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.