Seniors day, the last regular season home match for the Clansmen, saw the team face off against Derby Braves. The first time the teams met this season Derby won 40-37 in a shootout, so the Clansmen were looking for revenge.
by Harry McArthur
Stirling Clansmen 48-14 Derby Braves
The game started off frantically as the Clansmen took a 12-8 lead by the end of the first quarter. A three and out from the Stirling defence got the offense the ball in good field position and the offense took advantage. After some nice runs from running back Campbell the team was set up in good field position, on the Derby 6 yard line. The team then went for a QB draw play which saw Alex Crowe break a tackle and score the first touchdown of the game. The resulting PAT went just left of the posts giving Stirling an early 6-0 lead.
The Braves fired back quickly however. When facing a fourth down at midfield they ran a screen play which resulted in a touchdown from the Stirling 45 yard line. They opted to go for two points and converted which gave them a slender two point lead. On the kick off the Braves went for a short kick which was collected by senior Oti George-Ikoli who trucked over an oncoming blocker.
This was all the momentum the offense needed and on their second drive scored their second touchdown. This time senior Felix Klein came up with the score, Crowe threw it up the seam from the 10 yard line and Klein came up with the catch. A failed two point conversion led to the score being 12-8 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was predominantly all about defense. A fantastic read from the Clan President Masayila saw him record his first career interception for the team, a great way to mark his senior day. From this interception the Clansmen compiled their third touchdown drive of the match. After a fantastic, long gain on a pass to Lightbody the Stirling offense was set up on first in goal. On second and goal, from the 7 yard line, Lightbody became the second senior of the day to record a touchdown, after effectively running a jet sweep into the endzone. The point after was blocked however the kickholder, Garcia, managed to recover the blocked ball and run it in for two points giving the team a 20-8 lead.
Stirling never looked back and after a quick three and out from the defense, the offense scored another touchdown. This touchdown was scored by Nathaniel Prince after Crowe threw it to the back corner of the endzone and Prince beat the defender to the ball and managed to keep his feet in bounds. The score at halftime was 27-8 to the Clansmen.
The Clansmen came out the second half as hot as they had entered it, and by the fourth quarter had racked up a 41-8 lead. The first of the two touchdowns was scored by tight end Garcia, his first receiving touchdown for the Clansmen. The second was scored by Thomas Campbell, who powered the ball in the endzone on a run from 10 yards out.
The defense were also playing at the top of their game, getting multiple sacks on the Derby QB and also recovering two fumbles, both of which were recovered by D-Lineman Conner Rimington.
The final score for Stirling was punched in by running back Emmanuel Bawa, who steamrollered his way into the endzone from the 13 yard line. The PAT was good meaning Stirling had a whopping 48-8 lead over Derby.
More good play on both sides of the ball saw Stirling set up on the Derby 5 yard line. However a running play was fumbled, recovered by a Derby lineman and ran 85 yards for a Derby touchdown, the first second half touchdown the Clansmen have conceded for over three matches.
The game then finished 48-12 in favour of the Clansmen, an excellent way to mark the last regular season home game for Arnold Masayila, Gareth McColl, Felix Klein, Oti George-Ikoli and Osian Edwards Muthu, all of whom won two national titles whilst playing for the team.
The MVP of the game went to Alex Crowe, who threw three touchdowns and even rushed in for one himself. The defence was solid all around, some terrific pressure from the line and excellent coverage from the secondary.
Next up for the Clan is an away trip to the Loughborough Students, a match that is vital if the team wants to keep up the chase for the number one seed in the Premier North Division.