BAFA NL ’19 | Under 19’s Previews: Week Ten

Game of the Week: Highland Wildcats Vs East Kilbride Pirates

The Scottish game takes our “Game of the Week” tag for the second time this season as the Pirates and Wildcats face a rematch of their week 3 bout, this time in sunny Inverness.

The East Kilbride Pirates come into week 10 at 3-0 and will be confident in their ability to remain undefeated, having already beaten this week’s adversary two months ago. The Pirates offence is among the highest scoring in the country, thanks in part to QB Scott McKigen’s seemingly superhuman ability to routinely find Michael Patton on fourth and long for a touchdown. EKP also boast a staggeringly deep backfield committee, which has stepped up in the absence of Jack Cochrane to allow the Pirates to control the clock when necessary.

Perhaps the victims of some of BAFA’s toughest scheduling to date, the Highland Wildcats sit at a deceptive 1-2, but after taking their first win of the season against the Etone Jaguars, the Wildcats will hope they are in the midst of turning their campaign around. After beginning their season against two of the strongest teams in the country, the Wildcats found themselves immediately on the back foot, but with home field advantage and their first win behind them, Highland will hope for a better result than their season opener as they fight for a playoff seeding.

 

Tamworth Phoenix Vs Birmingham Lions

This Weekend sees teams on very different trajectories face off as the winless Tamworth Phoenix face the undefeated Birmingham Lions.

In their first year of U19 football, the Tamworth Phoenix have struggled with numbers and are yet to win a game, but will hope to turn that around in a tough match against the Birmingham Lions. After a 34-6 loss at the hands of the Etone Jaguars, the ‘Nix currently sit at 0-3, but with a roster size as small as theirs, the fact Tamworth have completed all their fixtures is worth applauding in and of itself after just 12 players showed up to face Etone. Despite such low numbers, with many players never leaving the field, the Phoenix still managed to salvage a score after Scott Lynes broke free for a TD, and the team will hope to be more competitive this week.

In stark contrast, the Birmingham Lions come into week 10 3-0 after a second win over the Nottingham Caesars. The Lions offense has proved almost unstoppable, with the QB/WR connection of Nathan Lester to Harry Bushell again proving effective last week. Keeping up with such a high scoring unit will be difficult for the Phoenix, but a must if they are to stand any chance of victory.

 

Thames Valley Tigers Vs London Blitz

By Otis Newbury

This weekend the London Blitz will look to tame the Thames Valley Tigers and secure their 5th straight shut out win of the year. In their way is an improved side who have surprised many in their winning record.

The London Blitz have been the most dominant team in the u19 league for the last few years now. This season so far has been one to remember for the London side who with four shut out wins and 143 combined points just don’t seem to have any weaknesses, but come into this week off their closest victory yet, beating the Solent Seahawks 12-0. However, with playmakers like GB WR Leonardo Sophoclis, who has accounted for 7 TDs so far this season as well as Spanish DB Pelayo Martinez and NCAA hopeful, Khalid Adisa, the Blitz boast more than enough firepower on both sides of the football.

Thames Valley are a pretty interesting story. A combination of teams merged together to form the U19 team for the 2018 campaign, the team have seen great development and as some stars have progressed from the youth ranks in 2019, the team has seen the difference as the team’s offence has finally caught fire with the addition of quarterbacks Lucas Mioni Ratsch and J.P. Osmond. Last year they were at the losing end of multiple 50+ point games, this time out they’ve been serving their own as the team comes into this match up having just handed the Cambridgeshire Cats a 52-0 defeat. The defence too has stepped up, spearheaded by pass rusher Lewis Mees, now free to focus on his preferred position, and leading the way in pitching shutouts of their own.

While a win Saturday for London is to be expected, the tigers can prove themselves as a true contender with victory. They’ll be confident in each other that they can continue shocking the rest of the league come game day and what a shock a Blitz loss would truly be.

 

Wembley Stallions Vs SE Legion

Two teams towards the bottom of the table also face off this week as the SE Legion travel to Wembley.

The Wembley Stallions haven’t played a game since mid-May, when they were denied their first victory of the season after the Cougars came back from 20-0 down to salvage a bizarre 36-36 tie and currently sit at 0-2-1. The Stallions do however boast talent on both sides, with playmakers like Lukasz Smolen and Reece Williamson-White both recording multiple scores, whilst the pass rush duo of Nicholas Curto and Isaiah Young provide a nightmare for opposing O-lines. After a tough start to the season, the Stallions will look to bounce back this week.

The SE Legion came into 2019 as an entirely new outfit, but have already recorded their first win after defeating the Cambridgeshire Cats 8-3 in just their second ever game. Unfortunately for the Legion, this result was immediately followed by a 47-0 blowout at the hands of the Solent Seahawks; a score-line which no doubt would have left a bad taste in the Southeast team’s mouth. QB Jacob Boorer however has now had three games to acclimatise himself to the very different game of 9-man football, and will hopefully feel more comfortable leading his team down the field as the season goes on.

Sunday should provide a tight contest as the Stallions and Legion scrap for minor placings and pride in a highly competitive matchup.

 

 

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