OXFORD LANCERS 12-36 sussex saxons
The Oxford Lancers were the last team in their division to get their 2019-20 season started. They were scheduled for just two games in the first term, and game one (Vs Chichester) was postponed due to weather. This has now meant the Lancers are to play five games back to back after Christmas.
First Challenge: The Field
However, during the Sussex game week the rain poured down which flooded many of the pitches in Oxford. If this game was postponed too it would have been nigh on impossible for the Lancers to play six games back to back. The new Lancer’s executive committee had a huge challenge before the game even started They worked really hard the day before to paint the gridiron onto the field at Wolfson college. The first time the Lancers have played at University college grounds.
A great start
Going into this game the Lancers knew the Sussex Saxons would be a tough opponent. They had already beaten Winchester 42-8 and beat cross town rivals, the Oxford Brookes Panthers, 12-36
Head Coach, Ian Hiscock, wanted a fast start and he got just that. Although the Lancers are blessed with a decent sized squad (around thirty five players) most of those are rookies, due to the fact that over fifteen players last year left due to graduation.
The fast start came at the hands of five year veteran, Connor Thompson at running back. On just the fourth play Connor broke through the secondary to score a 61 yard rushing touchdown. The two point conversion was no good, but going 6-0 at the start had everyone pumped.
A quick answer
The Lancers defense had been studying the Saxons run game all week, and dominated the line of scrimmage forcing the Saxons to just 20 yards in three drives, culminating in three punts. Meanwhile for the Lancer’s three drives they doubled that yardage, but the results of their drives were; fumble, interception and punt. Take away those turnovers and the Lancers were driving the ball and stopping the Saxons run, until….
On the Saxons fourth possession, their tall full back ran in for a 65 yard touchdown on the first play . Their two point conversion was incomplete and the game was tied at 6-6. The Lancers knew that they had to get momentum back in their favour.
After a cracking kick return from offensive team captain Arb Xhameni to give the Lancers great field position, it was Connor Thompson once more. This time it was a 35 yard gallop into the endzone, his 24th for the club. Again the two point conversion was unsuccessful , but the Lancers were up 12-6.
The Saxons run game
Having forced a Sussex fumble on their next drive, the Lancers were sadly unable to take advantage of the good field position. Rookie Quarterback, Nolan Whitcomb was making great reads on the run, picking up vital yards, but the Lancers punted away.
Despite having a 20 yard completed pass on their drive before, the Saxons went back to the ground, and churned 70 yards on this drive, which was capped off by a 30 yard running touchdown. The two PAT was converted giving them a two point cushion with just enough time in the half for the Lancers to get a few plays off. Despite Nolan making two quick strikes , the time was running out and the Hail Mary was intercepted on the last play of the half.
More of the same from the Saxons
From the first snap after the break, the Saxons ran the ball in on a massive 75 yard touchdown and they converted too. Scoring just before the half and straight after gave them a ten point cushion.
The Lancers defense did kick into gear forcing two quick punts. However the Lancers gave the ball away in their two drives with an interception and a fumble. Though both Oxford drives were promising and rookie running back David Ojeabulu, made some great plays in his first game.
The strong Saxons rushing attack, opened up the Saxons ability to pass, and their Qb hit his receiver in stride for a fifty yard Touchdown, this became only their second completion all day. The Lancers fought valiantly all game long but before the final whistle the Saxons got in another rushing touched to seal the win, 12-36.
The scoreline did not reflect the game, as the Lancers played very well. A team of mostly rookies against an experienced, strong and powerful squad. The Lancers go into the next game with a lot of confidence, despite this result.
49 plays, 231 yards. 2 Tds
27 runs = 228 yards. 2 Tds, 1 fumble
4 sacks = Minus 21 yds
8 of 18 passes. 24 yds. 4 Ints
Connor Thompson: 12 runs. 154 yards. 2 Tds
David Ojeabulu: 7 runs. 37 yards
Nolan Whitcomb: 8 runs. 58 yards.
Connor Thompson: 1 catch: -3 yards
David Ojeabulu: 2 catches. 3 yards
Arb Xhameni: 5 catches 18 yards
44 plays, 416 yds. 5 Tds
33 runs = 348 yards. 4 Tds. 1 fumble
2 Sacks= Minus 2 yards.
2 of 9 passes. 70 yards. 1 Td
Game Day Awards
MVP: Connor Thompson
OMVP: Stew Humble
DMVP: Cristobal Gomez
Hammer: Chris Nowek
ST: Arb Xhameni
Juice: George Newick