Peterborough Saxons @ Milton Keynes Pathfinders
Saxons finish off the Pathfinders
The Peterborough Saxons travelled down to Milton Keynes to face to Pathfinders and were welcomed by the great changing facilities. Filled with confidence after a solid victory against the Pathfinders, the Saxons were ready from the word go.
The Pathfinders won the toss and chose to defer and Saxons’ Quarterback, Nick Tilbury, opted to kick.
The game started with a deep kick from ‘Bobby’ Amissah which was returned for a short gain. The Pathfinders began their drive with runs for short gains to the outside. The Saxons defence easily stopping the drive dead with a three and out, resulting in a punt from MK. The punt was kicked away low and picked up by Darius Williams who began his run from Saxon 40 yard line. Williams stiff armed away one tackle before turning up field and with blistering speed cut his way through the Pathfinders. A couple a jukes and an excellent block down field from Adam Gumbs and Williams had a clear path to the End Zone drawing first blood for the Saxons. The PAT kick was caught by the wind and taken to the left of the uprights leaving the score 6 – 0. The Pathfinders found it difficult to get started again as a sweep to the left was stopped short, and another run was fumbled and recovered by the Saxons. The Saxons took to the gridiron with their first drive 6 points up and after initially struggling to complete two passes, Tilbury managed to air it out for a deep pass to get the first down. The Saxons switched to the rushing game with Tyre Jones and began to push the Pathfinders back into the Red Zone. On the third run Jones found the end-zone, after a twisting run that proved deadly. Wanting to carry on the momentum the Saxons went for the two points on the PAT. Again Jones found the End Zone but barely made it over the line as the Pathfinders tried to keep him out, but failed putting the score to 14 – 0. The Pathfinders still stayed clear of passing plays and continued to drive the ball on the ground. Two plays were stopped quickly but the third swung to the right and broke through a gap in the Saxon Defence and with amazing speed the Pathfinders found the End Zone to post up their first point against the Saxons this season. The PAT kick was good and brought the score to 14 – 7. The kick off was sent deep into Saxon territory and fielded by Mike Osei. A couple of well-placed blocks set Osei up nicely for his speed to run freely along the side line. The Saxons cheers were ended as a Pathfinder managed to shove Osei out of bounds before a flurry of yellow flags brought the ball back to the Saxons 30 yard line. Despite the efforts by both teams neither managed to put up any more points in this exciting first quarter.
Whatever was said on the Pathfinders side in the brief stop in play seemed to work as they took to the field and put together some good plays. Still fearing interceptions they stayed on the ground and moved the ball with a combination of runs up the middle and to the outside. The Saxons D stood firm but the Pathfinders still managed to make the first down marker by the narrowest of margins on two occasions. Eventually the Pathfinders went to the air and caught out the Saxons Defence with a deep pass which was completed and carried the five yards remaining to the End Zone. Happy to equalise the Pathfinders kicked the PAT and levelled the score at 14 – 14. Despite some good efforts by the Saxons Offence, the Pathfinders D seemed to be just as fired up as their O and prevented the Saxons from taking control again. After a couple of exchanges in possession the Saxons Offence managed to put together an impressive drive switching from ground to the air and back again with ease. Even when the Pathfinders shut down the Saxons receivers, Tilbury was able to scramble forward to get the job done and deliver one more first down. Unfortunately the Saxons drive ended with a fumble which was recovered by the Pathfinders. After failing to produce much on the ground the Pathfinders went to air hoping to keep their drive alive but this was easily stopped by the Saxons before the half time whistle blew.
Half time Score: Saxons 14 – Pathfinders 14
With the earlier deferral the Saxons kicked again giving the Pathfinders possession. With a very aggressive return the Pathfinders seemed to want to intimidate the Saxons once again. But the Saxons shook this off with a new found desire to win the game and end this double weekender. MK remained on the ground and was stopped once again with a three and out. The punt bounced past the end-zone giving the Saxons possession on the 20 yard line. The Saxons struggled to get going amid some very questionable tackles. Forced to punt, Dale Hawes took the ball and with a strong wind in his face took the decision to make a break for it, but was forced out of bounds one yard short of the first down marker. Again the Pathfinders were stopped on the ground but with the wind in their back, decided to try and take the lead with a field goal attempt. This ended with a block as at least half of the Saxons D managed to get in the way of the ball. The Saxons appeared flat on both sides of the ball. Head Coach William White and General Manager Ryan Toone took to the field in their Defensive positions to somehow inspire the team and lead from the front. MK barely changed their play and carried on with runs broken up with some sporadic passing but still could not break a stalemate which had now fell on both teams. Rookie Mike Robinson came into the fray at Running back and quickly showcased his talent and breathed new life into the Saxons O. With some great runs gaining good yardage and taking some bone crunching tackles, Robinson showed his true grit and determination again and again.
The Saxons having possession of the ball went straight on the offensive with some good passing and another fantastic run by Robinson. The drive went deep into the Pathfinders territory and the side-lines fell silent as Tilbury launched a long bomb for Jason Bradshaw who was in the End Zone ready for the reception. The ball was caught and the pass completed but was brought back as yellow flags were sent skywards. The Saxons picked themselves up again and after a couple of runs by Robinson went back to the air. Tilbury completed the crucial pass to Hawes who took it with ease. The PAT kick was good taking the score to 21 – 14. The Pathfinders carried with the ground game and once again ended their drive with a punt which sailed out of bounds. With the lead and good field position the Saxons ran out the second string Quarterback Cameron Field. Coming up from the junior team the GB Lions contender demonstrated his strong arm and good vision. Field also demonstrated his lack of fear by charging into the Pathfinders D and shook off a heavy hit. Tilbury took the reins once again but the drive had ended. The Pathfinders desperate to level the score before the two minute warning aired it out to the tight end who, despite having three defenders hanging from his bulky frame, was able to shake himself loose and grab another ten yards before being brought down. MK looked poised to score with attempts from the air and the ground, but all were being thwarted by a Saxons D that knew they had to perform if the team was to win. The Pathfinders carried on with a respectful display of football but the drive came to an abrupt end with a fumble which was recovered by the rampant Saxons defence. Amissah, Jones, Hawes, and Gumbs all carried on showing their prowess on the field moving the ball down the field in the closing minutes before a fumble put the ball back into the Pathfinders hands. With the win in sight but the game on a knife edge the Saxons Defence couldn’t afford a single mistake and delivered by closing down the run and forcing a terrible pass which was nearly intercepted by two Saxons without a single receiver in sight. The Saxons told the officials that they planned to take a knee to run out the remaining seconds but it was mutually agreed to just end it there giving the Saxons the win.
Final score: Saxons 21 – Pathfinders - 14