|April 24, 2011||2:30 pm||BAFA NL II East||2011|
8 - 71Full Time
The Spartans kicked of their 2011 campaign in formidable style with a 71-8 destruction of Divisional foes Norwich Devils, sending a warning to the rest of the League – the Black Tide is coming!
In a dominant display, the Spartans ended the game as a competition in the first quarter. Defensive lineman and last years Rookie of the Year Aaron Millar set the tone early on, recovering a fumble on the Devils first possession, which quarterback James Dawson quickly turned into 6 Essex points with a scoring pass to offensive captain Jon Tottman.
In the blazing heat and in front of an impressive crowd, the Spartans defense stifled the Devils offense, linebacker James White recovering another Norwich fumble to give the Spartans offense great field position. Dujon Bostwick powered his way through the Devils defense shortly after to give the Spartans a 13-0 lead.
On the following drive, the Spartans once-again forced another Devils fumble, linebacker Jason Donaldson on hand to scoop up the loose ball, giving Dawson a chance to connect with receiver Sam Clarke on a deep pass play to extend the lead to 19-0.
In a quarter that the Devils will want to forget and the Spartans never will, linebacker Gary Wilson killed another drive with an interception, which running back Steven Hull quickly converted into more Essex points and an impressive 26-0 lead. Millar then recovered his second fumble of the quarter, giving Hull an opportunity to scamper home for his second score, which he duly converted for a 34-0 lead going into the second quarter.
15 minutes of gametime. 34 points. 4 touchdowns. 4 recovered fumbles. 1 interception. The greatest quarter of football in team history? Possibly. The Spartans were engulfing all in their path – and the Devils simply had no way to stem the Tide.
The defense was swarming – cornerback Craig Johnson picked off a wayward pass. The special teams were dominant – receiver Nick Castone recovered a muffed Devils punt. The offense was breathtaking – Dawson connected with Tottman again for the touchdown and the conversion for a 42-0 Spartans lead.
Norwich scored their sole touchdown of the game shortly afterwards – but Koby Williams soon silenced their celebrations with an electrifying kickoff return, taking the ball deep into Devils territory. A few plays later, Hull completed his hat-trick with his third touchdown of the game, and the successful conversion gave the home team a halftime lead of 50-8.
James Woodward took control of the offense in the second half, and wasted no time in hitting Tottman for the unstoppable receivers third score of the contest. Defensive captain Ally Minto then picked off another Devils pass before weaving his way into the endzone on a spectacular return for a 66-8 Essex lead. Johnson picked off his second pass of the day, and Bostwick later blew away the Devils defense for his second score of the game. At 71-8, the rout was complete.
As the Devils left Billericay licking their wounds, the Spartans were left to bask in the Bank Holiday sun and reflect on what had been a truly dominant performance. 10 touchdowns. 4 interceptions. 4 fumble recoveries. A victory that goes down as one of the finest performances by the team in recent history.
Head Coach Marc Saunders said, “This was a great opening to our season, players old and new alike got to put the months of preparation into practice and everyone did himself proud.
“There’s a long way to go, and if we keep applying ourselves I’m confident we can dominate this Divison this year”.
The Spartans now turn their attentions to squaring off against old rivals Kent Exiles at Hannakins Farm on Sunday, May 1st. The team welcome anyone to come along and cheer on the team for this 2:30pm kickoff.
Roll Tide Roll!