2018

Roughnecks are Champions as Romans Fail to Conquer Scotland Once More

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Having traversed Hadrian's Wall earlier in the day, the Roughnecks took to the field at Druids Park with the conditions and field perfect for a spot of play-off football. This is what the whole season would come down to, one final game to crown the NFC 2 Champions. 

Electing to receive the opening kick-off the offence would take to the field first and the game started as it would go on. The Romans defence would swarm the pocket all evening, restricting the running and passing game and forcing punts from the Roughnecks throughout the day. The Romans however would find a similar fate. Known for their deep air raid passing offence the Roughnecks secondary knew it was in for a long day, but early doors CB - and semi-final MVP - #42 Remi Theron would let it be known they were up to the challenge. Remi ripped a deep pass out of the clutches of a Romans receiver who was surely in for the go ahead score if not for the Frenchman's intervention. Both teams were making mistakes however, with penalties from both, two missed FG from the Roughnecks and turnovers from the Romans (1 Fumble forced and recovered by #22 Gamu Mukuredzi, and 1 Interception from FS #4 Stuart Don) leaving the score at 0 - 0 following the end of the first quarter.

It would be a Roughnecks penalty that would lead to the Romans taking the lead, as the Roughnecks blocked a FG attempt which was deemed to be cause by illegal contact with the long snapper. The Romans would get a new set of downs near the Roughnecks goalline and would capitalise to take a 6 - 0 lead - the quarterback rolling out to his right to find a receiver open in the back corner of the endzone. More turnovers and penalties would follow however and following a fumble recovery by the Roughnecks, kicker #4 Stuart Don would connect on a career long 49 yard attempt to half the deficit set up by a fumble he recovered whilst at FS, which was forced by #56 LB Matt McCall on a Romans run play.

The second half was to be no different in that the defences would dominate and mistakes would be made by both teams. Big plays from DL #69 Andrew Watts would send the Romans backwards time and again and the offence would keep grinding, with #16 Chris Breen hooking up deep down field with #6 Lewis Hughes and #18 Rhys Elmslie with #1 Sean Breen and #85 Rob Hayes helping in the run game and with passes from the slot. #35 Dave Obatolu would spot for #25 Diego Esquer carrying the ball as they ran behind Connor Gray, Keiran DeGabriele, Ally Howe, Jason Rhind and Andy Watts with Mark Wemmys and Josh Bahru making contributions as well. Having found Lewis Hughes down the Roughnecks sideline in the 4th quarter, QB Chris Breen would rush his side to the line of scrimmage hoping to catch the Romans on the back foot but an impressive defensive stand would see the FG unit come out to tie up the game at 6 apiece with only 11 minutes left in the game. A similar defensive stand from the Romans proceeded that one, however the Roughnecks opted to go for it on 4th down that time, coming up agonisingly short as they looked to take the lead. A missed field goal and another one blocked would see out the scoring opportunities for the rest of the game for the Roughnecks as we headed into overtime.

Using the NCAA Football Overtime rules each team would get the opportunity to possess the ball starting on the oppositions 25 yard line in a sudden death penalty shootout type finish to the game. Going on defence first the Roughnecks would look to shut down the Romans offence as they had done for large portions of the game. Defensive Linemen #44 Grant Travis, #69 Andy Watts and #90 Che Mueller had been providing pressure upfront all night, not allowing the Romans QB time to breathe in the pocket and find a passing rhythm. Linebackers Graeme Reith, Darren Henderson, Ollie Schaffmann, Daire O'Beirne and the McCall brothers Matt and Phil would help shut down the Romans running game whilst the secondary took the air out of the ball for the Romans. Corners Gamu Mukuredzi and Remi Theron keeping the Romans high-flying receiving core at bay with help at Safety from Darren Henderson and Stuart Don. Following a scoreless first attempt for both teams - the Roughnecks drive ending with a fumble - both teams would come back out looking for the endzone, this time the Roughnecks would go first and they would find their rhythm at the perfect time. Quarterback Chris Breen connected with both Rhys Elmslie and Rob Hayes down the right sideline with both doing well to remain in bounds before catching the ball. Diego Esquer would wriggle his way down field, finding holes in the Romans defence before Fullback #44 Grant Travis would take to the field on 2nd and goal from 4 yards out. It may have taken a couple of attempts and over 70 minutes of football, but the Roughnecks had their first lead of the game, 13 - 6 with the PAT following the score.

The Romans would start their second attempt brightly too getting a first down after two downs, running the ball once and passing short over the middle on second down. #90 Che Mueller would provide the pressure to force a dangerous cross body pass from the Romans QB on the following 1st down however which sparked a reaction from an overly zealous offensive lineman who would let Che know what he felt of the play. Drawing a disastrous 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty the Romans would be marched back making it 2nd and 25 for the Romans who needed to score to prolong the game. Great defensive plays in the secondary would come from Phil McCall - nearly finishing the game with a difficult interception - and Ollie Schaffmann who batted down the ball on another pass attempt would leave the Romans with 4th and 25. And who else but #69 would make the play to finish the game and the season, shedding his blocker, Andy Watts would sack the Romans quarterback sending the Roughnecks sideline into raptures!

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11 games, 11 wins, and a Gatorade bath for the coaches HC/OC Ruari Collinson, DC Bryce Stevenson, and STC George Pirie. Having collected the medals all that would be left was the crowing of #69 Andy Watts as the NFC 2 Final MVP by presentation of an individual trophy and the handing over of the NFC 2 Silver Salver, held aloft by Head Coach Ruari Collinson.

On behalf of the club we'd like to thank the Northumberland Vikings and Vikings TV for hosting the final. It's a venue we've played at before and suited the occasion. Friends, families and fans are incredibly thankful for the live stream allowing them to be part of the action up in the Granite City or wherever they may have been. Thanks also to BAFA for organising the event, the medals, the trophy and the referees who have an incredibly difficult job but handled it really well!

Coaches' Words

Interim Head Coach/Offensive Co-ordinator, Ruari Collinson:

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"[I am] Unbelievably proud of what the team have achieved this season. They thoroughly deserve to be NFC 2 champions after the work they have put in this season. It was a tough game, Chester proved exactly why they should be in Div 1 next year and are a great programme that made us work extremely hard for the victory. Our D played lights out once again in the playoffs, limiting oppositions offence to just 8 points in the entire offseason is an incredible achievement for that side of the ball and they kept us in the game for large chunks of the evening. The offence struggled at times during the game both down to great defence from the opposition and some poor execution but I can’t fault the heart of the unit. They came through when it was needed and came up with those big plays to give us that go ahead score in OT to leave the D to do what they do best and get after the QB and seal the bowl game.

Preparations have already begun for next season for life in div 1 and this is just the start for us, with this squad and group of coaches we have a lot to build on and look forward to the challenge of Div 1 football next year. On a final note I’d like to thank the Roughnecks' supporters who came down to cheer us on. The noise they made in the 4th quarter and OT was outstanding and we are ecstatic that they made the journey back to Aberdeen happy."


Defensive Co-ordinator, Bryce Stevenson:

"Firstly I'd like to say full credit to Coach Levi Edwards and his players at Chester for making it such a spectacle and wish them all the fortune in Division 1 next year.

The players deserve all the credit for the victory on Saturday night. To win in overtime against the Chester Romans took something special and the way in which they kept fighting throughout the whole game was fantastic. The defence were absolutely incredible they took the game plan and ran with it. All night they stayed disciplined and gave the Chester QB no pre-snap reads and then dropped into the different coverages that we game planned for. I'm so proud of the way the team played, showing real desire and determination - not once did they waiver."

Special Teams Co-ordinator, George Pirie:

"Saturday was a great achievement for all the players and everyone involved with the Roughnecks for the work they’ve put all year long rounding off a perfect season and winning the championship. The character shown by the guys on Saturday in the face of some adversity was that of a championship team and one that deserved to win. We came back from some early missed kicks to kick a career long FG and along with guys making big tackles on ST we ensured the D had the longest field possible to work with.

Credit to the Romans who gave us one hell of a game and we’re great opponents for us in the final and a game that will prepare us well for life in division 1 next year."

MVPs

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Bud Light MVP: #69 OL/DL Andy Watts; Andy played on offence, defence and special teams all day, and was a constant thorn in the side of the Romans offensive line, running back and quarter back. Andy made plays all day long, pushing the pocket, making tackles blocking on offence and making, amongst others, the Championship sealing sack. Well Done Sir, Dilly Dilly!

Offensive MVP: #18 WR Rhys Elmslie; Rhys continued his post season form with another big outing on Saturday. He got the offence going with an early deep catch, and when called upon late in the game to get the team into field goal range, and on the game winning drive Rhys duly delivered. With two catches on the final drive of the game and a clutch sideline grab to move the chains in overtime Rhys. 

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Defensive MVP: #4 FS Stuart Don;  Stuart provided deep coverage to nullify the Romans air raid attack before having to be replaced early in the second half due to cramp, but made his mark on the game securing an interception and fumble recovery to get the ball back to the offence. And that's not to mention the two field goals to tie the game and the PAT in overtime.

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Special Teams MVP: #82 Graeme Reith; Graeme was everywhere on ST, making life extremely difficult for the returner on the punt and kick off teams and was often first to the tackle to keep us on top of the field position battle. Graeme also delivered the long snaps for the field goals and as such had a hand in 7 of the 13 points scored on the day as well.

Scorers:

Rushing: #44 FB Grant Travis

Kicking: #4 K Stuart Don 2x FG, PAT (LS: Graeme Reith, Holder: Grant Travis)

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Game 10: The Roughnecks are BritBowl Bound!

Match Report

Expecting a much tougher task this week than last, we welcomed the fourth seeded Birmingham Bulls to The Rig for our NFC 2 Semifinal clash. Eager to hit the ground running, and having won the toss, we would receive the ball from the opening kick-off and start on offence.

The Bulls' defence however proved to be stern opposition, battling well against the Roughnecks offence, stopping them on the first drive of the day from finding the endzone, but allowing the Roughnecks to get on the scoreboard through a 35 yard field goal dispatched #4 Stuart Don making it 3 - 0. Similarly the Roughnecks defence would stand up to the Bulls, smothering the run game however a punt would be the result of the Bulls' opening drive as the defence got off the field quickly. An exceptional pass defence from CB #42 Remi Theron was the standout play early in the game, as he batted down a deep pass with perfect timing to bring the Bulls' punt team back onto the field in the first quarter. Following the change of ends at the end of the quarter however it would be more of the same, with both defences playing well, and giving up very little both on the ground and through the air. However the Roughnecks would get back on the front foot, as last week's hat-trick scorer Lewis Hughes would take a short screen pass from QB #16 Chris Breen, and turn it into a big gain and excellent field position - as our #6 making it to the Bull's 10 yard line, weaving in and out of defenders and blockers. Tight End #85 Rob Hayes would complete the drive coming down with the ball in the endzone - Roughnecks in the ascendency - making it 10 - 0. 

Disaster however as the Bulls' #89 would return the ensuing kick-off to the house, to immediately cut the deficit back to 4 with the PAT attempt coming up short of off the hand of a Roughnecks' defender.

Into the 3rd quarter it would go, and with each drive the game got more and more tense as the clock wound down with the game so evenly poised. Again the Bulls' #89 however would find the endzone, making a great play to intercept a ball intended for Rob Hayes, before again running it back the distance. A flag on the attempted PAT would give the Bulls' a second chance, and deciding to go for two, their QB found their WR #10 in the back of the endzone to make it 14 - 10 Bulls and put the Roughnecks in unfamiliar territory, trailing for the first time this season. Both defences continued to make life very difficult for the opposition, with the Bulls getting little done before punting each time, and the Roughnecks suffering a similar fate. The tide would turn in the 4th quarter however as a deep pass towards Rhys Elmslie would result in a defensive PI call and move the Roughnecks downfield. Eager to keep the ball moving a quick drive again saw Lewis Hughes come close to getting in the endzone, this time being tackled down at the 1 yard line, allowing RB #35 David Obatolu to do what he does best: Power it in. Lowering his pads, Dave dived into the endzone to take back the lead, 16 - 14 as the PAT would be blocked and come up short. Now with the Bulls desperate to make a play on offence it was in the hands of the defence with 10 minutes to go and did they ever deliver. Forcing both 3 & 4 and outs on all remaining possessions, getting the ball back to the offence and allowing them to run out the rest of the clock. Final score; Roughnecks 16, Bulls 14.

Thanks to the Bulls for making the trip north to Aberdeen for what was an enthralling and well fought game. Both teams put everything they had into the game, and we wish them all the best for their future. For us now however it's time to prepare for the NFC 2 Final where we'll face the #2 Chester Romans who over came the #3 Staffordshire Surge 37 - 14 in their semifinal. The Final is set to take place at Druid's Park in Newcastle on Saturday the 1st of September.

We would like to also thank our sideline yesterday, who turned out in great numbers to cheer on the guys, helping us on defence by drawing false start penalties, and cheering on the offence on every completion, run and score!

 

Coach's Words:

Defensive Co-ordinator Bryce Stevenson:

"What a fantastic achievement by the players of the Aberdeen Roughnecks yesterday to secure promotion to Division 1 and to the Division 2 final.  From a defensive standpoint we were fantastic for 60 minutes not conceding and even allowing only a handful of first downs all game. We worked incredibly hard in the week trying to manipulate certain plays and create an opportunity where we knew we could seize the advantage. Full credit to the Birmingham Bulls organisation who played the whole game with tenacity and I'm sure they will go at least one step further next year. Now onto the final where we play what will prove to be undoubtedly the biggest test for the defence. But we wouldn't want it any other way and we are already preparing to make sure I give the players the best opportunity of succeeding."

 

MVPs:

Bud Light MVP: CB #42 Remi Theron - Remi played well all day, stifling the receiver on his side of the field all day long. He make an exquisite play on the ball early in the game, and kept up that level of performance throughout. Well Done Remi, Dilly Dilly

Offensive MVP: TE #85 Rob Hayes - Rob got our first touchdown of the day and worked tirelessly to help out in the running game, and made a number of other important catches, moving the offence down the field, and flipping field position.

Defensive MVPs: DE #56 Matt McCall/CB #22 Gamu Mukuredzi - Coming into the game we had reviewed the film and knew that getting to the Bulls' QB would prove very hard, but that wouldn't stop Matt McCall - with a sack in the 2nd quarter. Matt would continuously blow up runs (and maybe most impressively a screen pass) in the back field and helped shut down the Bulls' offence with a stellar showing. Gamu, similarly to Remi shut down the receiver on his side of the field, allowing only one catch against him towards the end of the second quarter, but Gamu's efforts in the run game also stood out, coming infield to make numerous important tackles and stop drives before they could get going.

 

Scorers:

Throwing: QB #16 Chris Breen caught by: TE #85 Rob Hayes

Rushing: RB #35 David Obatolu x1

Kicking: K #4 Stuart Don FG x1, PAT x1 (LS: #82 Graeme Reith, Holder: #44 Grant Travis)

Game 9: Roughnecks Avoid Ghosts of Playoffs Past as Phantoms are Exorcised

Looking to make it further than we ever have before, we took to The Rig on what was supposed to be a rainy Sunday afternoon to face the Furness Phantoms of the NFC 2 Central division. With Furness winning the coin toss we would be receiving the ball on the opening kick-off and #6 Lewis Hughes immediately set to punishing them for that decision. Collecting the ball after one bounce, Lewis would take the kick back to house having weaved in and out of pursuing defenders, 7 - 0 Roughnecks, and maybe the tie put to bed if you read into the celebration.  And he wasn't done there, scoring the first offensive points of the day as he collected a deep pass from #16 QB Chris Breen in the corner of the endzone making it 14 - 0 in the swiftest of fashion to the Roughnecks. Again slinging the ball down field, Chris this time would connect with WR #18 Rhys Elmslie to make it 21 - 0 as he shrugged off the Phantom's defensive back to secure the catch. With the offence rolling, the defence were barely on the field, doing everything required to stifle the Phantoms' offence, ensuring punts were the order of the day although FS #20 Darren Henderson would make an early interception to get the ball back for the offence.

Early in the second quarter QB #16 Chris Breen would take the ball into the endzone himself, finding a hole along the right side of the offensive line to make it 28 - 0, and TE #85 Rob Hayes wouldn't be far behind him for the Roughnecks, scoring on a 3 yard catch as Chris found him wide open in the endzone to make it 35 - 0. Our 6th touchdown would round out the first half as RB #21 Sean McDonald powered his way in following the middle of the offensive line to make it 41 - 0 with the last of the 6 first half PATs crashing off of the right upright.

With a second half running clock initiated as a mercy rule, the points scoring would slow down in the second half but #21 Sean McDonald got his second touchdown of the day on another typically powerful run, with a second missed PAT to follow, making it 47 - 0. Having not had to run too far on his first score, TE #85 Rob Hayes made up for it on his second, receiving the ball from #16 Chris Breen who rolled to his left to escape the pocket under pressure. Rob would then turn and take ball down the sideline, shedding tacklers and weaving in and out, showing off his wheels to eventually find the endzone on the longest offensive play of the game in the 3rd quarter, with PAT attempt number 8 splitting the uprights; 54 - 0. Lewis Hughes would finish the game as he started it, putting up the final points of the day on an almost carbon copy of his 2nd touchdown. Our #6 came down with the ball in the endzone, as #16 Chris Breen floated the ball over the cornerback. Final score; Roughnecks 61, Phantoms 0.

Coach's Words

Ruari Collinson (Interim Head Coach & Offensive Co-ordinator):

"[I'm] very proud of the performance the guys put in [yesterday]. We knew we hard to start fast and be prepared for a Furness side who were coming off a high with a strong win their last regular season game. I thought from the very first whistle we played to an extremely high level and I was very please with the performance on both a offensive and defensive stand point. Credit to Furness - they never gave up and played hard until the final whistle. We now have a lot of hard work and preparation ahead of us as both of the coaches and players aren’t ready for our season to end just yet."

Scorers

Touchdowns:

Throwing: QB #16 Chris Breen x5

Receiving: WR #6 Lewis Hughes x2, TE #85 Rob Hayes x2, WR #18 Rhys Elmslie

Rushing: RB #21 Sean McDonald x2, QB #16 Chris Breen

Kick-Off Return: KR #6 Lewis Hughes

 

PATs: K #4 Stuart Don 7/9 (LS: Graeme Reith, Hold: Grant Travis)

 

MVPs

Bud Light MVP: #16 Chris Breen. Chris led the offence up and down the field, setting Roughnecks records for both yards and Touchdowns in the playoffs too. Five touchdown throws and an additional one on the ground made him the obvious choice for the award. Dilly Dilly!

Offensive MVP: #6 Lewis Hughes. Lewis got us up and running with the huge opening kick-off return and set the tone for the whole afternoon. Another two touchdowns and countless special teams tackles would bolster his case for overall MVP but he narrowly missed out to Chris.

Defensive MVP: #23 Phil McCall. Phil was a constant thorn in the side of the Phantoms' offence sealing the edge against outside runs, making tackles in the backfield and ensuring the Phantoms got nothing going all day long.

Perfect Record Good Enough for #1 Seed; Play-off Foes Still to be Confirmed

Following the Staffordshire Surge's 14 - 8 victory over the Birmingham Bulls today, we have officially secured the #1 seed for the entirety of our NFC 2 play-off run. With both of the NFC 2 South teams getting a win away from home against one another in their two-game regular season series we jump from #2 to #1 by virtue of having the only remaining perfect record in the NFC 2, whilst the Bulls fall all the way to #4 with the Surge leap-frogging them into #3.

This means we'll be at home, in Aberdeen, for both the quarter- and semi-final ties with the final being held in Leeds on the 2nd of September should we make it. Now, we still don't have confirmation of our first round opponents, but lets clear up the table and see who it could be with a look at the seedings, we warn you it's still very complicated:

(The seeds are decided as follows: Positions 1 to 3 are awarded to the three division winners, positions 4 to 6 are awarded to the three division runner-ups, and positions 7 and 8 are awarded to the two teams best 3rd place finishers, with points against per game (PAPG) the tiebreaker if records are the same)

NFC 2 Standings

#1 Aberdeen Roughnecks (North, 1st, 8-0-0, 9.71 PAPG)

#2 Chester Romans (Central, 1st, 6-0-1, 4.00 PAPG)

#3 Staffordshire Surge (South, 1st, 7-1-0, 7.75 PAPG)

#4 Birmingham Bulls (South, 2nd, 7-1-0, 8.75 PAPG)

#5 Halton Spartans (Central, 2nd, 6-1-1, 7.75 PAPG)

#6 Dumfries Hunters (North, 2nd, 5-3-0, 15.67 PAPG)

#7 Crewe Railroaders (South, 3rd, 4-4-0, 20.50 PAPG)

#8 Furness Phantoms (Central, 3rd, 3-4-0, 28.43 PAPG)

IN THE MIX

#9 Lincolnshire Bombers (South, 4th, 3-4-0, 21.14 PAPG)

#10 Clyde Valley Blackhawks (North, 3rd, 3-5-0, 21.83 PAPG)

Remaining Fixtures

NFC 2 Central: Morecambe Bay Storm v Chester Romans

Carlisle Sentinels v Furness Phantoms

NFC 2 South: Knottingley Raiders v Lincolnshire Bombers

 

With seeds 1 through 6 confirmed and locked in (assuming Chester win (vs Morecambe Bay Storm)), it'll be the #3 Staffordshire Surge who host our division rivals the #6 Dumfries Hunters in two weeks time, and the #5 Halton Spartans who travel to the #4 Birmingham Bulls. Crewe will fall out of contention all together should the Bombers win in their final game of the season (against Knottingley who are last in the division) they'd fall to fourth in the division by virtue of head to head record within the division. This means that ourselves and the #2 Chester Romans must await next week's fixtures to see who we get. The #10 Clyde Valley Blackhawks need a miracle, requiring both the Bombers and Phantoms to lose against the Knottingley Raiders and the Carlisle Sentinels respectively, both of whom are bottom of their divisions. Most likely for us (assuming both the Furness and Lincolnshire games go with form), are the Furness Phantoms - unless they concede 59 more than Lincolnshire do (in their respective wins next week) in which case we'd have Lincolnshire and Furness would go to Chester. Now we told you it wouldn't be easy to understand didn't we?

 

NFC 2 Quarter Final Fixtures 

(All games played on the 12th of August)

#1 Aberdeen Roughnecks v #8 Lincolnshire Bombers/Furness Phantoms/Clyde Valley Blackhawks

#2 Chester Romans v #7 Crewe Railroaders/Furness Phantoms/Lincolnshire Bombers

#3 Staffordshire Surge v #6 Dumfries Hunters

#4 Birmingham Bulls v #5 Halton Spartans

Game 5: 5 Down, 3 to Go; Roughnecks a Step Closer to Division Crown

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With an event running down at The Rig, it would be a home away from home - Harlaw Academy's Playing Fields - that would be the scene for a huge clash at the top of the Division 2 North table as we took on the Dumfries Hunters. Keen to avenge our 26-20 win at the David Keswick Athletics Centre in Dumfries, it was the Hunters who took the opening kick-off on a beautiful sunny day. 

MVP from our last game against the Clyde Valley Blackhawks, Rhys Elmslie would pick up where he left off in the kick return game, setting up excellent field position for the offence who would capitalise almost immediately. An opening drive connection between brothers Sean (WR #1) and Chris (QB #16) Breen would again find the endzone with the latter standing bravely in the pocket to put the ball on a plate for the former to open the scoring early doors; Roughnecks 7, Hunters 0. A field goal miss would squander some points in the first quarter, but WR #2 Chris "Jesus" Martin wouldn't let Roughnecks heads drop, taking the ball about 80 yards on a short screen pass to double the advantage. Not a bad way to score your first ever Touchdown; Roughnecks 14, Hunters 0.

All was going well, until a fumbled punt snap would allow the Hunters back into the game as they seized upon the opportunity. With short field the Hunters would find the endzone themselves to bring them back within a score as quarterback found receiver. Electing to go for 2, the Roughnecks D would smother the play before it got going, tackling the escaping "kicker" for a loss of yardage. Immediately however the Hunters learned again the danger of the Roughnecks kick return -  a unit which is emerging as a real asset to the team - as #22 Gamu Mukuredzi would take the ball all the way back to the Hunters' own redzone, before a horse collar tackle would move the ball further into the danger zone. A short series later, and some excellent play calling and execution, TE #85 Rob Hayes was wide open in the back endzone and QB Chris Breen would duly oblige, hitting him with a delicate pass for his first Touchdown of the year; Roughnecks 21, Hunters 6.

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Having staged a good comeback attempt in our first meeting of the season, the Hunters would look to do the same in the second half of this one, and they got off to a good start, scoring a touchdown on their second drive of the half, and their second drive of the game where a turnover would provide them with short field. Aiming to make it a 7 point game, the Hunters elected to go for two again, this time finding the endzone on a QB run emulating his running back on the previous play; Roughnecks 21, Hunters 14. That would be it for the Hunters scoring however, as the Roughnecks defence would stifle them for the rest of the game, allowing no more than a couple of first downs on any ensuing drives.

It was a Hunters punt which would lead to the Roughnecks pulling out further in front too, as the defence held strong. #22 Gamu Mukuredzi would get another chance to return the ball and he didn't need to be asked twice. Collecting the ball just inside his own half, Gamu would twist and turn his way to the 10, shedding a tackle or two on his way, before powering his way over the line, dragging two defenders with him; 28 - 14, and the Roughnecks' first ever return touchdown. Of course, the spirited Dumfries side would never give up, but the only remaining score would be the Roughnecks as the game was put to bed. #18 WR Rhys Elmslie got in on the scoring act, collecting a deep pass from Chris Breen to make it four passing touchdowns through the air and cement the victory.

 

We'd like to thank the Dumfries Hunters for making the trip north, and wish them well with the rest of their season. Our next game comes in a fortnight's time, as the West Coast Trojans travel to The Rig on the 8th of July. We hope you'll be there to see us take on the Trojans in a game where a win would seal the division crown with two games to spare. The Trojans are still looking for their first win of the season, and would be more than happy to spoil the party should we let them. 

 

COACHeS' THOUGHTS:

Defensive co-ordinator Bryce Stevenson:

"The whole team came together and rallied well in the game to ensure Dumfries didn't level the game up in the third quarter when we were up by a score. We found ourselves backed up against the wall with Dumfries gaining momentum but from the Defensive point of view we made some huge plays in crucial moments to extend the lead and also turned the ball over in advantageous field position. We focus on the West Coast Trojans now, and look to improve our record to 6-0."

 

SCORERS & TAKEAWAYS

QB #16 Chris Breen 4TDs thrown to: WRs #1 Sean Breen, #2 Chris Martin, #85 Rob Hayes & #18 Rhys Elmslie

PR #22 Gamu Mukuredzi

Fumble Recovery: #85 Rob Hayes

 

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MVPs

Bud Light Game MVP: #22 DB/KR Gamu Mukuredzi: Gamu shut down one half of the field for the entire game, and his kick returns set us up in some excellent field position, and he got the Roughnecks' first ever return Touchdown. Well done Gamu, Dilly Dilly!

 

Offensive MVP: #16 Chris Breen: Chris lead the offence up and down the field, likely had over 300 yards passing, and threw 4 Touchdowns. We can't ask for much more out of our man under centre.

 

 

Defensive MVP: #85 Rob Hayes: Rob bossed the middle of the defence all game long; Worked hard to slow the Dumfries running game on every snap of the ball, hit hard and lead the defence in and out of the huddle.

 

 

All images: Gail Davis

New Venue for This Weekend's Hunters Match-Up

This weekend we are having to move our game due to the Pretty Muddy event which is being hosted by Cancer Research UK.

Not to fret however, as we're not moving far, just up to the rugby pitch at Harlaw Academy's playing fields, which can be seen on the right hand side of Hazlehead Avenue, if you are heading to The Rig from the Roundabout on the B9119. In the photo below we have marked The Rig with the little grey dot at the bottom, and the pitch at Harlaw is the red marker at the top.

We apologise for any issue this may cause, and we hope you'll still turn out in your numbers to cheer on the guys, with kick-off at 2.30pm as we look to reach 5-0 and keep our momentum rolling!

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Game 4: A Wish-aw Come True; 4 & 0!

A very muggy day met the Roughnecks in Wishaw, for the second of three meetings with the Clyde Valley Blackhawks. Beltane Park was the venue, and the Roughnecks were looking to make it 4 straight wins for the first time. Winning the cointoss, we elected to receive and set to work on offence following a long kick-off return from #18 Rhys Elmslie.

Having gained a couple of first downs, it would be the Roughnecks who would score first, as kicker, #4 Stuart Don would make it 3 - 0 with a 43 yard field goal as the first drive of the day stalled with 26 yards to paydirt. The offence wouldn't have the same problem on the next drive as QB #16 Chris Breen's long pass would find WR #18 Rhys Elmslie in the endzone for Rhys' second score of the year. The defence held strong throughout the first quarter, and an interception for #42 Remi Theron would set up the offence in great field position to allow Rhys and Chris to find the endzone again; #18 from #16 and the score was 17 - 0 with the two PATs added on with the minimum of fuss. The Roughnecks defence would continue to hold Clyde Valley at bay for the remainder of the half, and a combination of the defence, and special teams would add the only other score of the half, through a safety on fourth down making it 19 - 0, with DL #69 Andy Watts taking the QB/Punter to the ground in his own endzone. 

It would be another safety to start the scoring in the second half, in very similar fashion, this time DL #56 Matt McCall capitalising on a poor snap as the Blackhawks tried to punt the ball out of the back of their own endzone again. The offence would continue to move the ball all game, scoring another touchdown on the brotherly connection between #16 Chris and #1 Sean Breen through the air, deep inside the redzone. 28 - 0. The Clyde Valley Blackhawks would continue to play hard throughout, refusing to give up and added two touchdowns of their own, both caught by #81, either side of another Roughneck field goal this time from 33 yards out. Making the final score 31 - 14, with one successful 2PAT following a failed PAT attempt which lead to a Matt McCall fumble recovery. The game would finish with the Roughnecks kneeling out the game to move to 4 & 0, with a interception for #4 FS Stuart Don.

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Coaches' Words:

Interim Head coach and Offensive Co-ordinator, Ruari Collinson:

Extremely proud of the team going 4-0 and getting our first away win against CVB. The offence was electric to start with and showed that they are improving every game as they finished drives off in the redzone, which was something we have struggled with this season. The defence dominated in the first half and coped well in the second half with the adjustments made by CVB. It's now on to Dumfries in two weeks time where we will be looking to continue our strong form and get to 5-0.  

Defensive Co-ordinator, Bryce Stevenson:

The game started off well from a defensive point of view and had a lot of positives throughout the day. We have started scoring on defence again and helping the offence out with turnovers in advantageous positions. Some huge performances from guys stepping into the starting defence for the first time in absence of others. Preparations for Dumfries have begun to ensure we go 5 - 0.  

Scores:

Touchdowns: #18 Rhys Elmslie x2, #1 Sean Breen

Field Goals: #4 Stuart Don x2

Safeties: #69 Andy Watts, #56 Matt McCall

PATs: #4 Stuart Don x3

Turnovers:

Fumble Recoveries: #56 Matt McCall

Interceptions: #42 Remi Theron, #4 Stuart Don

MVPs:

Defence: Daire O'Beirne. Daire was everywhere on defence today, making many important tackles to get the offence back on the field, and send the Blackhawks backwards.

Offence: Chris Breen & Diego Esquer. Chris stood up and played well under pressure, with three touchdown throws, and some good runs in important situations. Diego ran hard all day, juking in and out of defenders and moving the chains

Bud Light MVP: Rhys Elmslie. A two touchdown performance, and some excellent kick-off returns really provided the impetus for the win.

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Game 3: The Hunters become the Hunted

On a glorious day in Dumfries, the Roughnecks took to the field looking to get to 3 - 0 for the first time in our history but would face some stern opposition in the shape of the Hunters. Winning the toss at the David Keswick Athletic Centre the Roughnecks opted to receive the opening kick-off and get to work on offence. 

Following a couple of punts and a turnover, the Roughnecks would break the deadlock with a touchdown from RB #35 Dave Obatolu, who would power in from close range in the battle for supremacy in the NFC 2 North. The Roughnecks defence would hold strong with Linebackers #23 Phil McCall & #92 Daire O'Beirne recovering fumbles in the first half and Safety #20 Darren Henderson getting a turnover of his own with an interception which would benefit kicker #4 Stuart Don who added 3 points with a field goal from 30 yards out. Late in the half Quarterback #16 Chris Breen would find WR #6 Lewis Hughes 25 yards downfield who would juke past a defender and take it the rest of the way, making the score 17 - 0 at the half, with the successful PAT tacked on.

Dumfries would come out with some adjustments in the second half and despite the defence's resolve so far this season, the plane of the endzone would finally be broken by an opposition offence as a long drive mainly on the ground resulted in a touchdown for the Hunters through the air. Determined not to let the Hunters back into the game Dave Obatolu would take the ball from inside his own half on the first play from scrimmage following the Hunters' score all the way to the house, making it 23 - 7 as the Roughnecks couldn't equal the Hunters' successful PAT. With their tails up the Hunters would score again through the air, whilst the Roughnecks added a field goal to make it a twelve point game at 26 - 14. The Roughnecks unable to add more points would punt the ball back to the Hunters with 4 minutes left in the game to potentially set up a tense finish. The Hunters would drive down the field to make it a one score game, but time would expire as they scored on the last play of the game, leaving the score as 26 - 20, and the Roughnecks 3 & 0 atop the division.

When questioned about the game later, Head Coach and Offensive Co-ordinator Ruari Collinson would add:

"Very proud of the team going 3-0 for the first time in Roughnecks history. We dominated the first half and thoroughly deserved our 17-0 lead at the half. Credit to the Hunters they adjusted and came back hard in the second half and made it a lot closer than it should have been. I felt we left a lot of points on the field however and the offence did a good job moving the ball and scoring when we needed to. Im very pleased with the team so far this season and I'm very encouraged by the fact we are still a long way from our ceiling. If this team keeps progressing and fulfils it's talent, we can be one of the best teams in Div 2 by the end of the season."

Bud Light MVP: Dave Obatolu - Dave ran hard all afternoon and scored two touchdowns to take the inaugural Bud Light MVP award. He left an array of Hunters in his wake as he thundered downfield.

Offensive MVP: Lewis Hughes - Made a big impression in the passing game, making his way downfield on a number of passes, adding a long touchdown, and also setting up the offence in good field position on kick-off returns.

Defensive MVP: Rob Hayes - Rob played every down today and did a terrific job stopping the run and leading the defensive unit, making crucial adjustments to ensure the victory.

Scorers: Dave Obatolu (2x TD), Lewis Hughes TD, Stuart Don (2x FG, 2xPAT)  

Turnovers: Fumble Recovery: Phil McCall & Daire O'Beirne, INT: Darren Henderson

 

Game 2: Trojans 0 - 27 Roughnecks

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On a day where a broken down bus delayed kick-off, the Roughnecks arrived late to Garscube and set to work. Losing the toss, we elected to receive the ball, and set to work on offence, looking to get up early and kill off the game early.

Following a few punts back and forth it would be the Roughnecks who would make a dent in the scoreboard the earliest, with the offence getting into short field goal range mainly via the ground game, allowing kicker #4 Stuart Don to make it 3 - 0 in the first quarter. The defence would stand firm, stopping West Coast from gaining any momentum, something that would carry on through out the game as the Trojans toiled with their low numbers

Receiver #1 Sean Breen would score his first ever Roughnecks touchdown in the second quarter, catching the ball in the back corner of the endzone after a nice lofty pass from QB #16 Chris Breen  before Running Back #44 Grant Travis would add the 2 point conversion to make it 11 - 0. The Roughnecks defence would continue to hold strong, forcing multiple turnovers throughout the game. Another offensive drive would stall inside field goal range, and #4 Stuart Don would nail a 42 yard field goal which would've been good from 50 to make it 14-0 at the end of the half.

Alleged worry for the facility's closing time would lead to 12 minute quarters and a running clock for the whole second half. The Roughnecks would continue to dominate the game and only add to the score, with the game finishing 27 - 0. Running Back #25 Diego Esquer would score his first touchdown for the Roughnecks in a game where he ran the ball hard alongside #35 Dave Obatolu in the backfield all day. It was a special day for Wide Receiver #18 Rhys Elmslie who would get his first touchdown since returning from his horrific leg break which saw him miss the entirety of the 2017 season on a long pass down the right side of the field once again from QB #16 Chris Breen. The PAT would be added to the first of these two, with the Trojans getting an arm up to block the second PAT and another field goal attempt in the second half to prevent any more scoring. 

After the game our coaches had this to add:

Coach Collinson, Interim Head Coach/Offensive Co-ordinator:

"Despite WCT's limited numbers they came to play and made it tough for us in the first half. The offence moved the ball well at times but just lacked that finishing edge at certain points. Having said that still very encouraging signs and a lot of improvements to be made throughout the season as we can only get better. The line has been a standout unit already this season and are key to our success and I have full confidence in them kicking on and improving every game. I think it is testament to where we have come as a team and the expectations we have this season that we are slightly disappointed with a 27-0 win as we know we missed some opportunities on offence. Once again the defence played lights out and will continue to be throughout the season."

Coach Stevenson, Defensive Co-ordinator:

"Firstly I'd like to commend the players on another defensive shut out, only allowing one first down all day. The message throughout the week has been very much about getting on top and staying on top. This was something that we realised had to be carried out for us to come away with a victory. Now we've started the season 2 and 0 and are firmly looking forward to our next match up against the Dumfries Hunters and expecting the same attitude to be taken into that game as we have entered our first two with. A lot of respect should be given to the Trojans who battled all game long, being physical on every down despite severely lacking in numbers. They showed real character to keep going all day long."

 

Game MVPs:

MVP: Josh Bahru - Outstanding effort and hard-work all game, getting downfield at every opportunity and setting the tone.

OMVP: Andy Watts - Similar to Josh above, Andy had a great game on the line, dominating his man on every down.

DMVP: Che Mueller - Playing in his first ever game Che disrupted the Trojans centre all day leading to plenty of fumbles and even recovering one of his own.

 

Scorers:  

TD: #1 Sean Breen, Diego Esquer, Rhys Elmslie

FG: 2x #4 Stuart Don

2PAT: #44 Grant Travis

PAT: 2x #4 Stuart Don

 

Turnovers:

INT: #4 Stuart Don 

Fumble Recovery: #23 Phil McCall, #90 Che Mueller, #55 Neil McCallum, #38 Brian Mackain, #69 Andy Watts

Game 1: Blackhawks Down

With the stage set for the start of our fifth BAFA National Leagues season, the Roughnecks were looking to get off the mark quickly with the visit of the Clyde Valley Blackhawks to The Rig. Winning the toss and choosing to defer, the Roughnecks were to take kick-off - on what was a great day for football despite the wind blowing down the pitch - and start on defence. 

Keen to hit the ground running, the Roughnecks defence were quick to get off the field on the first drive, and that was a theme they kept up all day, earning 9 total takeaways on the day, with 6 interceptions to three different recipients, and 3 fumble recoveries. 

Following a couple of drives that resulted in punts, the offence would find the endzone in the first quarter through Running Back #35 Dave Obatolu, who carried the ball up the middle and into the endzone from about 4 yards out. The extra point would be tacked on as the Roughnecks took a 7 - 0 lead. With the defence holding out, the offence would again get into scoring range before being stopped by the Blackhawks defence at the 9 yard line. Kicker, #4 Stuart Don would make the 26 yard field goal albeit in an unorthodox manner, as the ball bounced off of the top of the crossbar on the way through, no doubt giving Special Teams Co-ordinator George Pirie a small heart-attack, but making the score 10 - 0 nonetheless. Both defence and offence would continue to perform well, with the offence managing to put together a quick drive to again get into scoring range but the Blackhawks did well to block the resulting field goal as time expired on the first half. 

The second half would play out in a similar fashion as the first, with the defence holding steady, whilst the offence chipped away at the yardage down the field, however penalties - on both sides of the ball - would hamper the efforts early. The first score of the second half would come in the 4th quarter from the defence however. Following an offensive drive which stopped just over the halfway line, and the ensuing Roughnecks punt pinned the Blackhawks back on their own 1 yard line, and following two pass attempts on first and second down which went incomplete, the Roughnecks front 7 got to the CVB quarterback in the back of the endzone for the safety. 12 - 0 to the Roughnecks. Running Back #35 Dave Obatolu would find the endzone again on the right side from 22 yards out before Full Back #44 Grant Travis would stroll in with the 2 point conversion almost untouched to complete the Roughnecks scoring for the day; 20 - 0.

The Blackhawks would find the scoreboard themselves as their defence would recover a fumble and return it to the house, leaving the score at 20 - 6 as the extra point attempt hooked wide of the left upright.

 

A great start to the season, beating the Blackhawks who themselves got off to a good start to the season last week, beating the Dumfries Hunters 13 - 12. A first competitive win for our new coaching staff at their first attempt speaks to their preseason programme and the hard work from the players, new and old to hit the ground running. Special mentions go to Darren Henderson (who came away with four interceptions) and Andrew Watts (who recovered all three fumbles) on defence, David Obatolu (two touchdowns), and the whole offensive line who blocked well for the running backs and quarterbacks Chris Breen and Sean McDonald all day. A congratulations to all of our new rookies who made their first appearances for the team, playing vital roles and making plays across all three phases of the game.

Worryingly however we did give away a lot of yardage in penalties, something that will need to be sorted down the line, but a good win to start the season, and encouraging signs on all three sides of the ball!

Scorers: David Obatolu (2TD), Stuart Don (PAT, FG), Grant Travis (2PAT), Defence (Safety)

Turnovers: Darren Henderson (4INTs), Andrew Watts (3 Fumble Recoveries), Robert Hayes (INT), Phil McCall (INT)