Oxford Lancers vs Oxford Brookes Panthers Match Report, 13/2/22
Oxford Lancers 25-17 Oxford Brookes Panthers
Tilsley Park, Abingdon
The 9th storied Cavalier Cup took place on February 13th, 2022, pitting the two cross-town teams, the Oxford Lancers and Oxford Brookes Panthers, against one another. Although previously a combined, national championship winning squad named the Oxford Cavaliers (hence the name ‘Cavalier Cup’), the two teams have now become bitter rivals, vying to be the ‘Kings of Oxford’. To add even more fuel to the fire, this year's Cav Cup also had massive implications on playoff seeding and potential promotion to Division 1. Coming into the match, both the Lancers and the Panthers were undefeated, with only one game remaining. If either team were to lose, their chances of moving up to Division 1 for the following season became virtually nonexistent. Thus, the stakes were high, and both teams were sure to bring their best. With the stands packed, the stage was set for a highly competitive match.
The Lancers offense, led by quarterback Nolan Whitcomb, opened up the game on the field, attempting to silence the raucous Brookes crowd. However, the typically high powered attack was promptly shut down by a stout Panthers front seven, and the Lancers were forced to quickly punt. On the ensuing drive the Panthers, who have relied upon their smash mouth running game the whole season, methodically moved the ball down the field. They picked up consistent gains of 4 to 5 yards, before finally stalling out at the Lancers 20, with the Lancers’ patented ‘bend but don’t break’ defense holding strong. The Panther’s kicked a field goal, making the score 3-0 Brookes.
Joel Chesters replaced Whitcomb on the following Lancers’ offensive possession. Making good use of his elite athleticism, he was able to pick chunk plays on the ground. These gains were backed up with strong running from the electrifying David Ojeabulu. The Lancers were rolling, and seemed to have the Panthers on the back foot. Unfortunately, some untimely penalties pushed the Lancers back. Facing 3rd and long, Joel launched a deep ball towards the end zone, which was intercepted by Brookes.
However, the interception turned out to be quite fortuitous for the Lancers. Brookes was backed up on their own 5 yard line, and were unable to get out of the shadow of their own endzone. The ferocious defensive line of the Lancers, composed of William Wells, Stewart Humble, Alex Fogassy and Drew Robertson, completely shut down the Brookes run game. Facing this relentless pressure, the snap on the ensuing punt flew over the punter's head, resulting in a safety. The score now stood 3-2 Brookes.
Following the safety, the Lancers once again received the ball. The thunder and lightning duo of Whitcomb and Ojeabulu helped to move the ball down the field, powered by the strong push of the Lancers’ offensive line. Once deep into Panthers’ territory, the offense was stopped, forcing out the Lancers’ field goal unit. Ollie Williams unfortunately missed the long field goal, and so the score remained 3-2 Brookes’ way.
The strong defensive effort by the Lancers continued on the Panthers’ next possession. The Lancers front 7 was dominant, continuing to plug up the Panthers ground attack. Facing 3rd and long, the Panthers were forced to go to the air. The pass was tipped up into the air, and was promptly intercepted by the rangy Miles Keat, who was quickly brought down after a short return. This gave the Lancers great field position, which they were able to capitalize on. Hard interior running by Whitcomb, outside runs by Ojeabulu, and a reception by Bill De La Rosa got the ball to the one yard line, where Whitcomb was able to punch the ball in for the touchdown. Williams converted the extra point, making the score 9-3, Lancers' way, which it remained going into the half.
In the 2nd half, the Lancers’ defense continued right where they left off from. The first play by Brookes, a pass across the middle, resulted in a fumble, punched out by Miles Keat. The ball was recovered by the defense on the Panthers’ 15 yard line, once again setting the Lancers’ offense up in a favorable position. Heavy doses of Ojeabulu and Whitcomb once again got the Lancers down to the goal line. However, repeated penalties forced the Lancers back. Facing 3rd and long, the Lancers’ went to the air, where Whitcomb linked up with De La Rosa once again for a 10 yard touchdown strike. Unfortunately, the extra point went wide. The score was now 15-3 Lancers.
The defensive dominance by the Lancers continued deep into the 3rd quarter, shutting down Brookes’ attempts at getting back into the game. The Lancers offense leaned heavily on their run game to chew the clock, before a field goal from Ollie Williams, as well as a short touchdown throw to Tal Jeffrey from Whitcomb resulted in the Lancers’ going up 25-3.
Even with the Lancers up big, the Panthers didn't show any quit, and continued to play hard. Despite being held in check for the majority of the game, the Panthers were able to break some explosive plays.
After a long, 50 yard pass which resulted in a touchdown, the Panthers recovered an onside kick, and promptly scored again. They were successful on the two point conversion, thus making the score 25-17.
Unfortunately for Brookes, their last quarter push came up short, running out of time as they were driving back into Lancers’ territory only down one possession. Time expired, with the final score as follows: University of Oxford Lancers - 25, Oxford Brookes University Panthers - 17. The Lancers were able to take back the Cavalier Cup Trophy, having lost the previous Cup Match in 2019, as well upholding their unbeaten record, moving to 5-0 on the season, and setting up a massive clash with Brighton the following week for the conference championship.
Pass - 4/15, 26 yards, 2 TDs, INT
Run - 30 rushes for 117 yards, TD
MVP - Nolan Whitcomb
Pass - 4/14, 25 yards, 2 TDs
Run - 15 rushes for 69 yards, TD
OMVP - O-Line (Stewart Humble, William Wells, Alex Fogassy, Josh Abioye, James Bonomi, Michael-Akolade Ayodeji, Ebube Anyanechi)
DMVP - Gideon Blankstone
8 tackles, 1.5 TFL
STMVP - Ollie Williams
2 PATs, 1 field goal
Hammer - Josh Abioye
Juice - Miles Keat
1 tackle, 1 FF, 1 INT, 1 PDEF