Jacob Bilsborrow continued his linear running style and found some joy every so often. C Alan Gray and RG Ben Grainger fought hard in the trenches and dealt with the rotation on Napier’s D-line admirably. Needing something, the Centurions went for it in a risky fourth down situation but were unable to convert. Napier took the ball field goal range and bulldozed up the middle for a further 4 yards in three downs, DT Tom Hodgson and DE Ben Matthew throwing their weight around to close up running lanes. The Napier kicker remembered what he was supposed to be doing and split the uprights for a field goal to make it 9-0.

QB Theo Hewit couldn’t spark the team late on and tossed another Interception to close out the game, Napier found a crease and even lateraled it a couple of times but mercifully the returner was brought down before the scoreboard was affected.

Napier Knights proved why they were undefeated with some stellar defensive play in the game. By their own admission, their Offence was rattled after the first drive as they could not get much going and were held to only 23 yards on the day. Alas York could not capitalise but kept pace with a now-promoted side, the Centurions’ attention turned to dismantling the Lancaster Bombers at the end of the week and completing 3 fixtures in an 8 day stretch.

Game 4: Centurions @ Predators

The York Centurions made their first trip to the land of whiskey and haggis with an ugly 1-2 record to their name. Beginning a period of three fixtures in seven days, York were in remarkably high spirits for a 5am meet. The coach journey saw a cautious optimism creep in as the squad seemed up for the challenge…even if a number of players were asleep on the aisle floor of the bus.

After observing some of the Heriot Watt vs Edinburgh Napier fixture beforehand, the Centurions had a good warm up and were ready to come out firing. A couple of three and outs for both teams to begin before FS Stephen Bates jumped a route concept over the middle and got a timely hand on the football. This tipped the ball away from the receiver and into the expectant hands of Cornerback (And former Edinburgh Predator) Zyen Ubaid to come away with the INT. Sadly, Offence couldn’t capitalise on this opportunity. The frustrations of the previous fixture reared their head once again as an Edinburgh run broke outside of the poorly positioned York Cornerback and the Predators ball carrier went 50 yards untouched to the endzone. The last three Touchdowns the Centurions had given up were alarmingly similar to one another.

The two point attempt was foiled as Bates dialled up an uncharacteristic blitz and decked the Quarterback in the backfield. The Centurions offence subsequently put together a great drive with some touch running from Rookie RB Jacob Bilbsborrow and got within a fingernail of the endzone. WR Yuki Shiroo was sent on a sweep but as he attempted to extend the ball for the score, he fumbled it into the endzone for a touchback. The halftime team talks called for the Centurions to remain calm and trust in themselves to get this game back.

Offence obliged as QB Tom Lathem threw deep under pressure. WR Max York wrenched the ball out of the Predators CB’s hands, who seemed to be already planning the speech to his mum about the pick that he got against the Centurions. Max York took it the necessary 66 yards to the house. It almost goes without saying that York missed the two point attempt. Edinburgh regained the ball after a couple of drives in great field position. They were able to float the ball in, the Predators receiver got drilled in the air and completed a full 360 degree rotation. Somehow he held on to it for the Touchdown. The score sat at 12-6 as the forth quarter ticked on. Injuries crept in to Offence as FB Alex Kirkup had flare up of a recuring injury so Bates was sent on as the Full Back. With 1:30 on the clock Lathem found himself in a clean pocket and expertly pump faked three of the Predators, reset his feet and the lofted an elegant pass to Max York at the back of the endzone. The Predators seemed convinced a Full Back dive was coming on the 2pt and so loaded up the middle. In reality Rookie RB Aadum Jung took the handoff and bounced it to outside to walk in for the go ahead 2pt score.

Edinburgh rattled off a huge pass to take them past halfway after a timely York touchback. The Centurions were not to be denied today. Excellent zone cover from the LBs Andew Chudnovsky, Dan Denby and Rafe Hunter Hallett coupled with great push from the Defensive Line meant that a rushed,loopey pass was picked off by Bates to seal a 14-12 win for York.

Reinvigorated by the win that few people predicted them to get, York’s long bus ride home was buzzing from start to finish. The focus quickly shifted on to the next two fixtures as they were taking place in three and seven days respectively. A visit from the undefeated Edinburgh Napier Knights and then a trip to bitter rival the Lancaster Bombers.

Game 3: Centurions @ Cougars

York were set up for the first away game against Teeside, a team they had not played in almost four years. News that the intended pitch for game was unusable filtered through the Centurion ranks as the bus made its way there. The game went ahead on a pitch that seemed little more than concrete covered in a thin, green, sandy carpet. Nevertheless the Centurions took to the field with a number of rookies and back ups in the lineup, illness and unavailability plagued the starters.

Teesside came out and ground the ball up the gut on several plays but gained precious little in doing so. Their backfield looked more like an Offensive line than their actual line did. York’s Offence could not get anything going either and as Teesside’s play calling dared them to pass, the Centurion receivers could not take advantage of the vast open spaces. A calamitous decision to attempt to run a punt by WR Ed Mamet sent the defence on to the field backed up against their own endzone. However they were able to hold firm and repel the brutish onslaught once more. A nice snag by Rookie WR Alex Wehrli was a highlight amidst a boatload of agonising drops that had touchdown written all over them. As three and outs were the flavour of the day, it became about which defence was going to crack.

Unfortunately the Centurions fell first, another run was stuffed at the line but the Running Back was not brought down despite multiple players getting hands on him. The Centurion’s Cornerback lost his outside contain which opened a clear path to the endzone for the Cougars. Their RB was a large man but once up to speed refused to go down. Content with their score, Teesside were happy to grind out the rest of the game as if it were a chew clock drill. York’s offence remained off rhythm for the remainder, the receivers could not figure out how to hold on to the ball and the Running Backs struggled to power through the front eight of the Cougars.

With time running out, York had to force a turnover to have any chance of levelling the score, Coach Claringbold sent the house at Teesside. Despite again getting hands on the running back, the outside contain broke down and they notched a score after a literally identical long run.

A heart breaking loss for the Centurions who missed the players that did not make the trip, good experience however for a number of the rookies that saw game time and hopefully a valuable lesson learned. The frustrations were apparent as the record became ugly, the Centurions need to regroup and right the wrongs that have cost them in both the last two games.

Game 2: Heriot Watt @ Centurions

York welcomed another set of Scottish opponents down to Fort 22 as Heriot Watt came to play ball. Relatively unknown as a team to the Centurions, the Scottish outfit started quickly and caught them off guard. They completed a long deep pass after some nifty footwork from their under pressure Quarterback. Some confusion in the coverage call for York allowed a man wide open in the endzone to catch the touchdown pass. Heriot Watt then ran their QB in to tack on the extra two points. Some elusive running from RB Kevwe Uwotu dragged York down field and into the redzone but they were unable to make that final push. Heriot Watt continued their blistering offensive start in a similar fashion, a few bruising runs followed by a well worked deep bomb. York found themselves 16-0 down and the Centurions defence were left reeling.

The Centurions Offence settled into the game and ignited the team with an electrifying pass from QB Theo Hewit to WR Max York, who turned on the after burners and took the ball home for the score. Two Heriot Watt players collided on the tackle attempt and one of them sustained a nasty looking ankle injury as a result. After the injury delay, York stayed true to tradition by failing to score their 2pt attempt.

The second half started with both teams trading punts. However backed up in their own redzone, Heriot Watt were spooked by a punt block stunt that allowed big DT Joe Atkinson to maraude down the middle unblocked. A dodgy long snap left the punter fearing for his life and in his attempt to escape Atkinson he stepped out the back of the endzone for a safety. Clearly enthused by this, the Centurions wedge clattered into the Heriot Watt kick off unit and bull dozed a huge hole for WR Yuki Shiroo to accelerate into and take the resultant kick back  all the way for another score. The two point attempt was, of course, no good.

Atkinson was not done for the day on special teams as he got a big hand on a later punt and blocked it to give the Centuirion offence great field position. It did not take long for Uwotu to get his name amongst the Touchdown scorers as he finished off the drive which was punctuated by the play fake trickery of Hewit. The Centurions picked up the two points this time after a run up the gut caught Heriot Watt totally off guard. The Defence could not hold this new found lead however as they were unable to pick up a number of consecutive stretch plays, Heriot Watt drove into the redzone. A pass once again flummoxed the Centurion’s Cornerback as Heriot Watt picked up the TD but a nice bat down stopped the two point attempt and left the scores level.

York had their chances to seal the game and had two extended drives that were halted due to careless turnovers. The Centurions thought they had set up the go ahead score as a pass was deflected into the hands of WR Ed Mamet but the euphoria of the huge gain turned to despair as he fumbled it upon being tackled and Heriot Watt recovered. Coach Claringbold was left collapsed in an exasperated pile having seen the ball come lose.

The game went to overtime. Heriot Watt got their play calling spot on and exploited the soft zones of the defence to notch up a quick score, Offence could not respond as the ball security issues continued to haunt them into crunch time. Ultimately the final play was a fumbled toss that Heriot Watt recovered to take the win.

A tough first loss of the season for the York Centurions in a game that was agonisingly winnable, there were at least a few positives to be taken away. Aside from some basic mental lapses that ultimately cost the team against a very well coached Heriot Watt side, the Centurions are finely poised to kick on and play some better football later in the season.

Game 1: Pyros @ Centurions

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.

 

Preseason: Sabres @ Centurions Match Report

For the second consecutive week, the Centurions welcomed a higher ranked team to Fort 22. After narrowly missing out in the last week’s fixture, York were desperate to right the wrongs that had befallen them. The game opened at a fairly slow pace and both teams traded punts more often than big plays. There were a couple of missed opportunities as SS Max Cogan saw a clear pick chance sail between his hands. On Offence, determined running from Rookie RB Charlie Collier punctuated the drive. QB Theo Hewit also impressively scrambled for a tough first down despite being under serious pressure. The Centurions coverage forced Sheffield into mostly checkdown passes which were snuffed out early by the Centurions Linebackers, more often than not. In particular Andrew Chudnovsky and Dan Denby were there making plays. CB Zyen Ubaid intercepted a wayward pass to generate some energy amongst the Centurions and it was not long after, that WR Max York gained separation from his coverage and carried a well thrown pass all the way to the endzone. True to form, the Centurions committed a penalty on the 2pt attempt and then fumbled it second time around.

The second half saw an influx of rookies inserted into the lineup on both sides of the ball and also saw a number of Linebackers move to play Defensive Line due  to absence and injury. RB Kevwe Uwotu slithered his way through a labyrinth of would-be tacklers and then exploded through the open field for the long touchdown. York, somewhat accidentally, attempted an ill fated fake punt which was stopped short of the first down markers. The predominantly rookie defence hustled well, a particularly good gang tackle led by Rookie SS Jacob Beaman brought up a 3rd and long. However Sheffield forced the ball into endzone on the back of some aggressive O line play and some naivety within the Centurions’ play recognition.

The determination of the Centurions not to fall for a second consecutive week played out in an erratic offensive drive that started close to their own endzone. The first play was a large run of around 20 yards, immediately followed by a huge loss as QB Dalton Weir attempted to break free of the pocket. The third play saw Uwotu explode around the edge and was set up by the seemingly trademark blocking from WR Ed Mamet. The open field and the rockets in Uwotu’s boots meant the only possible result was the York go ahead Touchdown.

The York Special Teams unit pinned the Sabres on their own ten yard line with under two minutes and no timeouts remaining. Sheffield, subbing in again almost a full complement of starters, drove past the halfway line with a well drilled set of passes and read option runs. As they neared the endzone, Coach Tom Prosser paced up and down the sideline praying for a turnover to seal the game. His prayers would be answered as the Sabre QB launched the ball across the field attempting to find an out route. FS Stephen Bates was able to read the play, jump the route and intercept the pass, rather than sliding he opted to truck a wide receiver and then get hit by pretty much the entire Sabre’s offence.

York’s Offence went out in the greatest formation in football and knelt out the clock to end what was an enticing and exciting fixture. The Centurions demonstrated their Division One pedigree and have kept pace with two talented side in the passed weeks.

The York Centurions will look to carry all this winning momentum into next week when UWS Pyros come to town for the regular season opener.

* A Sabres receivers was knocked unconscious on a legal hit from a Centurion, Everyone here at the York Centurions hopes he is ok, makes a quick recovery and returns to football very soon.

Preseason: Mustangs @ Centurions Match Report

The York Centurions welcomed the Northumbria Mustangs to Fort 22 for a preseason scrimmage. Both sides saw this as an opportunity to throw their rookies in at the deep end and give them some valuable game experience. The match itself was an intriguing affair and one in which neither team could truly assert any offensive dominance.

WR Yuki Shiroo, fresh from his year abroad in Japan, set the field alight on the very first play as he evaded would-be tacklers and exploded round the edge for a large gain. Defence too started well, Club President and LB Andrew Chudnovsky coming up with a crowd pleasing bat down to blow up a screen pass on 4th down. The Offence then executed such an effective play fake that even the referee bit and blew the play dead thinking the RB had taken the hand off. It did not faze the Centurions as only a few plays later QB Theo Hewit found Rookie WR Aadam Jung on a quick screen. 2nd year WR Ed Mamet, who blocked exceptionally all day, sealed the Mustangs CB out of the play allowing for a huge running lane. Jung wasted no time in opening his Centurion scoring account as he took the 2 yard pass a further 58 yards into the endzone, his impressive acceleration proving too much to handle for the Mustangs defence. The subsequent 2pt conversion was unsuccessful after the pass attempt was deflected into the hands of Rookie RG Liam Heidrich but he was unable to force the ball over the line.

The Defence remained stout. A remarkable series from the Defensive Line saw DT Joe Atkinson terrorise the Mustangs QB and light him up in the backfield. DE Bart Hayden, who had an incredible game and rightly earned Overall MVP, came up with the play of the day as he breezed past the LT and creamed the unsuspecting QB on his blind side. Another notable play came from CB Sam Lock, as an End Around found a lane around the outside Lock tracked the ball carrier and knocked the ball out from behind. The loose ball was then gladly dived upon by FS Stephen Bates to complete the turnover. Defence also managed to chip in a score of sorts as they flushed the Mustangs QB out of the pocket and made him commit an intentional grounding penalty within his own end zone, resulting in a two point safety for York.

Offence were unable to sustain another scoring drive, despite Shiroo executing three spin moves in as many seconds to bring up a first down. A couple of penalties backed York up into their own endzone and Northumbria were able to stuff the 4th down run, after a significant pileup the referees deemed it a safety for the Mustangs. With just under 2 minutes on the clock, the Mustangs proved why they are a Division One outfit as they engineered an impressive final drive to score the go ahead play as time expired. They converted a 4th and 20 on said drive.

However despite this bitter aftertaste and being ahead for 58 of the 60 minutes, the York Centurions Rookies gained valuable experience and kept pace with a side that plies it’s trade in a higher division until the very end. With the corrections and improvements that will occur between now and the beginning of the season, the York Centurions look poised for a strong 2016/17 Campaign.