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 8: Trojans Forfeit Final Regular Season Game; Roughnecks Go Perfect!

Our scheduled game against the West Coast Trojans this weekend has been cancelled and we shall instead be awarded a 1-0 walkover win.

The Trojans this week made the difficult decision to cease operations and withdraw from the BAFA National Leagues due to a lack of player numbers which has now seen them forfeit their final two games of the season.

This does mean however, that we have now completed our first ever perfect season, finishing 8-0, Champions of the NFC 2 North division and are guaranteed home advantage in the playoffs right through until the final should we progress.

Our next game will take place on the 12th of August, as we welcome play-off football back to the Granite City for the first time since the days of our predecessors, the Oilers. Our opposition won’t be confirmed until the conclusion of the NFC2 North schedule in the next couple of weeks, so until then we’ll be on the practice field and in the classroom in preparation of the big day!

Defensive Co-ordinator, Bryce Stevenson, had this to say on the matter:

“The players have achieved a perfect regular season record something which is incredibly hard to do at any level of football and they should all be very proud of their achievement to date. They have reacted terrifically well to everything we have asked of them and they fully deserve the season they have had so far.

We are delighted to have brought playoff football back to Aberdeen and the coaches are going to continue to give the players their best everyday as we look to extend our season beyond the Quarter Finals of the playoffs. Whoever we get on the 12th of August in Aberdeen - we are gonna be ready for them.”

Game 7: Roughnecks put on Jekyll & Hyde Performance in Exciting Grudge Match

Electing to receive the ball on the opening kick off it would be the offence which set to work first on what was another muggy day in Glasgow. A 7th win would see us propelled to the top of the conference with the Chester Romans being held to a 6 - 6 draw by the Halton Spartans earlier in the day. #22 Gamu Mukuredzi would get us moving, returning the ball to about the 30 yard line.

A three and out would start the game for the offence but following a brilliant interception from CB #22 Gamu Mukuredzi, they would get an early second chance, and they didn't think twice. Brothers Sean (#1 WR) and Chris (#16 QB) connected for the first six points of the game - with the latter standing bravely in the pocket to deliver a deep strike to the back of the endzone. Another, slightly easier pass would be Chris Breen's next score, connecting on a screen pass with WR #6 Lewis Hughes who did the rest of the work to make it 14 - 0 with both PATs being converted. Clyde Valley would begin to get their tails up, and following turnovers and a couple of deep passes, they would tie up the score, with 14 points unanswered. The Roughnecks needed a play to swing the pendulum back their way and LB #23 Phil McCall duly obliged, forcing a fumble to kick both offence and defence back into gear. The Roughneck offence would take advantage of this momentum shift, adding another score prior to the conclusion of the first half with WR #6 Lewis Hughes diving in on a sweep play to make it 21 - 14 at the interval.

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The Roughneck D would squeeze the life out of the Blackhawks in the second half, forcing a safety on the second play of the half with the side from Glasgow pinned back in their own redzone following a failed illegal gadget kick-off return. 23 - 14, with LB #23 Phil McCall making the tackle in the endzone. Keen to put more distance between the two teams, the Field Goal unit was brought out for a 40 yard attempt which was converted to make it a 12 point game midway through the 3rd quarter. Touchdown number 4, and the final points of the day would come from an unusual source. With the offence drawing 12 minutes off of the clock on a long 4th quarter drive, last week's MVP, TE #83 Nate Morrice made the wide open catch in the endzone. Not too unusual? Well the throw was made by the kicker #4 Stuart Don as the Field Goal unit was on the field but some quick thinking from holder #44 Grant Travis rescued the situation following a botched snap. A more routine PAT followed that touchdown though, making it 33 - 14 allowing LB #85 Rob Hayes to finish the game with an interception on the final play of the game, making it 7 & 0 for the Roughnecks and the number 1 seed in the NFC 2.

 

Coaches' Words

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Interim Head Coach & Offensive Co-ordinator Ruari Collinson:

"I'm very proud of the guys today, who dug in deep when they had to with the Blackhawks tying up the game at 14 apiece. The offence continued to work hard and kept on moving the ball and getting first downs in critical situations. With playoff destiny now in our own hands following the Chester result earlier in the day, we'll be looking to close out our perfect regular season against the West Coast Trojans in two weeks' time."

Defensive Co-ordinator Bryce Stevenson:

"We started the game well but let that high intensity slip in the second quarter which simply wasn't good enough and allowed the Blackhawks back into the game. A big play from Phil McCall turned that all around though and following some adjustments in the 3rd quarter we found our feet again shutting them out for the whole second half. We asked a question of our guys today and they responded well but now we're moving onto the Trojans in two weeks time before welcoming someone to Aberdeen for some playoff football."

Scorers

Thrown: 3x #16 QB Chris Breen, #4 K Stuart Don

Receiving: 2x #6 WR Lewis Hughes, #1 Sean Breen, #83 Nate Morrice

Kicking: 4x PAT, 1FG (40 yards) #4 K Stuart Don (Held: #44 Grant Travis, LS: #21 Sean McDonald)

Turnovers

INT: #22 CB Gamu Mukuredzi, #85 LB Rob Hayes

Fumble Recovery: LB #20 Darren Henderson, DT #61 James Sharp

 

 

MVPs

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Bud Light MVP: RB #25 Diego Esquer. Diego ran the ball hard all day long, juking in and out of defenders and picking up first downs to keep the offence on the field in important situations and did everything but score. Congratulations Diego, Dilly Dilly!

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Offensive MVP: WR #6 Lewis Hughes. Lewis scored two touchdowns and was unfortunate to miss out on the overall honour. A big kick-off return set up his second score of the day as he nearly took it all the way back to the house. 

 

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Defensive MVP: LB #23 Phil McCall. Arguably made the play of the game by forcing the fumble which stopped the Blackhawks in their tracks in the first half, started the second half off with a safety and made countless tackles all day long.

Game 6: Roughnecks Seal The Division in Rout at The Rig

Back to familiar territory, there was only one thing on the Roughnecks' minds and that was getting the victory to secure the division crown. The opposition would be the winless Trojans, looking to spoil the party, and battle as hard as they could.

The Roughnecks would get to work on offence with #18 WR Rhys Elmslie collecting the ball on the kick-off return. And he wasn't done there, finding the endzone on a screen pass from #16 QB Chris Breen to finish the first drive of the day with six points for the offence and get the ball rolling. A PAT later, it was 7 - 0. The Trojans would find themselves in the Roughneck redzone however just a few plays later following good work on the ground. A strong goal line stand from the defence across four downs however would stop them from putting points on the board and get the offence back on the field. Stopped inside their own 20 yard line however, #56 Punter Matt McCall would flip the field, booming a punt 80 yards to provide the defence with plenty of field to defend, keeping the Trojans offence at arms length for the rest of the day. 

The only other scoring opportunity would come through a short field goal, which the Trojans would block leaving only a 7 point deficit going into the second quarter. Unhappy with their performance so far the Roughnecks would begin to squeeze the life out of the contest in the second quarter scoring three more touchdowns. One for #35 RB Dave Obatolu on a long run, and two for #85 TE Nathan Morrice as he secured his first ever Roughnecks Touchdowns, making it three for QB Chris Breen on the day. All three PATs would be tacked on, leaving the scoreline at 28 - 0 at half time.

As the sun continued to shine on The Rig, the Roughnecks would continue to score, this time through the legs of #25 RB Diego Esquer who would carry the rock into the endzone, making it 35 - 0 early on in the 3rd quarter, and initiate the running clock mercy rule. The rest of the quarter would tick by quickly as a result and with the offence on the brink of scoring a Trojans interception return would lead to a brief stoppage of the game as their numbers had been depleting throughout the afternoon and upon the conclusion of the third quarter the game would finish 35 - 0 and the Roughnecks would be DIVISION CHAMPIONS.

COACHES' WORDS

On the victory Interim Head Coach and Offensive Co-ordinator Ruari Collinson would say:

"I am very proud of the team today for staying focussed and securing the win. It is a incredible feeling winning the division title and the guys have gotten what they deserve by buying into what the coaches have preached this season and executed the game plan. It’s now down to next weekend and coming through what will be a tough away fixture."

Defensive Co-ordinator, Bryce Stevenson, would add:

"Today marked a fantastic occasion for the team winning the division and extending our record to 6-0. We had a few key absentees yesterday and players on the whole stepped up. We made a few key mistakes throughout the day but I take full responsibility for those mistakes as I hadn't prepared the defence well enough. We stood strong on a first and goal from the 1 yard line and make critical stops when we had to, so full credit to the players. We focus on rectifying these mistakes for next Sunday and to go 7-0."

SCORERS

Touchdowns: 5

Thrown: 3x #16 QB Chris Breen

Receiving: #83 TE Nate Morrice & #18 WR Rhys Elmslie

Rushing: #35 RB Dave Obatolu & #25 RB Diego Esquer

 

PAT: 5x #4 Kicker Stuart Don Hold: #44 Grant Travis LS: #21 Sean McDonald

TURNOVERS

Fumble Recoveries: 4 #44 DT Grant Travis, #63 DE Jason Rhind, #37 LB Deane Schembri, #69 DT Andy Watts

MVPs

Bud Light MVP: #83 TE/LB Nate Morrice

Nate stepped up when called upon, seizing the opportunity to start the game in both directions, scoring his first ever touchdowns, got open all day and doing his job with an important pass break up on D. Congratulations Nate, Dilly Dilly!

Offensive MVP: #16 QB Chris Breen

Another stellar game from our man under centre who lead the offence up and down the field again. Another three touchdowns to add to an ever growing collection this season, and some important gains on the ground too.

Defensive MVP: #20 FS Darren Henderson

Darren lead the defence all day, making important last ditch tackles, organising formations, and breaking up passes, ensuring another shut out.

 

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