Manchester Away 18/11/18
The last time the Sabres faced Manchester it was a day to forget as the Sabres nearly fell to Division two. Two years later and after a success rebuild year the Sabres look to take on the newly promoted Manchester Tyrants. With both teams siting at 0-1, this was a must win game for both teams.
The Sabres knew this and with the kick-off they tried to get the ball back with an on-side kick which nearly worked as the ball was touched after 9 yards, giving the Tyrants good field position. With the first play of the game the Tyrants were able to score a 35-yard pass to put them up immediately to 0-7. Not to be out done the Sabres responded quickly, with the kick return setting them up at the Tyrants’ 40 after 3 plays the Sabres were in for the touchdown thanks to #88 Harrison Bazley. A failed 2-point conversation meant the score after both opening drives was 7-6 to the Tyrants.
After a typically slow start the defense took inspiration from the offense’s quick TD to deliver a 3 & 0 shutout to give the offense the ball back on the halfway mark. Offense were on fire as #10 Sam Worrall threw to Rookie #29 Eric Bell to put the Sabres ahead 12-7. Things continued to go the Sabres’ way as the defense were able to recover a fumble by the Manchester offense. But the Sabres offense couldn’t capitalise as the Tyrants held strong in their RedZone as they got the ball back after stopping the Sabres on the 4th down.
More mistakes from defense allowed the Tyrants to score soon after bringing the score to 12-13 at the beginning of the second quarter. It was clear that the offense had to step up this time around and no play shows this better than #10 Sam Worrall’s 30-yard run (yes, we were shocked too) on a QB draw. The offense looked set to hammer this drive home for the TD, a Jet Sweep to #88 Harrison Bazley looked set to reach the end zone, the ball…but Bazley wasn’t holding on to it as he fumbled right before the pylons, this give Manchester a lucky touchback.
Another 3 & out meant the Tyrants had to punt on their 20, only to be blocked by the Punt Defense, with great field position the offense didn’t waste any time in getting to the end zone with #27 Jamie Fennell getting his second touchdown of the season. With the 2pt conversation good, the Sabres lead 20-13. Another 3 & out looked set as the Manchester punted the ball away only for the Sabres to botch the recovery, giving Manchester the ball back on the halfway mark. Nevertheless, the defense once again held strong, by sending pressure up the middle, they were able to force the Tyrants’ centre into snapping the ball high, as a result the Tyrants lost 15-yards and couldn’t recover.
The offense were quickly back out, this time they decided to not give the Sabres’ defense a rest by scoring immediately with a 47-yard vertical to #88 Harrison Bazley for the TD. 26-13 to the Sabres. The Sabres’ defense gave the Sabres’ offense a taste of their own medicine, in the Tyrants first offensive play back out the ball was tipped and #9 Mofi Jaiyebo gladly took the interception.
Half Time: Sheffield Sabres 26 – 13 Manchester Tyrants
After the half, the Sabres looked set to march up the field with an impressive 29-yard pass to #88 Harrison Bazley. All looked good until #10 Sam Worrall threw his first interception of the day, giving the ball back to the Tyrant’s on their own 44-yard line. More mistakes plagued the defense as the Tyrants were able to score a 40-yard pass bringing the score up to 26-19. If you thought things couldn’t get worse, well…they did, as Warroll threw his second interception of the day of immediately getting the ball back from the kickoff.
The defense, soon resumed normal service as DE #19 Tej Mekako got his first strip sack, despite the Tyrants’ recovering the ball, it was 4th down, meaning the offense were back on. It was time to launch the Sabres’ ground game as #25 Ruben Pare took the ball 22-yards to Manchester’s territory before a 35-yard screen by Bazley gave the Sabres their 5th touchdown of the day. This wouldn’t have been possible without OL #52 Fernando Conceicao pancaking not 1 but 2 poor Tyrant defenders. With the 2pt conversation good, the score was 34 – 19.
Manchester, desperately trying to answer back capitalised on mistakes made by the defense to put them back in the game, 34-25 to the Sabres. The rookie Eric Bell continued to have an impressive game with a 19-yard catch, but strong defense by Manchester lead to the Sabres punting. Even when this defense struggles, they still managed to make big plays with Tej getting his second strip sack of the day, the time it was recovered by DT #77 Robert Ebbatson.
But it wasn’t meant to be as a fumble by the offense meant the defense were immediately back on. The defense once again held strong, forcing the Tyrants to punt a way the ball. The offense found their form once again as they marched down the field, thanks to the amazing ground game of the Sabres. Jamie Fennell punched it in to the Sabres a 40 – 25 lead.
It wasn’t long till the offense was back on as #44 Nathan Brereton flawlessly picked off the Tyrants QB, giving the offense amazing field position to set up rookie George Condon as he trucked his way into the endzone. Bringing the score to 46-25.
Offense MVP: #10 Sam Warroll
Defense MVP: #19 Tej Mekako
Rookie MVP: #29 Eric Bell
Special Teams MVP: #4 Danny Ardron
Lineman MVP: #65 Tom Sheppard & #52 Fernando Conceicao