The Cheetahs have stunned a Britball nation that had expected them to succumb to the London Blitz B, setting up an SFC 2 Final against their SFC 2 South rivals the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts. Britball media outlets Double Coverage and Gridiron Memes had both picked against the Cheetahs, which was understandable given the hosts perfect record in the SFC 2 East this season.
The Cheetahs visited Finsbury Park as underdogs for perhaps the first time this season. That strange feeling may have unsettled the away side temporarily – they conceded on the game’s first drive after a penalty extended the Blitz’ time on the field – but it didn’t last for long. The Cheetahs immediately scored themselves through Adam Adeniji. A pass breakup from Josh Dunnet stalled a Blitz drive, then tackles for loss from Patrick Armstrong and Jordan Legge paved the way for a muffed punt and a safety for the Cheetahs. Holding a narrow lead, punts were exchanged…or so the Blitz thought, as another punt attempt was squashed by the marauding defence, this time Dan
Levett joining Jordan Legge on the tackle to set the Cheetahs up with incredible field position. QB Martin Brown took advantage, putting the ball up for rookie wideout Tom McQuillin to extend the lead. The defence sensed blood now, forcing first a fumble and then another turnover – this time DB Tirell Jeffers picking the home side off – and the O again thanked them with more points, receiver Rowan Huggins this time on the slant into the end zone. The Cheetahs weren’t done in the first half, and in particular Jordan Legge wanted more. He got it on the very next drive, picking off the Blitz QB and taking it all the way back, giving the away side a 30-6 halftime lead and one foot in the final.
The Blitz showed their championship credentials however, fighting back furiously in the 3rd quarter and eventually bringing the game back within a single score to 30-24. Tiredness and nerves were setting in, but the Hertfordshire side stayed resolute. It was Adam Adeniji again, showing great burst to find the hole for one TD, and adding another just a few short drives later. The Blitz did pull one back in a 4th quarter that seemed to go on forever, but it was too little too late by then, as the Cheetahs ground out the clock to secure a historic victory.
The Cheetahs now face a familiar foe in the final game of the 2018 season, squaring off against the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts in the SFC 2 Final on the 2nd September.
Head Coach and DC Craig Barnes cited “a memorable victory for the team and the club. To take on an unbeaten team in their own back yard and win like that is a tribute to our players. When the defence wobbled a bit in the second half, the offence went up a gear to keep us in front. (Defensive MVP) Jordan Legge was amazing for us on D. A Pick Six, multiple tackles for a loss and passes defended. Top class. We are obviously very proud to have made the SFC2 Championship Game. Our familiar foes, the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts, will once again provide a very stern test. We will need to be at our very best to win the title. We will prepare harder then ever in the run up to the game, and I can guarantee that we will give our absolute all to win. We can’t wait!”
Defensive Captain Josh Kent believes that this was “the most important game of the season. It was the real final for the prize we have fought for since we got relegated – a place in Division 1!. The D as a whole performed well. I am very proud of the lads and I hope we can carry it on into the final. If you look at the second half of the game you may have thought we were going to throw it away after the physical game against Ipswich and the fast paced game against Blitz B, but we have enough depth on our roster this year that we were able to hold their progress and see the game out. I am looking forward for our return to Division 1 ball, but more importantly for now our final against our league rivals Portsmouth. The defence wants that ring!”
OC Will Sparke was delighted with the performance of his players. Asked for an MVP, he couldn’t name one, stating instead that “There wasn’t an Offensive MVP this week as we had so many guys contribute. Adam Adeniji‘s grinding play helped close the game; Tom McQuillin played the entire second half with a rolled ankle; Andy Dickins played both ways; Matt Lake stepped up and just mauled people when we were closing the game out. The entire Offensive line showed so much heart and just kept pushing deeper and deeper. Rowan Huggins balled out. Bradley Clarke was a monster, nailing people all day. Deniz Karagulle stepped up in the 4th quarter was critical in sealing the result. Conor Baron made major contributions before he got hurt. Martin Brown took some licks, stayed calm and got it done. The backup QBs Jake Barnes and Jacques Vitry were in the thick of it, supplying tons of information to Martin and I on the sideline. It was a 100% team effort!”.
Offensive Captian Ben Weeks, who wasn’t able to play, emphasised his pride in “the best offence in the division. We know what we can do and we showed it again. Time to focus on Portsmouth – they’ll be preparing, so we need to make sure we do even more”.
Rushing: Adam Adeniji (3)
Receiving: Rowan Huggins, Tom McQuillin
Defensive: Jordan Legge