Saints put Trojans to the Sword: 72-30

Score

Team1234TotalOutcome
Torbay Trojans0881430Loss
Oxford Saints1420221672Win

Game statistics in PDF available here Oxford Saints VS Torbay Trojans 24.05.15

The Fall of Troy…

Following a 43-24 victory over the Cornish Sharks, the Saints travelled to Torbay to take on the Trojans.

Despite a 3 hour coach journey the team arrived feeling fresh and ready to compete, coming away with a huge 72-30 victory. The Saints were also honoured by a large number of supporters who travelled to see the team in action.

Oxford broke another one of it’s own records by scoring the most points in a game since a 74-0 beating of the Andover Thrashers in June 2005. Earlier in this season, Oxford broke it’s record for ‘largest comeback from behind for a win’ when the Saints narrowly beat the Bristol Apache on 26th April, after being down 22 points at half-time.

At the beginning of 2015, the Torbay Trojans visited Oxford for the season opener. Despite a bumpy and slightly unimpressive performance, the Saints claimed a 18-6 victory over the visitors.

Photo by Beth Miskin-Garside

Saints defense

1st Quarter

The Trojans won the coin toss and received the ball to start the game. Quarterback Aaron Butler led his offense onto the field and picked up a first down on the opening drive. Butler proved to be a threat in the air and on the ground in the last contest, with quick feet and being able to run the ball competently himself.

The Saints defense put him to the test early on but the Trojans only needed an extra 2 yards to pick up another 1st down. Strong defensive play by linebacker Calvin Holmes stopped their momentum with excellent back to back tackles on two rushing attempts by Torbay, taking the ball carrier back 4 yards on their 4th down attempt.

Oxford quarterback Ben Denton took over and led a quick scoring drive. Handing the ball to running back Kev Brooks, he picked up 54 yards on 5 carries and rushed the ball in for the first score of the game. Spencer Duffy’s extra point kick was good and the Saints took the lead, 7-0.

Looking to answer back, Aaron Butler was quickly shut down on his next drive when Saints cornerback Mike Turner intercepted a pass and returned it 35 yards up the sideline for another score. Turner has now returned two interceptions for touchdowns this season already, with his first coming in the spectacular comeback victory over Bristol. Duffy added another extra point. 14-0 Oxford.

Watch Mike Turner’s interception return:

 

On their following drive, Butler and the Trojans found themselves in great field position after an explosive run by James Lunt, who raced up the field for 32 yards before being brought down by defender Michael Bearman.

With the Trojans knocking on the door, the Saints found themselves pushed back in their own end zone. Butler attempted to find his first score in the air but tight coverage by rookie Tom Hemming and the rest of the Saints defense gave the Trojans nothing. Just a few yards away from the end zone, veteran linebacker Dean Bryan intercepted Butler and put an end to the threatening Trojan drive.

Photo by Katy-Jane Middleditch

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With the Saints back in possession taking over from the 9 yard line, the offense put together an impressive drive marching down the field. On the first play, Kev Brooks broke through the defenders and picked up 39 yards. Strong running from Brooks and James Walter got the Saints in scoring distance but unable to pick up a first down. Ben Denton attempted a pass from 17 yards out and targeted receiver Leroy Holmes but it was incomplete and the ball was given back to the Trojans.

With the Oxford defense giving nothing away on the next drive, the visitors were forced to punt, setting up a quick scoring drive for the Saints.

2nd Quarter

On just the 2nd play of the drive, James Walter was on form as always. Before the ball was snapped, Denton read the defense and spotted that Walter was uncovered. He threw a quick pass to Walter who then charged 30 yards into the end zone. The extra point kick by Duffy was blocked, 20-0 Oxford.

The Trojans returned to their ground attack and their running backs started to move the ball well against the tough Saints defense. After moving across the field, Butler handed the ball to Simon Race who ran in from 6 yards for the score. The Trojans went for the 2 point conversion and Aaron Burke successfully crossed the line. 20-8 Oxford.

Photo by Katy-Jane Middleditch

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The Saints answered back promptly in the form of veteran running back Mike Oluwole. With his powerful running, Oluwole was handed the ball and charged through the Trojan defenders picking up 44 yards on 4 carries. Oluwole quickly smashed his way into the end zone for a 13 yard score and a successful kick by Duffy extended the lead, 27-8 Oxford.

Still in the 2nd quarter, a pass by Butler was intercepted by veteran defender Ali Galbraith who raced the ball back into the end zone from 43 yards to add on another Saints score, claiming his first defensive touchdown of his career. Butler attempted to force the returner out of bounds but Galbraith sidestepped him and avoided the would-be tacklers as he crossed into the end zone.

Duffy’s kick was good, 34-8 Oxford.

Watch Ali Galbraith’s interception return:

 

On their next drive the Trojans continued to move the ball well on the ground. Defenders Galbraith and Matt Wheeldon took down Torbay running backs who were picking up good gains on the outside. Butler showcased his dangerous mobility and made a good run up the sideline, before being dump tackled by Wheeldon. After leading his team to the 19 yard line, Butler and the Trojans were in good position to add another score. Butler dropped back to pass and then looked to wheel out to the left. Strong tactical play by defensive end Adam Baker sealed off the outside and discouraged Butler from taking off, forcing him back into the pocket.

Photo by Katy-Jane Middleditch

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With pressure closing in, Butler attempted to throw the ball just as the towering rookie defensive end Conor Whitehouse hit him in the back. This sent the ball uncontrollably into the air and it was defensive tackle Toby Durant who made a stunning one handed grab to reel it in, whilst fighting off a Trojan lineman with his other hand at the same time.

Watch Toby Durant’s interception:

 

Denton and the offense took over and the ball was handed off to veteran running back Harry Carr, in his first appearance with the team after signing back on for the 2015 season. Carr picked up 20 yards on the ground before a pass from Denton intended for receiver Jake Geerthsen was intercepted by the Trojans to bring an end to the 1st half.

34-8 Oxford but due to the score margin, league rules for 2015 require a “running clock” whenever a team is 35 points in the lead.

3rd Quarter

The Saints received the ball to begin the 2nd half.

On the first play of the drive, Denton handed the ball to Grant Phillips-Tebb who bolted all the way up the sideline for a 64 yard score on his first carry of the day, marking his first touchdown with the Saints. Duffy remained solid kicking the extra point, 41-8 Oxford.

Photo by Katy-Jane Middleditch

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Back on offense, the Trojans continued to look for gains on the ground. Duffy came on the field at the linebacker position and tackled the ball carrier twice.

Quarterback Aaron Butler ran the ball himself towards the sideline and picked up a first down before being tackled out of bounds by defender James Dunstan. Another run play was tackled out of bounds by Dunstan followed by a big sack on Butler by Toby Durant charging through the middle.

The ball came loose and defensive end George Wright dived on the fumbled ball to recover it for Oxford. This led to another  quick scoring drive, with strong running by Rob Johnson picking up 20 yards, setting up a 1 yard touchdown for Walter as he crossed the line. Duffy adds the extra point, 48-8 Oxford.

Photo by Beth Miskin-Garside

David McCormack hands off the ball

With a big lead, Oxford were able to cycle in a range of players on both sides of the ball but the Trojans quickly answered back when Butler rolled out and threw a 29 yard touchdown pass to receiver Tim Rogers, who was open in the corner of the end zone. Aaron Burke ran in for the 2 point conversion, softening the blow to 48-16.

The Saints kept the foot on the gas however and it was Devon Powell who was to cross the line next for Oxford. Taking a handoff from Denton, the sprinting Powell raced up the sideline on a reverse play untouched into the end zone for a 39 yard score. Duffy lined up to attempt the extra point kick but it ended up being Ali Galbraith who picked up the ball and ran into the end zone, scoring 2 points instead.

Watch Devon Powell’s 39 yard touchdown run:

 

4th Quarter

Early in the 4th quarter, Aaron Butler took off and ran the ball in himself for a 59 yard score. Butler then passed to Aaron Burke who scored the 2 point conversion. 56-24 Oxford.

Soon after the Trojans benefited from another touchdown pass from Butler, this time for a 29 yard score to Tim Rogers, who claimed his 2nd touchdown of the day. Butler went for the 2 points and looked to pass but it was incomplete. 56-30 Oxford.

With Saints 2nd string quarterback David McCormack at the helm, the offense marched up the field once again and picked up 5 first downs. Walter picked up 48 yards during the drive and running back Troy Bryan was back on the field for the first time after suffering an injury in pre-season and was performing well.

Photo by Beth Miskin-Garside

James Walter runs the ball

With the offense entering Trojan territory, a handoff to Walter was fumbled and hit the floor. Walter reacted quickly and scooped it up and scrambled his way through defenders and up the sideline for a impressive 28 yard gain, setting up a 1 yard touchdown run from Harry Carr. This was Carr’s first touchdown with the Saints in 2015, and David McCormack’s first touchdown drive at quarterback. McCormack then passed the ball to Walter who added the 2 points, 64-30 Oxford.

Watch James Walter’s fumble recovery:

 

With time in the 4th running down, the Trojans looked to add another score to the board but a fumbled ball on the first play of their drive was recovered by Conor Whitehouse. This brought McCormack and the offense back out onto the field for one more time, which saw Walter continuing to wreak havoc. Walter gained 25 yards on the ground before running into the endzone for a 16 yard score, his 3rd of the day. To cap off the offensive scoring, Phillips-Tebb took the handoff from McCormack and ran in the 2 point conversion, 72-30 Oxford.

In the final moments of the game it was looking like a trick play by the Trojans may result with them going out on a scoring play but it wasn’t to be. Aaron Butler handed off the ball and then rolled out up the sideline catching a pass from his own teammate. As he entered space, it was rookie defender Joseph Limerick who closed him down and landed a perfect open-field tackle on the fleeting quarterback.

Final score 72-30 Oxford.

Photo by Katy-Jane Middleditch

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You can view the scoring breakdown below:

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Summary

Game statistics in PDF available here Oxford Saints VS Torbay Trojans 24.05.15

With a record breaking win, the Saints now sit at the top of the division with a 4-1 record. They have three weeks of training to prepare for their next contest which is a road game to the Bristol Apache on 21st June.

On offense, James Walter led the day with 121 rushing yards on 8 carries with 2 touchdowns. He also caught 2 passes for 35 yards and a 3rd touchdown.

Photo by Beth Miskin-Garside

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On defense, Michael Bearman and Dean Bryan contributed the most tackles with 5 each. Interceptions came from Mike Turner and Ali Galbraith, who both returned them for scores. Dean Bryan and Toby Durant also added interceptions.

The Saints picked up 490 yards on the ground and 35 yards in the air. The Trojans gained 320 yards on the ground and 112 in the air. Unable to capitalise on the gains prevented the hosts from increasing their score, with only 2 rushing touchdowns and 2 touchdown passes. Meanwhile the Saints scored 7 touchdowns on the ground and added a further touchdown in the air.

The Saints managed to build momentum early and then added pressure to the Trojans with strong defensive play, recovering 2 fumbles and and snatching 4 interceptions.


 

Photo by Beth Miskin-Garside

Trojan ball carrier Aaron Burke

Comments from players

Following the game, quarterback Ben Denton said:

“Offensively, I thought we played a great game of football. James Walter had a phenomenal game once again, but a lot praise needs to go to the offensive line too, they executed every play to perfection and the amount of yards that we gained on the ground is proof of that.”

“We now have a good 3 weeks of training before a huge game against Bristol, so we need to get our focus back so we can come away with a win and take one more step towards the playoffs.”

Running back Kev Brooks said:

“I was very pleased with the result. Thought we had some great plays both sides of the ball this week and great to see rookies really getting into the mix. Personally I feel the offense stepped up early in the game.”

“The coaches had asked us to come out firing and we’ve really done that the last two games putting up big scores and winning is exactly what we wanted. I was happy was to get off to a quick start myself also. Some great work on the line and it’s always great to read the the blocks from big mike. Really helped me get some decent yardage.”

“Looking forwards we need to get our heads down and study what we did badly against Bristol earlier this season and look to stretch this run! Sunday’s result won’t mean anything if it’s followed by a bad performance.”

Linebacker Dean Bryan added:

“Obviously when you can go out and put up as much points as we did on offense and then get turnovers and scores on defense, you’re happy. I just think we are still way off where we want to be and where we can be. We haven’t put in a complete performance yet. We need to execute better than we are. The best teams will punish us if we don’t start playing complete football.”

“3 Weeks of practice is perfect for us. It gives us a chance to correct the fundamental issues we are struggling with but also to heal up a few injuries that players are carrying.”


MVPs

Offensive MVP:  The offensive line unit
Defensive MVP: The secondary unit
Special Teams MVP: Leroy Holmes
Team MVP:  James Walter


 

Current Division Standings

SFCW – Division II

PosTeamWLPFPAStreak
181340159W8
263280211L1
344168131W1
435245252L3
5020113L2


 

Photo by Katy-Jane Middleditch

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Team Opportunities

It takes a lot of work behind the scenes to run a successful American Football club. We are constantly looking for passionate individuals to join us and help put on a great show!

We have a range of tasks available on the sideline including general assistants, ball boys, camera operators and chain crew.

If you want to be part of a exciting sports team but playing isn’t for you, why not join our game day crew instead? Send a email to [email protected] and we will happily discuss all the options available!


Media

If you were at the game and have any photos you wish to share, email them to us at [email protected]. We’ll publish our favourites online and credit you as the photographer.

 

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