OXFORD LANCERS 40-0 Essex blades
After weather forecasts promising wet and cold conditions, it was a sunny afternoon at the Wheatley grounds. The Oxford Lancers wanted to continue their dominance against the fierce competition of the Essex Blades, and put themselves in the driving position to win the division and secure a place in the playoffs.
After a slow start to the game, where Essex's offense was able to run the ball and get a first down, the Lancers' defense then shut down the Blades' attack for the drive, and rest of the game.
Oxford's first possession saw the offense take the ball 90 yards down the length of the field for the score, with RB Connor Thompson, QB Will Szymanski getting important chunk yards on the ground. The drive was capped off by the TD catch of WR Ahmad Nasir, who got the ball on the drag route, forced a couple of missed tackles, and ran unimpeded into the end zone. Oxford 7 - 0 Essex, with the extra point being good.
The Lancers' defense settled in, and forced another three and out, giving the offense another opportunity to score. This was a much shorter drive, consisting of two plays, the later being a 40 yard deep TD throw over the middle to from Szymanski to Nasir. Oxford 14 - 0 Essex, with the extra point.
This commanding lead forced the Blades to come out passing. After a couple of completions, the constant pressure from the Lancers' front seven forced the Essex QB into throwing an interception to DB Alex Dale, who took it to the house for a pick six. Oxford 21 - 0 Essex, with the extra point.
The Oxford defence continued this dominance, again forcing turnovers. Unfortunately, the Lancers were not able to convert good field position the first time, missing a FG, but took another interception in for the pick six, this time from Joe 'Hands' Barker (LMH). Oxford 28-0 Essex, with the extra point, leading to HT.
After half time, the Lancers were looking to continue executing the game plan, with QB Szymanski stepping into the amped up Blades' pressure, completing passes to Alex Dale on hitch routes. After another methodical drive, Dale caught a short TD from Szymanski on a similar pattern. Oxford 34 - 0 Essex, with the missed extra point.
Securing a commanding lead, the Oxford Lancers were able to put in substitutions and give some backups playing time on the field. After another stellar day, QB Szymanski was deservedly given the rest of the day off, with QB Panayiotis Christoforou coming on in his stead.
The Essex Blades were able to adjust in the middle of the third quarter, and started to blitz more and jump on routes that had worked previously, forcing a three and out from the Lancers' offense. Still, the Lancers' defence left no quarter, shutting down an Essex drive in the red zone after a muffed punt, and another after a Lancers' fumble in midfield.
Fortunately, the Lancers' offense were able to execute on the last drive, being able to chew the clock down with short passes and runs, despite the growingly stingy Essex defense. Three plays in particular, an intermediate throw to Nasir, a 20 yard run by RB Thompson, and a tipped ball completion to Dale, brought the Lancers into the red zone. (In fact, Dale was able to score, but the play was called back for a penalty). Still, the Lancers' were able to score on a short slant to WR Robert Moore, who took it a further 5 yards for the TD. Oxford 40 - 0 Essex, with a caught two point conversion by Nasir deemed incomplete.
Another successful day for the Lancers, who now are working to build on this momentum for the playoffs, which will be the first in team history.
HIT OF THE DAY
Joe "LMH" Barker