By Max Baker
After a cagey first half in this year’s American Football Varsity, UWE eventually found their feet to overcome a stubborn UoB and keep their amazing unbeaten run going.
Yet to lose against UoB, UWE started slowly compared to their usual dominance. They started quickly, with the first play getting them within 20 yards of the first touchdown of the game, however the offensive game from both sides slowed down for the time being.
Both sides found intercepting easy whilst they struggled with offensive work as possession swapped hands numerous times in the first quarter. UWE came close towards the end of the first quarter; however the quarterback threw just too far amid frustrations from his receiver.
The start of the second quarter saw the introduction of captain Collins Nwaogu who looked to inspire a UWE surge and get some points on the board. UoB started the second quarter by making slow progress and finding a few extra yards every play before UWE started their own advance after a mistake from the UoB quarterback.
UoB’s exuberated celebrations at a good interception were premature after UWE gained possession straight back after a good interception from their number 3, who continued to have a good game.
As the game progressed, neutral supporters sensed something bigger was coming. Marcus Lee, from Bristol, said: “It’s great to come and see talent from all around the country. The teams obviously have a great rivalry.”
As we reached the end of the second quarter, the UoB quarterback struggling under some good defensive pressure from the opposition and UWE went into the second half the better side.
On one of their first plays of the second half, UWE made some great progress through their #23 running back, who is a rookie this season. Finally, after making up some great yards from the vision of UWE’s #5 quarterback, they finally made the breakthrough and scored the first touchdown and the game.
6-0 to UWE.
With barely time to breathe after the first, UWE were back on the offensive and scored another touchdown, courtesy of more great play by their #23, who had a stellar game in his first season in the team. With the two point conversion successful, UWE lead by 14-0 heading towards the end of the third quarter.
The end to an exciting third quarter saw UoB pull one touchdown back after their #83 was found in space by their quarterback, and then collected the extra point. With the score going into the final quarter at 14-7 to UWE, it was set for a cagey last 15 minutes.
UWE held onto possession well at the beginning of the last quarter and made slow but steady progress, forcing the UoB defence into leaving some gaps. Finally pushing within 10 yards of their third touchdown, their #88 made up for an earlier fumble by finding the space and making a great catch to secure the 6 points, after which the two point conversion was unfortunately unsuccessful.
UWE were looking in a strong position to finish the game. After conceding numerous flags, UoB eventually gained possession back and looked to make a final break. They looked to have come close at first, but their wide receiver stumbled before he could make up the yards. They finally had a breakthrough and were successful, scoring another touchdown and collecting the extra point but it was a case of too little too late as the final whistle was blown and UWE emerged victorious after a difficult start to the game.
Captain Nwaogu was sure to point out the game was a difficult one: “It was a tough game but we managed to grind out the win against a good side that were well drilled. We’re all really proud to keep this legacy going.”
And head coach Daniel Maher followed up those words, heaping praise on the squad: “It’s a massive achievement. Playing two games in three days was the biggest test of the season but the boys did themselves proud, especially on such a big event as Friday Night Lights.”
So UWE are victorious once again against their bitter rivals. Fancy beating UoB again next year? Contact Daniel Maher to find out how you can get involved!