Oxford Lancers vs UCL Emperors Match Report, 23/1/22
Oxford Lancers 26-6 UCL Emperors
Tilsley Park, Abingdon
The Oxford Lancers returned from the winter vacation with an undefeated 2-0 record and more to prove against the UCL Emperors. Although the Lancers had the better record, the undermanned Emperors represented a possible trap game after minimal preparation during the vacation.
The rust accumulated over the vacation was apparent as the game began. The UCL Emperors received the opening kickoff and methodically drove down the field, stringing chunk run and pass plays together. The Emperors capped off their drive with a 5-yd touchdown pass. Liam Paton broke up a pass on the ensuing 2-pt attempt to leave the score 6-0 in favor of the Emperors.
Quarterback Nolan Whitcomb lead the Lancer offense onto the field, charged with responding to UCL’s imperious drive. The Lancer offense did exactly that, stringing 7 consecutive positive plays together after a Tal Jefferey jet sweep was snuffed out in the backfield. As all season, Nolan Whitcomb and running back David Ojeabulu could be counted on to make solid gains on the ground on first downs, allowing Offensive Coordinator Patrick McAleer to call downfield passes on second down. This offensive balance enabled multiple long completions with Tal Jefferey pulling in a twenty-seven-yard pass and Bill De La Rosa snagging a thirty-four yarder to even the score. An Ollie Williams extra point put the Lancers up 7-6.
After some uncharacteristic rust on the opening drive, the Lancer defense kicked back into high gear, stuffing runs for no gain and shutting down the pass game with tight coverage and active hands. UCL’s second drive ended unceremoniously with a Gideon Blackstone interception. Unfortunately, the Lancers were unable to capitalize on this possession with a botched handoff between quarterback Joel Chesters and David Ojeabulu putting them behind schedule and forcing a George Maguire punt.
Still, the Lancers kept and further advanced the ball into UCL territory by recovering UCL’s muffed punt. This brought Nolan Whitcomb and the Lancer offence back onto the field. After a 5 yard completion to Drew Robertson, the Lancer offense went sideways and backwards for a few plays before David Ojeabulu took a short pass 14 yards into the end zone. After a missed extra point, the score stood 13-6 Lancers.
The Lancers defense continued to dominate, forcing a quick three and out after a great tackle in the backfield by Gideon Blackstone and a pass breakup on third down by Eric Hembling to force a punt. Midway through the second quarter, Joel Chesters led the Lancers onto the field looking to steal some points before the break. The UCL defense was able to collapse the pocket on multiple occasions, forcing Joel Chesters to scramble outside, where his speed and poor ball security were on full display. Joel skirted around the UCL defense for runs of 17, 8, and 9 yards before the UCL defense stuffed a David Ojeabulu run in the backfield and forced a punt.
The Lancer defense stood strong, forcing 3 incomplete passes to get the ball back and conserving as much clock as possible. Joel Chesters and the Lancer offense trotted out to steal some points before the half. With only a few seconds left on the clock, everyone in Tilsley Park including the UCL defense knew a Hail Mary was incoming. This left Joel Chesters eluding defenders in the backfield while trying to find a receiver in the end zone, ultimately taking a mammoth 27 yard sack. The Lancers headed to the locker room up 13-6.
Receiving the second half kickoff, the Lancers prepared to run the ball early and often. David Ojeabulu carried the ball 4 times for 50 yards on the opening drive of the second half, capping it off with a 2 yard touchdown run. An Ollie Williams extra point perfectly split the uprights to put the Lancers up 20-6. On the following UCL drive, the defense continued to ball out with Eric Hembling, Stewart Humble, and Gideon Blackstone all recording tackles in the backfield before an Eric Hembling pass breakup forced another punt. After the punt, Joel Chesters scampered down the sideline for 22 yards before a Tal Jefferey fumble returned the ball to UCL.
The defense continued to shut down UCL with sound tackling by safety George Newick and a backfield stuff by defensive end Drew Robertson. An incomplete pass forced another UCL punt, gifting the Lancers great field position at the UCL thirty eight. Two quick David Ojeabulu runs gashed the UCL defense for 28 and 10 yards respectively and put the Lancers in the end zone for the fourth time on the day.
Up 26-6, the Lancers kicked off for the final time. The UCL offense put up one final resistance, staying on the field for 10 plays. Although the Lancer defense put on a masterclass of gang tackling and swarmed to the ball, the Emperors kept the chains moving with off-schedule plays including an 11 yard run on fourth down to maintain possession. On their final set of downs, the Emperors tried airing it out to no avail as the Lancer secondary played tight and aggressive. Jerry Soong batted down a lob on fourth down to put the offence back on the field.
On the Lancer’s final offensive series, a series of miscues kept the Lancers moving backwards and led to an Ollie Williams punt. The Emperors were running out of clock and unable to move the ball, throwing incomplete pass after incomplete pass batted away by the likes of Owen Morris and Gideon Blackstone.
Both teams put on a strong showing, with the Lancers dynamic rush offense and stifling defense proving too much for a tough but undermanned UCL side. The Lancers began Hilary term 3-0 with a matchup against Winchester on the cards.
Oxford Lancers UCL Emperors
Pass - 6/11, 96 yards, 2 TDs Pass - 10/29, 67 yards, TD, INT
Run - 27 rushes for 144 yards, 2 TDs Run - 13 rushes for 31 yards
MVP - Gideon Blankstone
4 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 PDEF, INT
OVMP - David Ojeabulu
9 rushes for 83 yards, 2 TDs
1 reception, 14 yards, TD
DVMP - Owen Morris
3 tackles, 3 PDEF
STMVP - Ayomilekan Adegunwa
Hammer - Alex Fogassy
Juice - Muffed punt recovery!