A strong bounce back performance for the U19 Seahawks!

Last Sunday the Junior 'Hawks got the opportunity to rectify the tough loss against the Warriors two weeks previous, they had something to prove! By the time the game was over, it was safe to say the previous result was well and truly out their system!

Photo: Hannah Elton-Dobbin

It was to be our furthest away game of the season and so required an early meet at the College. The convoy left at 7 am and after the customary stop at Cobham Services, we arrived at the South East Legion ground around 10 am. The field was on quite a slope, Coach V noting that 'it had a fair amount of topography'! With 45 mins to go till kick off and no refs in side, it was becoming apparent we had an issue. With the game supposed to be a double header with the Maidstone senior team we were due to share refs with them. Due to some unknown reason the refs ended up at the wrong venue and after some phone calls to BAFRA and BAFA the refs were diverted to us! This meant we had an hour delay to our kick off. The refs had one more headache for us, it was to be a running clock all game so they could make up the time and get back to the seniors.... it was going to be an interesting game!

SE Legion had come off there first ever win in only their second ever game against the Cambridgeshire Cats in their previous game, they clearly were still on a high after that win. They received the ball and immediately set to work on a steady drive down the field. After converting on 3rd down some great pressure by Ryan Robinson Smith on the defensive line forced the QB into a rash passing attempt which Will Barker read and intercepted. With the End Zone in front of him he came agonisingly close to a score but was tackled on the 6 yard line. With the first play for the offence Louis Benzey found Seb Blears for a quick score and Sebs first TD at Junior level! As expected, Owen slotted the XP cleanly between the posts to continue his 100% XP record!

Seb with his TD! (Hannah Elton-Dobbin)

On the next drive the Legion signalled their intent for the day with a run on 4th and 3. The fast RB got to the outside and got his team a new set of downs. The next drive also went to the 4th down, this time 6 yards was too much to ask and they punted away, unfortunately kicking into the wind and an unfortunate bounce on the upslope meant the ball actually ended up going backwards! The Offence continued their fast start and on the 2nd down, Louis Benzey rolled out and directed his RB, Ollie Clemo, to give him some blocking and he ran into the corner of the EZ for the second TD of the game. Again, Owen slotted the XP as expected! With a running clock, this was the end of a very quick first quarter!

A quick 3 and out, and a great return from Seb, saw the offence continue to have great field position and start their drive from the Legion 35 yard line. However, for the first time in the game the offence couldn't finish the drive with a score. Legion retook possession but continued to struggle against he robust Seahawks defence. Sam Gee returned the punt and once again the offence had a great starting point for the drive. Unfortunately during the return, a SE Legion player had an awkward fall and had to be seen to by the medics, we wish him well in his recovery.

Having taken 5 yard penalty on the first play, Ollie Clemo took a hand off and ran the ball in for a 36 yard TD, however, a dubious block in the back call meant it wouldn't stand. The drive continued, and with some very intelligent QB play by Benzey to secure a new set of downs and run the ball down to the 1 yard line, the QB was able to finish the move with his 2nd rushing TD of the game. It was Louis's 3rd Rushing TD of the season. No surprises, Owen made the XP, even with some pressure from the Legion!

With the second half kick off, Marcus Paramor thought he had the first recorded kick return TD for the Seahawks U19 after some great working breaking tackles, however a block in the back call brought it back! Gutted, especially as video footage would later show it was likely a Legion player who blocked his teammate in the back!!

3 and out again for the Legion, put us on our own 32, our worst starting position of the game so far. This didn't stop Ollie Clemo though! Clearly annoyed after having his 36 yard TD chalked off, he proceeded to run in a 74 yard TD for his 4th of his rookie season! Some great footwork and razor sharp cuts gave the defence no chance. The shock of the season so far followed.... Owen missed the XP! Bringing to an end a run of 9 straight successes!

The Legion defence continued to toil and a muffed snap recovered by Ryan Robinson-Smith put the Offence back on the field deep in the home teams territory. This time it was QB Nathan Harvey who through the TD on the 2nd play, it was his 2nd passing TD of the season and it was Lewis Marstin's first receiving TD for the Seahawks. Owen was back on track and started his next successful streak of XPs!

Lewis Marstin with the 5th TD of the game!

Legion put together a good drive and after a new sets of downs they punted the ball back to the Seahawks. For only the second drive of the game, the Seahawks offence couldn't get into the EZ and had to punt the ball away. The home team put together the best sequence of the game for themselves and found themselves at 1st and goal on the Seahawks 9 yard line. With the division likely to be very tight at the top, and points conceded being a tie breaker, the Seahawks dug in and refused to lose their clean sheet! 4 negative yardage plays pushed the Legion outside the Redzone and out of field goal range, the clean sheet would stand for another drive! A stalled drive by the offence would very quickly put the home team back on the field however. Again the defence stood strong and withheld what would prove to be the last Legion offensive drive.

With one drive left on the clock Benzey hit Marcus Paramor with a beautiful fade, Marcus broke a tackle and ran in to the EZ for a 67 yard TD! With his speed, no one was going to catch him! Owen slotted the XP and the score stood at 41-0. Bearing in mind there was a running clock for the whole game, this was a very impressive scoreline! And it wasn't over yet! With the Legion playing for pride, they tried to pass the ball downfield and register a score, however Safety Josh Roberts read the ball beautifully and picked the ball out the air. With 64 yards to go he had a lot of work to do! After running the Legion players all over the field and after about 300 yards of running he finally crossed into the EZ with time expired to compete the 47-0 win!

With the game taking just over 1 hour 30 mins of real time, it was an impressive score and a marker was laid down. Some milestones were also reached, Louis Benzey's TD pass to Marcus took him to 1001 passing yards for the Junior Seahawks, he also registered his 5th rushing TD at this level. Ollie Clemo clocked up an incredible 126 yards on the day, 2nd most yards ever recorded in a game for the U19 Seahawks! Toby Naylor had 4 tackles on the day, taking him to 100 overall for the U19s and moving him further ahead as the U19 all time leading tackler.

It was a great day overall, but already work has been started for the arrival of the national champions - London Blitz - in two weeks time at Test Park.....