OXFORD LANCERS 22-20 bournemouth bobcats
The Lancers came into this game a little banged up from the Gloucester defeat the week before with a 2-3 record, hoping to get a win in their final game to take them to .500 which would put them fourth in the division.
Bournemouth meanwhile had a walk over win Vs Bath the week before so were well rested, but at 1-4 they no doubt wanted to get at least one non walk over win this season. After watching game film the Lancers knew that the Bobcats had been unlucky in previous games and they only lost by one score to division leaders the Southampton Stags just a couple of weeks ago.
Oxford kicked off and when Joe Muse popped a Bobcat receiver on third down to jar the ball loose we thought the Bobcats would punt, but they went for it on fourth down, which they completed. The next play was a busted coverage in Lancers’ secondary and the Bobcat receiver ran in for a 50 yd receiving touchdown literally untouched. However Joe Muse and defensive MVP of the game Yune Kwon were there to stop the running two point attempt. 0-6 to the Bobcats
The Lancers responded well. Without any other healthy running backs Connor Thompson was the work horse back, and had a seasonal best with 133 rushing yards from 28 carries on the day. In this drive Will Szymanski ran over the line to convert on a 4th and short, but the 50 yard , 13 play drive fell short when we turned it over on downs at the Bournemouth 30, yet we gained a lot of confidence driving the ball and believed our defense would give us a good field position.
On Bournemouth’s next drive Tom Rizvi raced to the back field causing a massive tackle for an eight yard loss. This three and out and under kicked punt gave the Lancers the perfect opportunity to strike as they set up at the Bournemouth 30 yard line. However with a fumbled snap, the Lancers too had a massive 2nd and long situation and they gave the ball back to Bobocats in their own back yard.
The Lancers D stood firm once more forcing another three and out. This time the wobbly snap caused the punter to get tackled deep behind his o line and this time the Lancers had another chance to score from a short field.
Three plays later and the Lancers went for a pass on 4th and short. Szymanski zipped the ball to rookie Arb Xhameni who leapt for the catch and then simply out run the secondary raced into the endzone for his first Lancers touchdown, a beauty from 25 yards out. Zak Carroll caught a bullet for the 3 yard two point conversion 8-6 to the Lancers.
The lead however did not last long. #14 for the Bobcats is a receiver with hands, pace and agility. He caught a slant on the run and dodged four tacklers making his way to the end zone for a 53 yard strike. The confident Bobcats Qb decided to pass on the two point attempt and they got it, so within minutes the Lancers were now down 8-14.
Starting out at own 15 the Bobcats probably felt they had the momentum as clock began to wind down with around five minutes left in the half. Szymanski crafted the perfect 8 play 85 yard drive. The big play was Lucas Stolle catching a deep ball for 39 yards before tumbling to the ground at the one yard line. Two plays later Szymanski ran it in for 1 yard touchdown, but sadly tried to run it again for the two point PAt but was tackled leaving the score at 14-14.
With the Lancers d suffocating the visitors they were forced to punt, but with little time left the Lancers aired it out and tried to get a deep touchdown, but the ball was intercepted and bournemouth only had time for three plays before it was the end of the half. But what a great tight football game this was turning out to be.
The Lancers received the ball and made a 55 yard drive in 13 plays with veteran receiver, Andy Badger making two first down catches. Sadly as we got close to the end zone the defense came up with an interception, yet they were tackled at their own two yard line. Despite no score from the last drive the Lancers defense was red hot and and the Bournemouth punter only managed to get the ball to his own 30.
Another short field for the Lancers, and it was Connor Thompson catching and running the ball on this drive and finished it off with an eight yard inside run touchdown. Szymanski decided to pass on the two pointer. Lucas Stolle got away from the defender due to the playaction and Szymanski put the ball in the perfect spot for the conversion 22-14 to the Lancers
The teams exchanged punt before Bournemouth made a good offensive drive deep into enemy territory, but knowing they have to get a touchdown, meant they passed it, but this time the Lancers secondary had corrected themselves from earlier. The Bournemouth outside run attack began picking up first downs but, they turned the ball over on downs giving the Lancers the opportunity to bleed the clock with their potent running game. However Bournemouth loaded the box and forced the Lancers to pass. This time they were wise to the playaction and the defender jumped the route picking up an interception with just minutes to spare and giving his team a chance to win from the half way.
Bournemouth went to the air, and despite a Bobcat tackling a Lancer corner back , the referees gave the pass interference against the Lancers and this massive penalty put the bobcats into the redzone. With a wildcat formation the Bobcat running back took the direct snap and ran outside for touchdown.
Now it all came down to the crucial two point conversion. A score here would level the game. Rob Main, Yune Kown and Harvey Appleby all combined to force the tackle on the running back to prevent him getting the ball.
With just 90 seconds to play the Lancers ran the ball , and although did not make the crucial first down, the Bobcats had to use up all of their timeouts, and when the Lancers did punt there was seconds left on the clock, which was enough to secure the win in what was a very tight but enjoyable game for both teams.
Shout out to our right guard, Chris Matthews who played in his final Lancers game today. He has been an absolute beast for us for two straight seasons and the oline carried him off the field.
-- Adam Goldstein