York Centurions secured their fifth win of the season to cap off a successful campaign, although this was followed by defeat in their final game.
Due to poor weather before the Christmas break, the Centurions faced two games in quick succession, the first against arch rivals Lancaster Bombers and the second against the undefeated Sheffield Hallam Warriors just three days later.
With both games being played away from home, it promised to be a challenging week.
At Lancaster, York received the ball first and the Centurions’ offence ran the ball consistently through fullback Nick Walter and running back Timi Agwoje.
York’s defence also dominated early on, with Lancaster’s offensive line powerless to resist veteran behemoth Mikey Porter who dominated the middle of the field and forced Lancaster to run outside into the arms of York’s outstanding linebacker corps.
The breakthrough came in the form of a touchdown for Agwoje, who followed good blocking downfield into the end zone.
Lancaster’s lack of posts meant there was no kicking field goals or conversions and a two point conversion attempt by York was snuffed out by the Lancaster defence.
The Centurions didn’t have to wait long for another score, with quarterback Robert Wickham bringing his good form from the Varsity game over to Lancaster.
A long pass to rookie utility player Robin Gill set up the offence with good field position, Wickham then took it upon himself to personally run in a touchdown and two point conversion to send the Centurions into halftime 14-0 up.
After the break the Bombers began to find success in the passing game as York’s defensive backs could not capitalise on several easy chances to intercept the ball.
As a result, the Bombers were eventually able to bundle their way into the end zone following a dubious call for pass interference.
After the conversion was stopped the York offence took to the field to build on their 14-6 lead.
Sadly, mistakes in the red zone stopped an effective York offence from scoring as fumbles gave possession back to Lancaster twice. Lancaster were able to pass the ball into the end zone and ensure a nervous finish for the Centurions.
After again successfully stopping the conversion attempt the Centurions were able to see the game through and win 14-12, a score margin which was very flattering on a poor Lancaster team.
Three days later, an injury hit Centurions squad made their way to Sheffield to play Hallam Warriors, a team who beat Lancaster 97-0 and had won all seven of their previous games.
It promised to be a tough game for York.
Against the odds the Centurions took a 6-0 lead through a Wickham pass to veteran tight end James Durham. Unfortunately the gutsy start was short-lived and the half ended 28-6 to the Warriors.
The third quarter saw Hallam drive up the score as York’s passing game was halted not only by Hallam’s impressive defence but by biting winds and a hail storm.
At 42-6, things looked ominous but when the wind and the hail stopped, corner back Seb Booth came onto the field as a wide receiver and after two snaps of the ball he had his first touchdown as a Centurion, utilising his blistering pace to get in front of his man and catch a beautifully delivered Wickham pass.
Hard hitting from the Centurions defensive line and limited the Warriors to one more score and the game finished at 48-12.
This crop of Centurions are the most successful to date and they can be proud of their five wins from eight games this season.
Sam Asfahani, York Sport President and Centurions founder, said: “I’m proud we’re improving. This club has come a long since my first year when it didn’t even exist. I really love that we’re getting a lot of respect as a club now.”
The squad now eagerly look forward to avenging last year’s Roses defeat to Lancaster and completing the double over them this season.