Centurions lose out in Varsity clash

UNIVERSITY OF YORK CENTURIONS 6-33 UNIVERSITY OF HULL SHARKS

Images: Agatha Torrance

A spirited first half display by York Centurions gave way to a second half collapse, with their Hull counterparts running out eventual 33-6 victors in their American football Varsity matchup.

The final score does not tell the full story however, as tenacious Centurions’ performances on both sides of the ball kept the match competitive for long stretches against their higher-ranked opponents.

Hull came out strong, and easily moved the ball down the pitch on offense with their dynamic running attack and efficient passing. However York managed to hold strong throughout the majority of the half, coming up with a few huge fourth-down stops to keep the match scoreless.

Hull managed to finally break the Centurion’s resistance at the end of the half with a powerful 8-yard run by their fullback, whose bruising style had sustained most of the drive.

This gave the Centurions the ball back with 2:44 left in the half and an opportunity to tie things up. Despite a sluggish start, the York offense had been gradually improving as the game wore on and they put together an excellent drive to end the half, utilising strong blocking up front to methodically move the ball down the field through a series of short passes.

Quarterback Robert Wickham hit wide receiver Elliot Chacksfield perfectly in stride for a beautiful 30-yard touchdown strike to complete the drive. Wickham, who finished 8/14 for 97 yards, was quick to point out the team effort involved in the score, highlighting the “excellent pass protection” he had received from the offensive line whilst they drove down the field. Whilst the potential go-ahead extra point attempt may have been missed, the Centurions went into the half brimming with confidence and sensing an upset.

This confidence was quickly erased however, as Hull returned the opening kick-off of the second half for a touchdown to put them ahead 12-6. The slickness that was evident in the touchdown drive before the half seemed to dissipate as York had a series of drives that stalled in their own half, forcing them to punt the ball back to Hull’s potent offense.

Whilst the first half had belonged to their wrecking ball of a fullback, the second was dominated by the finesse of Hull’s running back, who followed his kick return touchdown with a brilliant 40 yard touchdown run to end the third quarter.

With the score 18-6 as the fourth quarter began, the Centurions still considered themselves in the hunt for Varsity glory, but a lost fumble in Hull territory essentially sealed only their second defeat of the season. Hull would go on to add a few meaningless touchdowns as York’s defence tired and desire waned.

After the game Defensive Coordinator Will Dalton would admit that the high octane and professional-looking Hull offence was too much for his team, but was extremely proud of their effort. Offensive Coordinator and York Sport President Sam Asfahani admitted his disappointment at the result, labelling the game a “poor performance”, but highlighted the much-improved offence as a positive to take into the next game against Lancaster.

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