Solent win 4th straight to keep plate hopes alive.
Solent Redhawks 27 – 22 BNU Buccaneers
In what was touted as a potential game of the week fixture, the 3-3 Solent Redhawks faced the 2-3 Bucks New University Buccaneers at Solent's revered Test Park facility on Sunday. BNU came into the game with the highest scoring offence in the TVC so far this season (198 points) and were looking to add to this total against a resurgent Redhawks defence that had only allowed 12 points total in their last 3 games, which includes holding the national champions Portsmouth to just 6 points in the previous game.
BNU paid a respectful tribute at the coin toss; removing and turning their helmets to reveal #79 decals in honour of ex-Redhawk Rich Baker who sadly passed away this season. An honourable gesture, humbly received by the Redhawks sideline.
BNU won the coin toss and instantly showed why their double wing offence is feared in the TVC as it took them just two plays to score on the opening drive of the game. After a short gain on a run up the middle the Bucs were able to elude the Hawks defence using some of their much talked about trickery. BNU managed to pull off a reverse and get in to the endzone with a 61 yard TD and succeeded in their two point conversion attempt, leaving Solent down 8-0 with only seconds off the clock.
Where as the defence were stunned by BNU's start, the Redhawks offence knew exactly what they had to do when they took to the field. With a mixture of pass and run plays the Redhawks offence drove down the field into the BNU red zone stopping at the 9 yard line. RB Tom Borsay found the receivers making good blocks and he squeezed in the right corner pylon of the end zone, off the option from QB Sebastian Sanders-Rivas, to get Solent a score on the board and showing that they too have come to rack up the numbers. The EP was converted resulting in a score of 7-8 to BNU.
In a game that was marred with penalties for both sides the game was fairly back and forth with some defensive stands and a couple fumbles. BNU managed to get to the Solent 5 yard line on a long drive just before the end of the first quarter. However Solent's defence had now got a grasp on how to defend BNU's offence, Bucs were forced in to a 4 and out, placing Solent's offence on their own 5 with the length of the field to drive.
With the running game of the Redhawks on fire, causing all kinds of problems for the BNU defence, Solent found it's self marching up-field in quick succession. It was the passing game that scored the next TD. QB Sebastian Sanders–Rivas threw to WR Nick Parker who caught the ball on the 5 yard line and was bundled into the end zone for Solent’s second score of the game. This time the EP was blocked by BNU’s special teams meaning that Solent lead by 13-8.
Solent’s defence once again showed how good they are on back to back defensive stands, the first was a muffed snap between the centre and QB of the Bucs which saw DE Darrell Ceres jump over a BNU lineman to pounce on the ball as soon as it hit the ground. After a 4 and out from Solent, the Buccaneers only made short yards and on a outside BNU run, the play was broken up by Redhawks' American import, LB Rogan Van Gruisen, who stripped the ball and returned it to the Bucs 1 yard line.
Bucs defence made up for the mistake managing to keep the Redhawks out of the endzone before the half time clock ran out.
Half Time: Redhawks 13 – 8 BNU
The second half got under way in similar fashion to the first, with BNU recovering an onside kick and proceeding to the Redhawks 43 yard line in a few quick hitting plays. BNU’s #5 beat everyone to the outside and in a foot race to the end zone it resulted in a BNU score. However the ensuing 2pt conversion failed, 13-14 BNU.
Solent’s defence then stepped up a gear with LB Jake Hayman forcing a fumble after delivering a monster hit on the Bucs running back and fellow LB Sam Illsley recovered the ball for a gain of 13 yards back towards BNU's territory. Redhawks offence fired up again to drive down the length of the field into the BNU red zone. On another option from QB Sebastian Sanders-Rivas, RB Stefan Williams bounced to the outside and emphatically dove inside the pylon to score the Redhawks third TD of the day. The EP is once again blocked making the score 19-14 Solent.
The fourth started with a bang as the Redhawks forced another 4 and out, leading to a 5 play drive which ended in a second touchdown for WR Nick Parker and a fourth for the Solent offence courtesy of a big reverse play that caught the Bucs off guard and led to the 43 yard TD. Solent went for a two point conversion for the first time in this game and it worked with a rapid bootleg from QB Sebastian Sanders-Rivas, making the score 27-14.
BNU then went no huddle and drove 72 yards for a quick score late on in the fourth with a 16 yard dive. BNU were depleted by the Redhawks suffering a total 7 injuries to starters in the duration of the game. The Bucs tried to regain the ball opting for an onside kick, which failed with the Redhawks kick return team recovering the ball comfortably. With one minute left, the Redhawks kneeled out the clock giving them their fourth win in a row; keeping their hopes of post-season football alive.
By Arran Brown