A Week in the Life: Wildcard Wednesday

**To watch the Diplomats game from 6pm (UK Time) tonight just click the link here, and select the game against the Muhlenberg College Mules**

He’s back for another week; Bryce’s ‘A Week in the Life’ blog is back with the Wednesday edition and you can catch up with his previous blogs below:

Monday
Tuesday

Join us in two weeks time for the Thursday instalment as the Diplomats have their bye week next week and Bryce is being afforded some well deserved time off! But before we hear from Bryce himself, here’s a quick account of last weekend’s match:

Last week saw the Diplomats travel loose for the first time this season at the hands of the nationally ranked #24 Susquehanna River Hawks by a scoreline of 42 - 13. F&M travelled to Selinsgrove, Pa. looking to extend their undefeated start to the season but instead saw a dominant Susquehanna side score 21 points in the second quarter alone to put the game beyond reach. Bryce’s side would get on the score board for the first time in the fourth quarter following an interception from defensive back Thomas Downs providing a very short, 7 yard, field for the offence to convert the score. The F&M offence would then score the final touchdown of the game, driving the ball 86 yards on 18 plays, but having conceded an additional touchdown in the 1st, 3rd and 4th quarters, the deficit would finish at 29 points.

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This week sees a potentially even tougher task as the Muhlenberg Mules - who have already beaten the River Hawks themselves already this season - come to town. The Mules have won the Centennial conference 7 times since the turn of the millennium and look to be in fine shape to make a push for an 8th crown in 19 years having beaten conference powerhouse the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays earlier in the year.

It will however be Bryce and the rest of the F&M defensive staff’s job to try and stop the Mules this weekend, and for more on that here is what he got up to on Wednesday this week!

“After a hugely disappointing result at the hands of Susquehanna football we got straight back into working for what would on paper be a bigger test this week against Muhlenberg, a team who beat Susquehanna 2 weeks ago. 

Wednesday began as every Wednesday begins, by watching and reviewing the previous days practice film. We film our scout, team and skelly (skeleton) periods from both wide and tight angles allowing us to view all positions on the field and grade alignment, assignment and performance on every play. This goes on for around 3 hours and is something that is incredibly important to the success of the team. 

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Following on from this we are given the days run fits and scouting script by the Defensive Coordinator and then myself and the DL coach get right onto drawing cards. I draw the cards with the passing plays on them and he draws the run plays this is obviously because as the secondary coach I am aware of how our defence should align against the pass and he is aware of how our DL should align against the run on any given play. This takes up the majority of the day up until practice which was different this week due to the weather. It was set to be around 102F (39C) with humidity levels reaching 90% so we decided to run our individual drills outside on the field and we would take our scout into the gym hall to try and avoid any weather related injuries or problems. This is apparently the last day of summer weather and the weather would just dramatically change overnight to being much cooler and less humid. 

After practice we then went back to the office and uploaded the film onto HUDL (Online platform for storing and watching video of prior practice sessions and game) and broke it down, entering the down and distance, offensive plays, defensive calls, result of the play etc etc. Once this had been done it was onto streamlining the gameplan for Muhlenberg this weekend. Muhlenberg are currently the highest ranked team in the conference coming in at #6 nationally however the feeling is one of quiet confidence amongst the camp as the players and coaches are incredibly excited at this opportunity to go and rectify the mistakes of last week against a higher ranked team. 

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This is the best thing about college football in that despite what happens on Saturday you only have to wait 7 days (less the bye week) before being able to right any wrongs of the previous week - and in this game anyone can beat anyone. I look forward to welcoming Coach George “Groot” Pirie, Roughnecks Special Teams Coordinator to the game this weekend as he takes time out from his studies at UNC to travel down to watch the game and spend the weekend in Lancaster. 

I will not be releasing a blog next week as it is our bye week and I will be enjoying my first day off since arriving. Next Thursday, Friday & Saturday will be spent with my wife who travels over next week and I doubt you all want to hear about the copious amount of shopping we will undoubtedly be taking part in.”

A Week in the Life: Tuesday

**Remember, the link to watch the Franklin & Marshall Diplomats’ games will be shared each Saturday prior to kick-off on the facebook page so that you can watch how Bryce’s team get on each week**

As we head into the 4th weekend of the Diplomats’ season, we take the opportunity to catch up with last Saturday’s action, and of course speak to The Big Man™, who follows up last week’s Monday blog (available here if you missed it), with part 2 of his ‘A Week in the Life’ blog, which unsurprisingly details what he got up to during Tuesday this week of his ‘Reasearch trip’ to the land of the free:

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With the McDaniel Green Terror coming to the Shadek Stadium to face the Diplomats, both teams would face their toughest test of the season so far with a tight game expected between the two 2-0 sides.

Surprisingly - wearing not green - the Green Terror (in white) got the best of the early action, turning a 1st quarter field goal deficit into a 4 point lead in time for the half time break. Capitalising on an F&M interception McDaniel added a field goal to an earlier touchdown to make it 10 - 6 with the Diplomats kicker adding his second of the day before the interval on what was a warm Pennsylvanian day.

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The second half would be all different however as the Diplomats kicked into another gear and took control of the game. Two rushing touchdowns and two through the air would see the Diplomats surge into a 34 - 10 lead, with the defence standing resolutely throughout the second half and the rushing attack taking control. Allowing an impressive touchdown - reeled in on a diving catch - in garbage time the Green Terror reduced the Dips’ lead to 17 but that is how it would finish.

Moving to 3-0 the Diplomats this weekend face the Susquehanna River Hawks who as recently as 2015 were the Susquehanna Crusaders - The vote which saw River Hawks chosen as both nickname and mascot also saw Bobcats, Explorers, River Otters and Phoenix considered as finalists. The River Hawks currently sit at 2 - 1 on the season having lost in overtime at the Muhlenberg Mules last week.

As a result the River Hawks will be keen to get back on track and knock off the Diplomats, but of course Bryce and the rest of the coaching team have been hard at work all week in their efforts to stop this from happening, and here’s what he got up to on Tuesday (24th September):

“Despite working 7 days a week, Tuesday and Wednesday seem to be the busiest days of the week and have the least amount of time available for doing anything except work. We start by arriving at the office at 0630HRS and then go on to work on the game plan for this week's game. This includes marking on our board all of the personnel packages that the opposition run and the most effective way to counter their tendencies in these formations. 

Then myself and the DL coach, Coach James Cinciaola, head to the weight room to oversee 3 groups of players who lift on a Tuesday. Every week in season the players lift twice a week and it is all part of a progressive programme dating back to spring training. This is a good opportunity for the players to crank up the music and make a lot of noise keeping the energy and intensity high is our key role in this part of the day and I have done this recently by introducing the players to the music of Big Mike, Stormzy. 

We then head back quickly to the office where we get started on drawing our scout cards and run fit cards for the day. This is perhaps the most time consuming part of the day as we are given a list of plays from the Defensive Co-ordinator and we have to look up HUDL (the website/app used to store and view the video footage - split play by play - from previous games) and see exactly how the opposition run each play. All the way from when the route runners make their cuts, alignment, blocking scheme and other tendencies which will help the players get an insight into what exactly it is they are going to be facing. This takes up the duration of the day before practise as we have approximately 45 cards each to draw up in around 3 hours - whilst checking the way in which our opposition plan to attack us and adding any scouting points or ways in which we will defend certain plays or looks. 

Now it’s time for practise, we follow a schedule of 15 x 8 minute periods beginning with a 15 minute walkthrough of the formations we expect to face and the plays which we will run to defend them. We then begin team practise with the specialists running through their warm up drills, I am responsible for the punt returners at this part of the practise and oversee them in varying situations throughout the period. Then we begin our Indy (Individual) period which is 7 periods long with 14 drills, as the Defensive Secondary Coach it is my responsibility to take the Defensive Backs through their drills which are all relevant to what type of coverage and pressures we expect to run that week. Following on from this we go onto Team, Skelly (Skeleton), Run Fits and Scout periods. 

Team period consists of our offence going against our defence. We split it into 3x4 play periods with varying different scenarios. For example, this week we concentrated on 3rd down and Red Zone offence and defence but we change week to week dependant on a number of factors. 

Next we run Skelly which is exactly the same format as the team period except without the Offensive or Defensive lines [to allow a cleaner look at formations and plays]. We then move onto run fits where the Offensive Scout team run the top 10-12 runs we are to face from our opposition this week. This is a quick fire period as we have to get approximately 30 plays into an 8 minute period and allow for any adjustments to be made. Using the scout cards which I mentioned earlier we run through this period as quickly and effectively as we can. 

Our final periods consist of 2x Special Team periods and 2x Scout Periods with our focus being on what type of coverage our opposition run on Kick Off and Punt. Following this we have our Offensive Scout team run a number of plays in the following categories; Early downs, 2nd and long, Red Zone, Goal-line, 3rd and Short, 3rd and Long. Again we take this information from the scouting we do on the previous Friday and Sunday by using the analytics on HUDL and when used correctly can win any game before taking the field. 

This concludes our Tuesday practise where after we head back to the office and begin drawing up more scout cards as there are more periods of Scout and Run fits in what has been fondly named “Wild Card Wednesday” by the Assistant Coaches as we have to draw up A LOT of cards. But enough about Wednesday until next week. Thats my typical Tuesday out here which the Scout Card process was made considerably easier this week as I managed to catch up on my fantasy leagues podcast hosted by the witty Darren Henderson, a team captain of the Aberdeen Roughnecks.

We look forward to hopefully extending our winning ways as we travel to Susquehanna, a team who are Nationally Ranked and have already knocked off the conference favourites, John Hopkins.”

Join us again next week for Bryce’s Wednesday edition of his ‘A Week in the Life’ blog, and to catch up on what happened during the tussle between the Diplomats and River Hawks on Saturday. We will again be posting the link to the game on our facebook page so keep an eye out for that if you want to watch the action!

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A Week in the Life: Monday - Coach Stevenson's Inaugural Diplomats Blog & Season Catch-up

From this week forward our facebook page will be publishing a link each Saturday ahead of the action so that you can watch the Diplomat’s games as they happen! With kick-off due to happen at 6pm in the UK, we hope to bring you the link at around 1pm so keep an eye out for it and tune in!

Now 2 weeks into a 10 game regular season schedule, the Diplomats - being marshalled by our very own Head Coach, Bryce Stevenson - are 2-0 having seen off the Lebanon Valley Dutchmen and Juniata Eagles in convincing fashion. Due to popular demand he will be chronicling his time with at the Pennsylvania college, one weekday at a time.

But first, here’s a quick catch up on how the Diplomat’s season has gone so far:

The Centennial Conference schedule sees each team play each other once, and one team out-with the conference. The diplomats get their out of conference game out of the way early this year, taking to the road for their season opener to see off Lebanon Valley with 5 rushing touchdowns enough in a 35 - 20 win. The defence would do their part too with 3 interceptions teeing up 21 points to help the Diplomats secure that they would win their season opener for the 6th straight year.

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Disappointed though by conceding 20 points in the win, Bryce was back to work through the week with a visit from the Juniata Eagles on Saturday past:

This time 7 touchdowns (with 6/7 PAT), and two field goals saw the Diplomats put up a 50-burger on the Eagles, as the game finished 54-0 with six rushing TDs and one through the air (on a Philly Special style play!). Happier to have held their opposition to no points scored, Bryce will again be back to work to prepare for the visit of the McDaniel Green Terror - the birth place of the shovel pass.

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Both teams come into Saturday’s clash at 2-0 with The Green Terror edging out Misericordia and Moravian so far this season, however the Diplomats will be hoping to make it to 3-0 having beaten McDaniel by a single score, 21-14, last September. This should prove to be F&M’s biggest test of the season so far and with a road trip to face the Susquehanna River Hawks the week after the challenges just keep on coming for Bryce and the Diplomats.

And now, the real reason you’re here; The Big Man:

“So I decided after requests from people back in the UK to look at doing some kinda blog to chronicle my time here in the US with the Diplomats. I’ve decided to make each entry - at least to start - a one day a week focus on what it is I do whilst I am here at Franklin and Marshall College as a defensive assistant coach. So without further ado, here’s Monday’s schedule.

I arrive at the office at 0645HRS looking forward to getting fired into another full week of work ahead of our game against the 2-0 McDaniel Green Terrors. Monday is a day we do as much of our office based work as we can so I got straight into providing the Defensive Coordinator with the scouting report for this week. This includes breaking down McDaniel’s game film and providing him with scouting information such as 3rd down analysis, personnel tendencies and top plays based on down and distance. After this has been completed I break down the oppositions stats from their previous games and highlight any tendencies and playmakers as well as any possible weaknesses we can take advantage of. Then we sit for around 3 hours compiling this information and cutting up opposition film and categorising it into positional groups to show us what they are likely to do in any given situation. It is paramount that we do this as quickly as possible as it holds the stats for the scouting report and we base our game plan around their tendencies of all downs with all distances. 

We do not practise on a Monday but the players have their weigh-ins and we give them their scouting reports we have made for all positional groups on the defence. The Head Coach addresses the team and announces the 2 best scout players from the previous week and also names a captain for the upcoming game along with the 3 full time captains based on their performance and behaviour the previous week. This week’s captain went to OL #56 Philip Weiser who had a perfect score on game film the previous game as well as contributing to a 244 yard day on the ground. 

After the team completed their weigh ins and received their scouting reports for the game against McDaniel we went back to the office and continued working on the game plan for McDaniel and consequently mapped out our practise content for the week. I personally got ahead on drawing scout cards for the week as this is the most time consuming activity of the week due to the sheer amount of plays that we have to draw out. These drawings start with nothing more than the opposition offensive line on the paper, and then develops into having what route each receiver runs, what blocking scheme is being used, and what we should be doing to perfectly counter what it is we have seen in that play. Due to it being early in the week we usually get finished for around 7pm so its not that long of a day compared to others. Home now to watch Monday Night Football while continuing to breakdown the game film from last weekend v Juniata so that it is done for next year.”

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From Peterhead to Pennsylvania, Roughnecks to Diplomats

Yesterday saw our very own Coach Stevenson set off on a grand adventure in the land of the free.

Leaving behind a windy Peterhead, Bryce is heading to the USA to join the coaching staff of the Franklin & Marshall Diplomats during the Roughnecks offseason. Taking the opportunity to further his coaching skills at an American College team, Bryce will be part of the Diplomat’s defensive staff for their 2019 season which starts their Div III Centennial Conference campaign on Saturday the 7th of September.

 
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The first of 10 games see’s Coach Stevenson’s new side travel about an hour north to face the Lebanon Valley Athletics, looking to get off to a similarly good start to the season, having beaten the Athletics 44 - 21 in last season’s opener.

The Diplomats finished 3rd last season and will be looking - with Bryce’s help - to close the gap to both Muhlenberg and Johns Hopkins, both of which finished two games ahead of F&M with an 8-1 record.

We wish Coach Stevenson all the best of luck with the Diplomats this fall, knowing that his determination and effort will be a huge asset to the Franklin & Marshall coaching staff. We look forward to the knowledge he learns becoming an asset to the Roughnecks and know he’ll return hungry to get to action ahead of our 2020 BAFANL season.

We hope to bring you F&M updates all season long and if he has the time, words from the man himself!

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Roughnecks play Vikings close in Div 1 Season Finale

NB: Because this game was streamed live by UKAFL you can watch the full game from Druid’s Park back, on demand via YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GPk0noXYDE&t=1

Match Report

Returning to the scene of our most famous victory, we took to the field on the final day of our 2019 season looking to confirm a third place finish in the division, and to play spoiler for the Northumberland Vikings who were looking to take the division crown.

The Vikings however had other plans and they looked to get off to a good start with a long drive that would begin to enter scoring territory. However the Roughnecks defence stood strong, with defensive backs covering receivers long enough to allow the land-sharks up front on the defensive line to smother the evasive Vikings QB deep in the back field and force an early punt. The defence would however see a lot of the field in the early stages with long Northumberland drives pushing deep into Roughneck territory, but each time the defence would slam the door shut, holding Northumberland to two field goals in the first half. The Roughnecks offence too were giving the Vikings something to think about, as they worked their way into the game, lead by QB #18 Rhys Elmslie making only his second ever start at the position, with TEs #85 Rob Hayes and #88 Aaron Michie both making plays in the receiving game.

HT: Aberdeen Roughnecks 0 - 6 Northumberland Vikings

The second half would see the Roughnecks offence continue to find there feet, with Rhys finding receivers with passes, and running backs finding holes in the Northumberland defence to run through. Looking to flip the script - and the scoreboard - of the game, Rhys would find #85 TE Rob Hayes who’s contested catch through a defender would see the game tied at 6 apiece. We could almost hear the cheers from East Kilbride as the Pirates went back to the summit of the division - having finished their season a week earlier - but it would be short lived. Following a blocked PAT, the ensuing kick-off would lead to disaster as Northumberland’s returner found a wide lane through the kick-off team, returning the ball all the way to the endzone, immediately making it 12 - 6 with the PAT stretching that deficit to 7. The defence would continue to stand strong only allowing one more field goal in the game, with turnovers (Notably by #95 DL Winston Ojei) helping to get the offence back on the field. And despite taking opportunities to move the ball well in the second half, costly mistakes would rear their head and stifle any attempts to tighten up the game.

FT: Aberdeen Roughnecks 6 - 16 Northumberland Vikings

A tough and tight game for most of the afternoon and one which sees everyone involved able to hold their head high after pushing the division winners close and really testing their reserve. Throughout the year there were some great highs and some opportunities missed which were costly in close games, but ultimately the Roughnecks have secured at least another year in the second tier of the BAFANL structure and will look to learn from the experiences. With the Yorkshire Rams and Glasgow Tigers finishing their season with a 14-12 game in favour of the English outfit, we were able to secure 3rd place in the division due to our superior head-to-head records against both teams since we all finished with a 4 & 6 record. Onto 2020…

MVPs

Offensive MVP: #18 QB Rhys Elmslie

Rhys played a very calm and assured game for only his second game under centre. Facing a tough Vikings defence Rhys was able to find pockets of space for his receivers, and make plays on the ground with his legs to keep the chains moving. His touchdown pass came under heavy pressure on a fourth down, but he found Rob Hayes in the endzone well and gave the Roughnecks a foothold (albeit one which was ultimately squandered) in the game.

Defensive MVP: #22 FS Gamuchirai Mukuredzi

Gamu gave up nothing in the passing game in a game where the Vikings would try and test the deep ball often, but his blanket coverage would allow linemen second chances at sacks and force the Vikings QB out of the pocket. He would also step up and play the run well, making multiple tackles to slow the Vikings offensive production and get his guys off the field!

MVP: #85 Rob Hayes

In what will turn out to be Rob’s last game for the Roughnecks he led by example on both sides of the ball, scoring a touchdown and stuffing the run game. His score typified his time in a Roughnecks jersey, as he battled back to the ball with defenders close to make the catch and secure the points. And it was more of the same on defence as Rob commanded that side of the ball from middle linebacker in a typically assured performance.

Scorers

Touchdowns

Receiving:#85 TE Rob Hayes (Thrown by #18 QB Rhys Elmslie)

Coach Watt announced as new full time Offensive Co-ordination

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Following the conclusion of the 2019 season, Coach Matthew Watt has been announced as the new full time offensive co-ordinator.

Having stepped into the role on an interim basis midseason, Coach Watt will continue to oversee both the progress and play calling duties for the offensive side of the ball.

Coach Watt, when asked, had this to say about securing the role on a permanent basis:

“I’m very grateful to coach Stevenson for giving me the opportunity to continue to run the offensive side of the ball.

I look forward to building on the progress we’ve made so far, and improving our ability to maximise the strengths of the talented players we have on this football team.”

Coach Watt will now begin his preparations for the 2020 season, kicking off in April next year.

Tigers Tamed in Roughnecks' Final Home Game of the Season

Looking to bed into a new home field against the Tigers, we would take the field at Woodside hoping to keep our hopes of finishing 3rd in the division alive with a win, and keen to hit the ground running #6 RB Lewis Hughes set right to it.

Having won the toss Glasgow opted to receive the ball and following a quick 4-and-out (including an attempted fake punt) the Roughnecks offence took to the field and almost immediately would find the endzone. The aforementioned running back would find a chasm in the lefthand side of his offensive line before dancing 30 yards through the Tigers’ backfield, and a PAT would make it 7 - 0 Roughnecks.

Despite looking strong on defence too in the early stages of the game, the Tigers would be the next to find the scoreboard as a long pass down the sideline would set up the Tigers in the Redzone. 3 plays later, including an impressive interception potentially erroneously overturned by the side judge the Tigers would be forced to settle for a field goal as the defence refused to be beaten both on the ground and through the air. That would continue all day, as the Roughnecks defence would get off the field again and again, either forcing turnovers or quick punts to allow the offence to get back to work.

With both teams often running the ball, the first half would draw to a close quickly however not before the two Breen brothers would hook up to extend the Roughnecks’ lead to 10 points. Provided with short field by #20 Darren Henderson and #22 Gamu Mukuredzi forcing and recovering a fumble on a Tigers’ punt return; #1 WR Sean would then get himself open in the back of the endzone, and given all day by the offensive line #16 QB Chris found him with a lovely weighted pass.

The second half would continue in a similar vein to the first, with again the Roughnecks offence would move the ball, and the defence would get off the field. The next score of the game would come through the returning #35 RB Dave Obatolu who had powered the offence into scoring position for most of the proceeding drive, before finding the endzone twice, once for six points, and a second time - this time untouched - for 2 more points; 21 - 3 Roughnecks. Defensively it was more of the same, with multiple turnovers, #85 LB Rob Hayes and #20 DB Darren Henderson would get interceptions, #22 DB Gamuchirai Mukuredzi would pick up a fumble on kick-off but the play would be whistled dead before he could reach the endzone. #56 LB Chris Adam and #95 DL Winston Ojei would also come up with fumble recoveries, forced by Darren Henderson, Winston himself, and #45 Che Mueller.

The game would finish 28 - 3 however as #13 RB John Strang would find his way into the endzone to cap off a fine drive, and a fine afternoon for the Roughnecks, with the PAT sailing through the posts.

FT: Aberdeen Roughnecks 28 - 3 Glasgow Tigers

MVPs, Scorers & Turnovers

Offensive MVP: #6 RB Lewis Hughes

Lewis got the game off to a brilliant start for the Roughnecks with a quick, opening drive touchdown, and the rest of his afternoon was just as important to the offensive effort. He ran hard and didn’t give the Tigers’ defence a chance to catch its breathe.

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Defensive MVP: #45 Che Mueller

Che wouldn’t give the Tigers’ QBs or RBs any chance to get going and along with the rest of defensive line colleagues would find himself in the opposition backfield all afternoon. Che’s hard work and engine shut down the Tigers’ gameplan and any down he was not on the field his absence was sorely felt.

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MVP: #20 DB Darren Henderson

Darren had a great day on both defence and special teams. His long snaps would allow successful punts and PATs but in getting down field, set up the second Roughnecks’ TD of the day by forcing a fumble on a punt return. Hendo would force another fumble, and make a nice catch to pick off the Glasgow QB down the sideline.

Scorers

Rushing Touchdowns: #6 RB Lewis Hughes, #35 RB Dave Obatolu & #13 RB John Strang

Receiving Touchdowns: #1 WR Sean Breen, thrown by #16 QB Chris Breen

Rushing 2PAT: #35 RB Dave Obatolu

Kicking PATs: 2x #4 K Stuart Don

Turnovers

Interceptions: #20 DB Darren Henderson & #85 LB Rob Hayes

Fumble Recoveries: #56 LB Chris Adam, 2x #95 DL Winston Ojei & 2x #22 DB Gamuchirai Mukuredzi

Roughnecks Humbled on the Road

Looking to break the Pirates’ perfect season we would take to the road again with Glasgow the destination to face the East Kilbride outfit.

From the off that task immediately looked like a difficult one as the Pirates would draw first blood early on. Taking advantage of a blown defensive coverage they would go 6 - 0 up and continue to punish the usually stout Roughnecks defence quickly adding two more scores. The offence though would move the ball at times, with mistakes hurting drives which looked good. They would find paydirt in the second quarter however, as #16 QB Chris Breen found #18 WR Rhys Elmslie in the endzone, following #6 RB Lewis Hughes’ hard work on the ground throughout the drive. With neither team having converted a PAT, the score would be 18 - 6, with special mention to Jack Conn on FG block preventing three early Pirates PATs.

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Unfortunately that would be as close as it would get last Sunday afternoon as the Pirates would pull away for the remainder of the afternoon, as the bossed the Roughnecks’ defence about all over the field to the tune of 52 points.

Fulltime: Aberdeen Roughnecks 6 - 52 East Kilbride Pirates

MVPs, Scorers & Turnovers

Offensive MVP: #1 WR Sean Breen

Sean made numerous catches across the middle of the field for the offence, and kept the Roughnecks on the field, whilst giving his all to support the running and screen games by providing blocks for his peers.

Defensive MVP: #23 DB Huseyin Yildirim

Huseyin stood out on the defensive side of the ball as one of few positives. Not only did he make his first interception of the season (on a long contested catch), Huseyin also made some great tackles to slow drives and was deployed all across the defensive backfield in an assured performance.

MVP: #6 Lewis Hughes

Lewis once again ran hard on offence, and special teams this week, and not content with only moving the offence down the field, he would find himself in the defensive backfield too - covering for injuries. Unlucky not to score any points on the afternoon, Lewis will hold his head high after a strong performance across all three phases of the game.

Scorers

Touchdown: #18 WR Rhys Elmslie from #16 QB Chris Breen

Turnovers

Interceptions: #85 LB Rob Hayes & #23 DB Huseyin Yildirim

Roughnecks Send Senators Home Sombre after 56 - 0 Romp

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Looking to get back on track, we would face the Gateshead Senators on Sunday in our 7th game of the season determined to come away with the win.

Winning the coin-toss and opting to defer, the Roughnecks defence would get on and then off of the field quickly, a feat repeated nearly all day with 3 and outs followed by quick, decisive scoring drives from the offence. Finding the endzone on their first drive through #6 Lewis Hughes the offence wouldn’t look back adding another six touchdowns to their first half tally.

In no particular order for the rest of the first half touchdowns, Lewis would find the endzone twice more to equal his own personal best tally, and the Roughnecks individual single game record with 3 touchdowns, adding 4 more points to the team’s tally through two successful 2PATs. WR #18 Rhys Elmslie would haul in two touchdowns, coming down in the endzone both times having leapt above the Senators’ defensive back to secure the ball both times. WRs #3 Wako Anindo and #9 Greg Keenan would both score their first ever touchdowns, both weaving through traffic on their way into the endzone after receiving short passes from QB #16 Chris Breen who himself would total 4 throwing TDs for the day. Chris and TE #85 Rob Hayes would also combine for a 2PAT in the first half, with K #4 adding two PATs to make the score 50 - 0 to the Roughnecks at the end of the first half.

With the deficit greater than 35 points in the second half, the game would proceed under a running clock for the remainder of the game. This would mean that the 30 minutes on the clock in the remaining two quarters would only stop for an injury timeout or a team timeout. The defence would continue to stand resolute throughout, only conceding one first down, right at the end of the game, and never allowing Gateshead to gain any type of momentum. Continuing to move the ball throughout the second half, the offence would find the endzone once more as second half QB #18 Rhys Elmslie would find TE #85 in the endzone to round out the day with the scoreline at 56 - 0.

FT: Roughnecks 56 - 0 Gateshead Senators

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MVPs, Scorers and Turnovers

Offensive MVP: #6 Lewis Hughes

Hat trick hero Lewis weaved in and out of defenders giving Gateshead no chance to catch their breathe on defence. One particularly impressive run saw Lewis almost impossibly staying on his feet to set up the second half touchdown showing no mercy to stand out amongst his peers on offence.

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Defensive MVP: The Whole Defence

Everyone on defence gave their all, and only gave up one first down right as the clock hit triple zeros. The Senators could never get the ball moving, with tackles for a loss a plenty racked up by the defensive linemen, and nothing given up through the air by the defensive backs. All in all a solid performance with the Pirates coming up this Sunday.

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MVP: #16 QB Chris Breen

Chris’ excellent work saw him given the opportunity to sit out the second half having built a comfortable 50 - 0 lead in the first half alone. Chris marshalled the offence up the field making smart decisions and with crisp passes finding all of his receivers and given all day by his offensive line Chris picked the Senators defence apart.

Scorers

#6 Lewis Hughes: 3 Touchdowns, 2 2PAT
#18 Rhys Elmslie: 2 Touchdowns (+ 1 Passing Touchdown)
#85 Rob Hayes: 1 Touchdown, 1 2PAT
#9 Wako Anindo: 1 Touchdown
#3 Greg Keenan: 1 Touchdown
#4 Stuart Don: 2 PATs (Kicking)
#16 Chris Breen: 4 Passing Touchdowns, 2 Passing 2PATs

Turnovers

#73 Andy Watts: Fumble Recovery (Botched Snap/Hand-off)
#56 Chris Adam: Fumble Recovery (Forced by #72 OL Doug Pearson)

Roughnecks Come Up Short Despite Battling Performance in Glasgow

Looking to bounce-back from last weekend’s disappointment we would face the most familiar of foes in the Glasgow Tigers at their Nethercraigs home.

With #22 Gamuchirai Mukuredzi managing to haul in an interception on the opening play of the game (Glasgow having opted to receive the opening kick-off of the game) the Roughnecks would immediately be set up in great field position. Looking to press home this early advantage we would opt to go for it on a short 4th down, but coming up infuriating short, Glasgow would get the ball back inside their own redzone. A long drive entirely on the ground, would provide Glasgow with an early opportunity to score themselves, managing to power the ball into the endzone on an outside run to take the lead with a successful PAT making the score 7 - 0.

With the ground game providing some good avenues down the field, Running Back #6 Lewis Hughes and Quarterback #18 Rhys Elmslie would begin to move the move the ball downfield, although either the Tigers defence or costly mistakes would see the end to drives and a blocked field goal would see the first half finish with just the one score, 7 - 0 Tigers.

With a change in the offensive backfield, the Roughnecks would find joy in the 3rd quarter with Quarterback #16 Chris Breen finding - now Wide Receiver - #18 Rhys Elmslie down the right sideline to get the momentum going, and it would be that link-up which provided the first Roughnecks score of the game. Rhys corralling a long pass down the right sideline beyond the Tigers’ cornerback to stroll into the endzone, although a blocked PAT would leave the score at 7 - 6. The defence had been holding up its end of the bargain creating turnovers to get the ball back for the offence but would allow the Tigers to extend the lead in the 4th quarter as the Tigers quarterback would tuck the ball under his arm, and weave his way into the endzone from about 15 yards out, although the missed PAT would leave the difference between the two teams at 7.

Again moving the ball through the air and on the ground, the Roughnecks would find the endzone, this time through a brotherly connection with Chris finding #1 WR Sean Breen who squeezed through a tackle to find the endzone. Opting to go for 2 rather than the usual PAT, following two previously blocked kick attempts, Chris would nearly find brother Sean again this time though the ball would be just out of reach for Sean to leave the score at Roughnecks 12 - 13 Tigers. Looking to bleed out the clock the Tigers would keep the ball on the ground the rest of the way, holding on to get the win, despite some playground theatrics from the Roughnecks offence on the final play of the game as the Tigers defence would swarm to the ball and prevent the laterals from creating the required space.

FT: Aberdeen Roughnecks 12 - 13 Glasgow Tigers

A much better showing than in the previous week against the Rams, despite coming up just short, we take the positives to build upon and negatives to learn from ahead of our game against the Gateshead Senators in 2 weeks time.

MVPs, Scorers and Turnovers

Defensive MVP: #64 DL Josh Bahru

Josh had his best game as a Roughneck today, getting to the QB, tackling in the running game, and recovering a fumble. Josh stood out from DT - a tough thing to do - and gave his all from start to finish.

Offensive MVP: #18 QB/WR Rhys Elmslie

Starting at QB, Rhys created yardage through the air, ran the ball hard and conducted the offence. In the second half at Wide Receiver he would find the endzone, and make a couple of important catches from QB Chris Breen, laying everything out for the team, it was Rhys’ legs keeping the game alive on the final play of the game

MVP: #22 DB Gamuchirai Mukuredzi

Appointed captain due to a couple of absences, Gamu would step up producing two turnovers, with one interception and fumble recovery from free safety. Game would also find success tackling Glasgow’s running backs, blitzing the QB and in the kick return game, providing the energy and impetus for a strong defensive showing.

Touchdowns:

#18 WR Rhys Elmslie and #1 WR Sean Breen both from #16 QB Chris Breen

Turnovers:

Interception: #22 Gamuchirai Mukuredzi

Fumble Recoveries: #64 Josh Bahru and #22 Gamuchirai Mukuredzi both forced by #95 DL Winston Ojoi