Having come off a first tournament of the season where we scored over 40 points a game on average, you would be forgiven if you'd thought this second tournament would also be a high scoring affair, but you'd have been wrong. The progression of the two newest teams in the league, Salisbury City and Poole, has been nothing short of incredible!
Game 1 saw us play Swindon Storm. The last time we played them ended in a 35-20 win for Swindon at the end of last season, so the U17 were hoping to get a W to start the day and turn over that loss! The game started with a penalty and a safety against the Seahawks in two plays, already they had their backs to the wall and would have to win this one from behind. The score was immediately even again when a muffed snap meant the Swindon QB was downed in their own end zone, a strange start to the game for sure! A great tackle by Dan Opanszki in the Swindon end zone on their next drive resulted in another safety taking the early score to an unusual 4-2. The game remained scrappy for the first half with neither team getting into rhythm, the half time score stayed 4-2. Storm came out strong in the second half with an 8 play drive that threatened the Seahawks Defence, Will Rooney spearheaded the defence and kept them at bay. Buoyed by the Storm attack, the O took the ball and started to move it well down the field. Rob Davey showed his pace and ability to get to the outside and secured a new set of downs, on the next 4th down, Swindon jumped off side and gave Alfie Birks another chance to get into the end zone, he duly obliged! He patiently waited as Ben Coxhill ran a drag route all across the field and caught a beautiful ball in the back of the end zone for his first TD! Unfortunately in his excitement he did spike the ball and got a flag from the ref, but hey, we can't blame him, it was his first TD after all!! A fumble on their own 1 yard line put the Seahawks D in a very difficult situation, which the Storm converted to take the score to 10-8 and give the Seahawks a very nervy finish to the game, but some strong running by Jacob King ran the clock out for a very close win!
Game 2 saw the Seahawks take on the Salisbury City Marauders. The first time out the Seahawks won 58-0 agains the Marauders. That score was no reflection of the game, with a small Marauders squad and at the end of a hot day it was a rude awakening on their first tournament. We expected a much stronger side this time around and thats exactly what we got! A long opening drive by the offence looked to be ending with a TD, but two passes inches away from their intended receivers meant there was no TD at the end of a positive start. The game went back and forth for the next few drives with no scores for either team until the Marauders attempted to challenge Harrison Charlton with a pass in his direction.... big mistake! Harrison read the lofted pass and picked it out the air, the QB tried to recover and tackle him but Harrison lowered his shoulder and floored him before being pushed out inches before the goal line! The truck would earn Harrison the Hammer Award for the day! Following a false start, Alfie Birks found Finn Osborne with a great whip route for the first TD of the game. Ben Coxhill grabbed the one point conversion to make the score 7-0, the extra point would prove to be vital at the end of the game. The game carried on as it had before the TD with the Seahawks moving the ball well on offence without ever crossing the goalline, the defence held off the Marauders attack time after time and never looked like conceding. The Marauders D line pressured our QB and made an incredible play on the ball, parrying up the pass and maintaining concentration to grab the ball on the way back down for a TD. This made the score 7-6 and the Seahawks inability to score meant he ending was going to be more nervy than it should've been! Some great coverage by the defence meant the extra point was no good. The Seahawks managed to see out the rest of the game with some great defence and the game ended 7-6! From a 58-0 defeat to a 7-6 defeat, the Marauders defence immense respect and their improvement has been incredible!
Two close games on a very hot day set up a tough finale against the Poole Dolphins. The Dolphins had won their previous game against Swindon and, much like the Marauders, were showing incredible improvement since the last game between the two of us. The opening drive saw Alfie move the ball well down the field and after some strong run from Jacob and an incredible grab from Rob Davey that he had no right to catch, Alfie found Finn Osborne in the end zone for his 10th TD of the season already! the extra point was no good and the score stood at 6-0. Poole moved the ball well and earned a new set of downs with some strong running, but the bend don't break nature of the Seahawks defence held them out and regained the ball. The Dolphins made their intention clear for the rest of the game with some strong running by their running back. they would consistently hand the ball off and allow him to work hard for the yards, he was a great runner and our defence had to work hard to bring him down every time. With the ball deep in Seahawks territory, Alfie rescued a play with a check down to Rob Davey, rob made the most of the opportunity and took the ball all the way to the end zone with some awesome evasive running! 12-0! The defence eventually forced an error and Fletcher Cornwall fell on a loose ball in his own 5 yards and gave the ball back to the offence. With the heat getting to the players and a few niggling injuries on the defence, QB Alfie stepped into the safety position to help out, he made a great play and picked off the Dolphins QB for the first INT of the game, again the defence made a play just in time to keep the Dolphins out the end zone. Allan Lee took over the offence and moved the ball confidently down the field, but just like the tone of the day, the O couldn't punch the ball to release the pressure! A well constructed reverse play completely confused the Seahawks D and Poole ran a long ball the full length of the field to pull the score to 12-6. With the game on the line, Dan Opanszky grabbed up a loose ball and ran into the end zone for a defensive TD and a play that would earn him the GameBreaker award for the day! Poole continued to run the ball and hard and got their reward with a TD and brought the score to 18-12 following a missed two point conversion. Again, with Poole pushing hard for the tying score the defence stepped up, this time Toby Dean made a great play on the ball and made the second INT of the game!
The story of the day was one of frustration, the offence struggling to finish impressive drives and the defence stepping up just in time with INTs and fumble recoveries to give us 3 wins and take the seasons total to 6-0! The good time find a way to win when they dont play well and thats exactly what the 'Hawks done today!