|May 2, 2010||2:30 pm||BAFL II South East||2010|
6 - 0Full Time
Essex Spartans lost out to Norwich Devils in the season opener with the only score of the game coming from a mistake when punting from their own twenty yard line.
It had been a game that was dominated by the defences as well as the typical May Day weekend weather, wet and rainy. Spartans won the toss and decided to receive the ball from the kick off. They got off to a good start going to the 35 yard line with a catch from 81 before getting their first 1st down at the 49. With the wind going against them coach Weems decided to go for the 4th down but his side couldn’t pull off the last couple of yards to make the 1st down giving the Norwich offence their first action of the day.
The away sides possession started well with a 1st down but they nearly had a pass picked off before the quarterback was eventually sacked six yards behind the line of scrimmage. On their next drive the home side looked to get points on the board before the end of the quarter. Running back Hull helped Spartans get to the 23 yard line after rushing ten yards earlier in the drive as the spartans picked up valuable yards after giving ten away for an infringement at the start of the drive. From the 23 yard line Aaron Davidson had the chance to get three points for the Spartans with a field goal but his effort was scuppered.
The second quarter went with both sides not being able to get a hold of the game. Spartans did pick two passes from the Devils quarterback but couldn’t convert the possession into points. The first coming from a 4th down pass intercepted by safety Tindall on his own 28 yard line before, after a ten yard penalty, throwing the ball to a Spartan on their 26 yard line.
The second half started badly for the Spartans after initially stopping the Devils offence from the kick off. The Devils gained a 1st down but could not go any further punting away with the Spartans starting at their own 20 yard line. Without making up the ten yards Davidson went for the punt in what was the game winning play. The snap went terribly wrong as the ball sprung out across the pitch leaving a Norwich man to pick up the loose ball and run in for the touchdown.
It then turned into a frustrating afternoon for the Essex team as they gave away yardage from three yellow flag plays entering the final quarter. But they soon had the ball back after Norwich failed to make the ten yards with yet again some risky passing plays. The home side started on their own 30 yard line giving away more yards for a holding offence but drove on to scoring distance, including a run again from Hull rushing 24 yards to the 41 yard line that set the Spartans on their way up the field. But again mistakes crept in as they tried to get the field goal. The snap was good but dropped by 19 who tried to run with the ball only to hit a white and yellow wall.
There was one last chance for a the tie however as the Spartans overturned a fumble on their own 45 yard line with little over two minutes remaining. A six yard rush was followed by a 1st down on the Devils 44 yard line from Hull’s run going out wide. They then went to the 33 yard line gaining a 1st down with thirty seven seconds left on the clock. Spartans called their first time out of the half with twelve seconds left with the ball on the 31 yard line following an incomplete pass. The 3rd down got them another 1st down on the 21 yard line with another time out called with just two seconds to spare. With the wind still against them the Spartans rushed for the line to level the score but were pushed out to the sideline only gaining a few yards in the last play of the game.
It ended up a frustrating afternoon for the Spartans as they reflected back on one mistake that cost them the game. But in hindsight coach Weems and his team can take a lot of positives out of the game knowing his much improved side can still make a lot of headlines in the coming season.