In the penultimate fixtures for the HNC, the Grangemouth Broncos would play host to their divisional opponents, the Dunbeth Dragons and Carnegie Steelers. Having already wrapped up the division, the Broncos could use these games as a tune-up for the playoffs. Meanwhile the Dragons and Steelers were locked in a heated playoff race.
The Broncos have been a fast starting team all season, usually catching their opponents off guard with a barrage of early scores. They showed considerable rust however, as the lack of action in six weeks showed. The Dragons kept the game tight, until Kevin Woods intercepted a pass to open the floodgates. The Broncos raced ahead to a 34-6 halftime lead. Liam Fleming had arguably the best performance by any Broncos, as he grabbed two TD receptions and three interceptions, returning one for a score. The second half saw the Broncos able to rotate some fringe players into the lineup, and they were not finished scoring. For the Dragons, star WR Craig Murray followed up his recent Chieftains call up with a hat-trick of TDs against the vaunted Broncos defence. The final score was a resounding 63-19 to the Grangemouth squad, who look in excellent form ahead of the playoffs. The game ball goes to the aforementioned Liam Fleming, who has emerged as one of the top players from the HNC.
The Broncos continued their fine form into their second game against the play-off chasing Steelers with an opening score to Fraser Thomson, who added the XP also. Callum Woods then snagged a pick six and offensive score, while Matty Ross picked up a safety for the Broncos. They held a comfortable 37-6 halftime lead. The Steelers made the most of the Broncos rotation, as they kept the second half far tighter, as the second 20 minutes of the game finished 19-14. The final score was a comfortable 56-20 to the Broncos. For his heroics on both sides of the ball, Callum Woods gets our game ball!
In arguably the highlight fixture of the day, the Dragons and Steelers would go head to head for a place in the playoffs. The Steelers held a slender lead over the Dragons going into this fixture, so it was do-or-die for the Dunbeth squad. The Steelers were the team who showed up in the first half, as they committed the fewer mistakes to take a 14-6 lead into halftime. The blitz was causing issues for Dragons QB Alistair Aitken, who was tasked with rallying the troops at half time. While the Steelers managed to add to their lead after half time, the Dragons began to mount their comeback, and in the final three minutes we saw the Dragons show off their firepower. They took the lead in dramatic fashion, but a late score from the Steelers looked to sink the mood in the Dragons’ camp. The Dragons then marched the field, and took the decisive score, snagging the play-of spot from the Steelers. They look likely to hold onto that spot, as the Steelers have tough fixtures against the Oilcats and Comets, while the Dragons have the Sabers and Spartans to contest. For his efforts in this excellent comeback, Alistair Aitken wins our game ball.
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