YORK CENTURIONS 20
NORTHUMBRIA MUSTANGS 28
A fourth-quarter comeback from the York Centurions was foiled by an untimely error in an afternoon punctuated by many of them as the American Football team fell to a 2-2 record this past Sunday away at Gateshead International Stadium versus Northumbria Mustangs.
Down by 28-12 midway through the final quarter the York offence marched down the field, behind a strong ground game from York running backs, deep into Mustangs’ territory. An inventive play call set up Tim Blades’ second touchdown of the day and a 28-20 scoreline. However, after the York defence made Northumbria punt to get possession back, a special team’s blunder gave the ball back to the Mustangs allowing them to kill the rest of the clock and take the game leaving York still below Lancaster in third place in the British Universities American Football League Northern Conference.
The Centurions offence started the game with a 75-yard pass to wide-out Zef Rucinksi- who finished the game with over 150 all-purpose yards- to put York ahead from the off. However, York began to struggle on both sides of the ball as the Mustangs running game and physical line took over and York limped to the half 14-6 behind, after the second quarter was dominated by the Northumbria Mustangs.
York continued to struggle into the second half with the Mustangs three-headed backfield grinding out the yards and the Northumbria defence taking an untimely interception all the way back for another six points as it looked to be a disappointing end after a great start to the game. Nevertheless, the York offence was revived again by another deep pass to leading receiver Rucinski who converted his own efforts into another six points with an end around.
With the fourth-quarter underway the Centurions looked well on their way towards another fight back as they marched, again, deep into the Mustangs half when an inspired play call saw York running back Haris Shuaib take a fake reverse for a big gain only to be stopped a few yards from the goal line. Fortunately, James Durham was able to collect a Tim Blades pass to put York within a score of tying the game.
The moment required the Centurions’ defence to step up and they delivered, forcing the Mustangs to punt the ball back with just under two minutes left in the ballgame. However, an inopportune fumble by the punt returner allowed Northumbria to recover the ball and earn themselves another check in the win column as they ran out the clock handing York their second loss of the season.