VICTORY: Saints Advance To Final With 40-19 Win

Score

Team1234TotalOutcome
Oxford Saints21071240Win
Bristol Apache0013619Loss

Game Statistics
Photography courtesy of Gareth Brown. Featured photo by Jamie Stancombe.

 

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Semi Final: Oxford Saints VS Bristol Apache
Venue: Tilsley Park, Abingdon
Date: 28 August 2016

The perfect season continues as the Saints extend their winning streak to 12-0, with a 40-19 semi final victory over the Bristol Apache.

The decisive win on Sunday at Tilsley Park advances Oxford to the Division II Southern Final, making their first appearance in a final since the Saints were crowned champions back in 2006.

By reaching the final, the Saints have also secured automatic promotion and will be playing division I football in 2017..

The Saints will now face the Cambridgeshire Cats for the title on 11th September at John Charles Stadium, Leeds.

1st Quarter

The Apache received the opening kick off and began with their offense out on the field. Led by quarterback Simon Harris, the Apache struggled on their opening drive as the formidable Oxford defense set the tone for the game.

Unable to pick up a first down, the visitors were forced to send the ball to the Saints but a short punt meant that Oxford’s offense would start with good field position.

Starting on Bristol’s 38 yard line, quarterback Destin Maulding handed the ball to running back Tony Glover, who charged through the Apache defenders for 9 yards before Luke Fry picked up a 1st down on a 2 yard carry.

More strong running from Glover and a penalty against the Apache set up Glover to claim his first score of the day, with an 11 yard touchdown run.

Sam Fielden kicked the ball through the uprights to add on the extra point.

7-0 Oxford

RB Tony Glover - Photo by Gareth Brown
RB Tony Glover – Photo by Gareth Brown

The Apache hoped for better success on their next drive and called upon running back Jon Walters to carry the load. Often a key threat in Bristol’s offense, Walters picked up a 1st down Simon Harris threw another 1st down pass.

The Apache were starting to move down the field but 2 incomplete passes and a tackle for a 4 yard loss by Spencer Duffy, halted their progress.

The Saints meanwhile continued to look in top form, with Glover picking up another 1st down. A 15 yard penalty against Oxford set them back, however Kev Brooks ran for 10 yards which was followed by a spectacular play from James Walter who ran for 17 yards and dived across the goal line for the score.

Fielden remained on target and added the extra point.

14-0 Oxford

 

James Walter 17 Yard Touchdown Run


Still in the 1st quarter, Oxford’s defense continued to shut down the Apache, with Dean Bryan, George Wright and Sam Stancombe holding the line.

With Maulding and the offense back on the field, a deep pass was caught by veteran receiver Ali Galbraith who made one of the best plays in the clubs recent history, diving out and securing the ball for a 40 yard gain to celebrations by teammates and spectators.

Not wanting to be outshined, teammate James Walter then made another great grab in the endzone, catching the pass from Maulding for a 21 yard score.

With Fielden adding the extra point, the Saints were riding high with a big 3 score lead over the Apache at the end of the 1st quarter.

Fielden added the extra point.

21-0 Oxford

 

Ali Galbraith 40 Yard Reception

In the 2nd quarter, the Saints offense picked up a 1st down from Rob Johnson but quarterback Destin Maulding fumbled the ball for a 6 yard loss, but recovered the possession.

A penalty against the Apache gave the Saints a fresh set of downs but they were unable to capitalise on the following plays.

On 4th down, they punted the ball away for the first time.

For the remainder of the 2nd quarter, both teams exchanged blows but neither team found the endzone. The Saints defense continued to be the dominating factor, forcing the Apache to punt the ball away after minimal gains.

The Saints offense were able to move the ball well, including a 17 yard run for a first down by Kev Brooks but the Apache defense were starting to catch up, claiming 2 sacks for a loss of yards on Destin Maulding.

21-0 at Half Time

Saints Defense - Photo by Gareth Brown
Saints Defense – Photo by Gareth Brown

The Saints had a bumpy start to begin the 2nd half, when a fumbled ball was recovered by the Apache for a 15 yard gain, before being brought down for a touchdown-saving tackle by Maulding.

With good field position, Apache quarterback Simon Harris soon connected with receiver Chris Jones in the endzone for their first score. Jones also lined up to kick the extra point, leaving the score at 21-7 Oxford.

Looking to retaliate, Maulding passed to Walter for a 21 yard gain and a 1st down, then to Sam Armstrong for a 17 yard catch and another 1st down.

Glover charged through from 15 yards out to claim his 2nd touchdown of the day as he outran his pursuers.

Fielden’s kicking remained on form.

28-7 Oxford

With Oxford’s defense back on the field, George Wright sacked quarterback Simon Harris for a 3 yard loss.

When attempting to throw the ball, good coverage by Oxford’s pass defenders prevented any progress in the air. Another punt on 4th down sent the ball back to Oxford.

At the end of the 3rd quarter, the Apache had good field position following a completed pass from Simon Harris for 26 yards and a 1st down. From 2 yards out, Harris handed the ball to Jon Walters who punched it in for the score.

Jones was unable to add the extra point but the Apache narrowed the gap, 28-13 Oxford.

Tony Glover 42 Yard Touchdown Run


In the 4th quarter, the Saints continued to limit the passing threat with coverage from Jonny Dover. Further shots downfield were incomplete and Apache struggled to pick up much needed 1st downs.

Oxford continued to enjoy success on the ground, with Tony Glover running in for a big 42 yard touchdown on the first play of the drive.

The Saints attempted a 2 point conversion but Maulding was unable to pass the ball in for the extra score.

34-14 Oxford

RB James Walter - Photo by Gareth Brown
RB James Walter – Photo by Gareth Brown

The Apache showed a revival and began moving the ball well, with first downs in the air and on the ground. A long drive brought them close to the endzone and Max Gallagher ran in from 1 yard out for their 2nd score.

Gallagher attempted to cross over again for the extra 2 points but was brought down by the Saints defense.

The Saints struck back to seal the game on their next drive, with strong running from James Walter, Tony Glover and Rob Johnson, each converting for 1st downs.

From 3 yards out, Walter ran in for his 3rd score of the day and gave the Saints a clear 40-19 lead.

Another 2 point conversion attempt was unsuccessful.

With the game out of reach, the Apache picked up a big 1st down on a 27 yard run, but numerous injuries were starting to add up. The Saints defense kept their foot on the pedal and David Anthony landing a big sack on the quarterback for a 7 yard loss.

Unable to make any further progress, the Apache turned the ball over when they failed to convert on 4th down.

FINAL 40-19 OXFORD

The Saints dominated the game in all areas, with their explosive offense moving the ball in the air and on the ground.

The damage was done by running backs Tony Glover and James Walter, who each claimed a hat-trick of scores and were a constant threat that the Apache couldn’t match.

Oxford ended the day with 355 rushing yards, whilst their defense kept Bristol to just 69.

The Apache took the lead in the air with 145 passing yards to Oxford’s 104, but the Saints defended many more pass attempts and forced multiple incompletions.

Total yards on offense for Oxford were 439 and 194 for Bristol.

Oxford’s Tony Glover alone ran for 190 yards.

The Saints will now advance to their first division final since their championship season in 2006. The Saints also keep their undefeated record for 2016 and are one more victory away from the perfect season.

Oxford have also guaranteed promotion to Division I, with both finalists being automatically promoted to the tier above.

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