Review of the Lancers 2014/2015 Season
About the Lancers
The Oxford University Lancers are one of two student American Football teams in Oxford.
After several struggling seasons against tough competition, the Lancers have changed their fortunes!
This was a season for the history books
After years of difficulty, the Oxford University Lancers were able to achieve their potential and end the season with a winning record, creating a solid basis for future success. This is the summary of how that happened.
First game of the season was against Anglia Ruskin University from Cambridge. It was the first test in a new division that our players did not take lightly. This manifested in a domination in all phases of the game. Notable highlights include WR/DB Stu Sanders’ hit on the KR on kickoff, rushing and receiving TDs for Jonny ‘Priest’ Brooks-Bartlett on two touches, and a total domination in the trenches by Matt Gore on both sides of the ball. Oxford Lancers 62 – 0 ARU Rhinos.
Second was the long trip to Canterbury to face Kent. Despite the domination of the defense, restricting them to 7 points, our offense had trouble getting off the ground. It was a hard, physical game that saw the injury of Matt Gore, the soul of the O-line. We were able to score on a deep fade pattern to X-receiver Ahmad Nasr, but to no avail. Kent 7 – 6 Oxford Lancers.
Third was our varsity game against Cambridge. Similar problems to the previous game, as our offense was unable to break through Cambridge’s stout front 7. Our defense was able to keep the game interesting, but a couple of broken plays allowed Cambridge to gain a commanding league. A tough loss. Cambridge 16 – Oxford 0.
After the winter break and a coaching change, the Lancers were prepared to face our cross-town rivals, Oxford Brookes. A hard-hitting and physical encounter, Oxford implemented a new rushing attack to great effect (led by RB and LB Scott Tan), keeping the ball and scoring first. However, the opposing defences were stout all day, stalling offensive drives and keeping scoring low. Oxford won it on a scintillating KO return from Ian Simester, running 70 yards down the right sideline for a TD. Oxford were then able to hold on to the victory. Oxford Brookes 6 – Oxford Lancers 14.
After the cancellation of our fifth game that resulted in a W, the Lancers played UEA Pirates at home. The toughest match of the season, the Lancers out-manned and under-sized. Running the football was proving difficult, so Coach McKenzie moved to the passing attack, letting loose QB Will Szymanski and WR Adam Wong. A masterful two minute drive at the end of the first half saw the Lancers score. Luck and grit resulted in a Lancers win, after a missed FG from the Pirates. Lancers 8 – UEA 6.
The final game of the season was against Essex. It was a chance to say goodbye to seniors and give playing opportunities to different players. Highlights include a TD reception from new OULAFC President Henk Schopmans, who had played OT all year and was able to get reps at TE, DE Belal Al-Halfawy terrorising the opposing QB with hits and sacks, and the shifty McCoy-esque running style of DB/RB Benjamin Grønvold. Essex 13 – 33 Oxford.
Special mention goes out to our coaches Andrew McKenzie, Adam Goldstein, Ian ‘Satnav’ Hiscock, Carl Marshall, Ben Lacey, and Matt Gore for their hard work, belief and dedication. Also to our season MVP Scott Tan, whose grit running the ball and shoring up the middle of our defense were the differences that made the Lancers soar. A truly remarkable season.
The Lancers finished third in the division with a 5-2 record. Cambridge won the league with a 6-1 record, while Kent finished 5-2 (above the Lancers based on the head to head record).
This was the first time the Lancers have ever finished with a higher record over cross town rivals, the OBU Panthers (4-3).
MVP: Scott Tan (MLB/RB) Defensive MVP: Jonny ‘Priest’ Brooks. (WR/RB/DE) Offensive MVP: Will Szymanski (Qb) Hammer award (Lineman of the year): Benedict ‘HitMe’ Shillito (RG/WLB) Rookie of the Year: Peter Graham (CB) Most Improved player: Benedict ‘HitMe’ Shillito (RG/WLB) TD of the year: Jonny ‘Priest’ Brooks. 80yd td run vs Essex Champagne moment of the year: Defeating OBU for the Cavaliers Cup