The inter-divisional games in Sheffield opened with a moment of reflection for Giants WR Paul Oates who had recently passed away. Our best wishes to the Giants family and Paul’s family.
The Samurai came in to the day sensing a possible double win against the Cavaliers and Bears, They decided to rest key players and use their game against the Giants as a practice session knowing the likelihood of the outcome. The reduced pressure made it an unexpected closer result than Leeds have ever had with the Giants.
The Giants prevailed comfortably in the end, with Luka Fadrique earning our game ball for his 2 TD, 2 XP output.
After a solid performance against the Giants, the Samurai found themselves locked in a back and forth battle with the impressive Cavaliers. The Cavs employed an effective strategy, running the ball at the Samurai defenders. Jose Sevilla Napalm helped himself to two TDs in this contest.
The game was decided on a trick play by the Cavs where they threw two forward passes on 4th and long from their own 10 yard line, before being tackled at Leeds 2 yard line. Confusion occurred, as the referees allowed this illegal procedure to take place. The Cavaliers managed the punch in the score. In a game marred by a controversial ending, Sergio De Paco‘s 3 TD passes and additional TD reception earns him our game ball.
The Cavaliers were victim of a dominant performance from the Giants, who looking to be chasing points in the race for the #1 seed in the North. Dean Whittingslow gets our game-ball for his 10 TD performance under centre, coupled with his defensive score, showcasng his versatility.
In a comfortable win for the Blackhawks, the Bears were surprisingly able to move the ball well throughout the game, with quarterback Gareth Lucyzcyn utilising his legs to roll out well to attack the middle of the Blackhawks defence. This gave his receivers space to run after the catch. However, the Blackawks’ experienced defence was able to limit those opportunities in several redzone stops, keeping the Bears scoreless on the day. Another big day from Blackhawks WR Mantas Čečkauskas saw him finish with 3 TDs, an XP and a 2 XP saw him finish with 3 TDs, an XP and a 2 XP and a game-ball from us to boot.
Manchester got off to a fast start in their first match of the day, using short passes to reduce the impact of not having starting QB Talha Javed. They utilised their receivers range in the back of the endzone for a converted touchdown on the opening drive. The Blackhawks responded with a drive of their own, but a dropped snap on 4th down resulted in a missed opportunity. After defensive stops, the Blackhawks responded with two scores of their own to close out the half 13 -7.
The second half started with an unfortunate head injury to Rob Connor of the Crows. We wish him a speedy recovery! The Blackhawks were able to expand their lead 19-7 after the opening drive, but the gap was closed by Manchester to 19-13. The Blackhawks were able to re-capture the momentum and add two subsequent scores, winning out 33-13. James Campbell of the Blackhawks continued a stellar season at safety, with two interceptions and picks up our game-ball in this contest.
The Crows solidified their playoff standing with a fine showing against the Nottingham Bears. James Durham had a great performance at QB, finding 5 different receivers for scores. He threw for 7 TDs, with Gregory Hollin scoring a hat-trick. For the Bears, Phil Howle picked up two interceptions and a sack. Gregory Hollin earns our game-ball in this game!
The Samurai and Bears could not be separated for the majority of this contest, as the Leeds squad found themselves locked in another close game. Their defence stepped up in the latter stages of the game however, forcing a number of turnovers which allowed their offence to capitalise on great field position. Long-standing Samurai Steve Dudley picked up his first ever TD reception, while Kyle Taylor picks up a game-ball for his 6 TD performance!
In the much-anticipated showdown of the two remaining undefeated teams in the MEC, the Sheffield Giants started with the ball. However, they were unable to convert and went 4 and out. The Blackhawks were able to chip their way down the field, before scoring with a short pass to WR Chris Taylor. The Giants responded with a big catch and run from star player Josh Allen who evaded several defenders on a great display of agility. This was followed up immediately with a score from Tim Darracott. However, the Blackhawks were then able to score on a big play of their own, with a bomb caught by WR Mike Dunn.
This was followed by a series of turnovers with each quarterback throwing two interceptions each, including two caught by Giants safety Max Verlint. However, it was the Blackhawks who were able to capitalise, using the good field position to gain another score on a tipped pass. The QBs would trade interceptions again, before Giants QB Dean Whittingslow was able to lead his team to the score in a methodical 2 minute drill. 19-13 to the Blackhawks at the half.
In the second half, both teams opened with scoreless first drives, with both blitzers proving their worth. The Blackhawks introduced some read option plays, putting together a touchdown drive to increase their lead. Sheffield went four and out, allowing the Blackhawks to score again with Alan Bartholomew getting the TD. Sheffield responded with a short yardage score to Andrew Halliwell. However, it was too little too late, as the Blackhawks were able to run the clock out for the win 31-20. For his versatility on offence, Mike Dunn gets a well deserved game-ball in this contest, as he scored 2 TDs for the explosive Blackhawks! With the win, the Blackhawks advance as #1 seed from the MEC, while the Giants will have to settle for #2.
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