Only two fixtures this week at the junior level, with the margin of victory in both proving wider than anticipated!
Nottingham Caesars vs Leeds Academy Assassins
In the solitary northern fixture this week, the Nottingham Caesars maintained their undefeated start to their campaign, defeating the Leeds Academy Assassins by a score of 36-6.
After struggling to score in their first two games, the Caesars offense seems to have found its groove, racking up over 30 points in each of their last two fixtures. This game, however, the points came in ways that we at DC didn’t expect! After employing an effective ‘ground and pound’ strategy in the opening half to their season, the Caesars surprised everyone in switching to a largely passing offense on the day, with quarterback Tom Henley’s first passing touchdowns of the season. Of particularly devastating effect was Bálint ‘Speed’ Molnar, who racked up over 100 yards and both of the aerial scores. Credit must go to the Leeds defence though, especially linebacker Lucy Peaty, as they diagnosed plays with aplomb and did well to limit the Caesars’ gains, perhaps forcing this change in tactic from the ground game to an aerial attack.
Defensively, the Caesars continued their dominant streak, despite a strong showing by Assassins QB Max Milburn who applied significant pressure through the air in the second half. The Nottingham defence has conceded only 4.5 points per game, good for second best nationally, and has done excellent work containing opposition threats in each game they have played this season. Not content with simply containing threats, however, the Caesars D has caused threats of its own, with four turnovers on Sunday, and a further fumble recovered in the end zone by Cory Nathaniel for a score.
The Caesars continue their perfect run to 4-0, whilst the Assassins will hope to have gotten over their rough start to the season and will be looking for their first win in their next game.
Birmingham Lions vs Solent Seahawks
Well… we may have boarded the south coast hype train a little early here (we blame friendship ties). Closer than the score line suggests, the Solent Seahawks put on a spirited performance, but were beaten down by blazing heat and an exceptionally well drilled, and star-filled, Birmingham Lions outfit 39-6.
There were certainly positives for the Seahawks to take away. Receiver Tom Moore managed several impressive grabs, beating a talented Lions secondary with size and speed on multiple occasions. The Solent defence, too, had flashes of excellence, with linebacker Nic Bergamaschi tallying 14 tackles and a sack against the consistently mobile Birmingham quarterbacks. Solent’s special teams particularly stood out, applying pressure to create two fumbles on punts, and taking a kick-off past the 50 only for a last-ditch tackle by the kicker to prevent a score.
However, the Lions proved too strong, and excelled on both offence and defence. Rohan Sandhu led his team impressively, using both his mobility as a runner and accuracy as a passer to find openings in the Solent defence, to the tune of one rushing and three passing TDs. Sandhu’s favourite target appeared to be James ‘Stanners’ Stanley, who made some circus grabs and hauled in a pair of touchdowns for himself.
The Lions defence, not to be outdone, put on a show themselves. Birmingham are well known to have a hard-hitting defence, and Saturday was no different. Some savage hits from Birmingham’s defence, notably from linebacker Michael Wathen and cornerback Matt Boxall, set the tone on the day, with the Seahawks gaining minimal yardage after contact. These, coupled with draining weather conditions, seemed to somewhat demoralise the Solent skill players in the second half, allowing the score differential to be maintained.
The Lions too remain unbeaten, on 4-0, whilst the Seahawks drop to 1-2. However, they have a long wait, until the 16th of July, to prepare for the next game and hopefully come out with a result of their own.