Devils 6 – 30 Bobcats
Game 9 in the Bournemouth Bobcats season, found the Bobcats featuring in their first ever play-off game since reforming 10 years ago. Finishing in at the number 5 seed the Bobcats took the long travel to the number 4 seed the Norwich Devils. Both sides having never faced each other before neither team knew what to expect of each other.
The Bobcats started with the ball, a drive that started with a few nerves soon settled after QB #1 Macdonald found WR #8 Mancera for a big 25 yard gain. The drive continued methodically towards the Devils end zone backed by some strong runs from RB #26 Baker and well taken receptions via the hands of Mancera.
The Bobcats inched closer to the Devils end zone but were unable to find the play to make their way in. Having to settle for a field goal WR/K #15 Bundy stepped up and put a 14 yard kick straight through the upright to have the Bobcats up 0-3 early in the game.
The Devils starting with the ball on their 25 yard line opted for a long bomb over the top to their top receiver. S #20 Chandler broke up the play with some excellent coverage. The Bobcats defence kept up the high intensity forcing the QB out of the pocket and breaking up the long passes. The Devils opted to punt but rather than kick the ball the punter took off and took the punt return team by surprise gaining a first down reviving the Devils chances.
The Devils this time opted to go to the run game but were thwarted by the Bobcats defensive line. Again 3 and out the Devils to punt again, they again tried the fake punt and run. Only to be met by the oncoming steam train that is LB #9 Isaacs who smashed the punter and put a stop to the trick play!
The Bobcats came out on offence but only managed a very short drive, a throw by Madonald intercepted by a waiting Devils LB who returned the ball for only a short gain. The Devils back on the ball, the Bobcats defence continuing to swarm to the ball well forced the Devils into yet another 3 and out. The punter opting to actually punt this time gave S #24 Burn the chance at a decent 15 yard return.
The Bobcats looking to get the first touchdown of the game set off with some good running via Baker and RB #13 Barnes. After acquiring a 1st down the Bobcats decided to attack the Devils secondary and a 25 yard pass from Macdonald to WR #10 Edwards gave the Bobcats their first touchdown of the game. The extra point good from Bundy the score 0-10 to the Bobcats.
The Devils receiving the kick off and a team that love a bit of tricky decided to reverse the ball on the ensuing kick off. Only fooling one player (Myself….) the rest of the Bobcat kick off team were wise to it stopping the runner on about the 35 yard line.
This next Devils possession short lived the Bobcats defence forcing a 3 and out after a few failed short passes. The Bobcats started this drive with a big pass in triple coverage to WR #89 Griffith, the drive continued to go well as the Bobcats moved down the field behind some impressive running by Baker.
Unable to get their way into the end zone after a few big run stops by the Devils defence, the Bobcats opted for a short field goal. Unfortunately the kick from Bundy was wide right and the Bobcats ended the drive with no points.
Norwich continued to fight hard for yards on offence and put together a good drive via a series of well executed screen plays. Making it past the Bobcats half way line but ultimately being held by the Bobcats on a 3rd down due to some excellent pass coverage from DB’s #94 Badcock and #17 Dimuna.
The Bobcat offence with the ball back and hungry to get on the score board again set off with a quickened pace. Some big runs from RB #31 Covi using his pace to break out for a few first downs. After a great few runs Covi had to leave the game due to a season ending shoulder injury. The Bobcats unable to get down the field in time as the clock ran out on the first half.
HT 0-10 to the Bobcats
The Devils got off to a good start for the second half. Their offence started to find a rhythm behind some large runs by their number 33. Marching down the field towards the Bobcats end zone looking likely to score. Up popped S #24 Burn who stripped the ball out of the ball carriers hand and recovering the fumble himself, getting the ball back for the offence.
The offence started fast with a few quick strikes to Mancera for a pair of well worked receptions. Then followed up with the 1-2 punch of hard running from Baker and Isaacs. A massive 26 yard sweeping run by Isaacs which was called short of the goal line by the official set up the next Bobcats touchdown. On the 1 yard line the Bobcats rammed the ball home via the heavy work of Macdonald, the PAT blocked the score early in the 3rd quarter 0-16.
The defence on the field keeping up the high intensity intent to not allow the Devils a sniff of the momentum. When a muffed hand off between QB and RB gifted the Bobcats with the ball, a defensive line man managing to recover the ball (Sorry can’t remember who it was but good hustle man!!!)
The Bobcats looking to put the game further out of the Devils reach capitalised on the short field. A few big runs from Baker skipping tackles reversing field and running over Devils defenders found him stopped just shy of the Devils end zone. Opting to smash the ball home again, Macdonald plowed his way through the Devils defensive line for another 1 yard touchdown run, the PAT good the score 0-23.
The Bobcats defence continued to cause the Devils issues and stopped the offences chances with another 3 and out. The Bobcats didn’t fair so well on this drive only managing the one 1st down but ultimately falling short on a long 3rd down run. On the punt a poor snap to punter #61 Tarr found him receiving a hard hit just before getting the ball off resulting in a short kick and not much field for the Devils to work with.
Norwich looking to take advantage of starting at the half way line tried to get a good drive going. Struggling to find yards both in the air and on the ground, they were faced with a big 3rd down. Where they were given a stroke of luck from a questionable pass interference call giving them 15 yards and a 1st down.
In the red zone and staring at the Bobcats end zone the Devils crept closer off the back of a strong run on 1st down. An excellent stop by LB #54 Cameron on the goal line up ending the large Devils running back.
When the drive of controversy continued, an athletic effort by the Devils QB found him scrambling out towards the right hand pylon. As he dived for the end zone with the ball extended in one hand the ball came loose just before hitting the pylon. One official gave touchdown all the others claim fumble……after a delay with some intense discussion the Devils were awarded the touchdown!
Unable to convert the 2-point conversion the score was now poised at 6-23. The Bobcats offence back with the ball looked to put the game out of reach, but were unable to find a 1st down on 3 short runs.
The punt to follow by Tarr fell short but a moment of madness from a Devils player who felt his inner Ronaldo take hold and he decided to control the bouncing ball with his foot. This caused a favourable bounce for Griffith and LB #12 Tanky to fall on the ball recovering it back for the offence.
The Bobcats given a free life now looked to run down the clock and put the game to bed. A long draining drive is what they produced off the feet of Baker and Isaacs the Bobcats marched down the field. Exceptional blocking from the offensive line and Barnes cleared craters for the pair of runners to run through. Unfortunately the Bobcats were unable to finish the drive opting to go for it on a 4th down and coming up short of the end zone!
Devils camped deep in their own half struck out yet another 3 and out due to some hard hitting from the Bobcats defence. When utility man Burn returned the punt a whooping 45 yards only to be tackled by the very last Devil on about the 9 yard line.
The Bobcat offence this time not wanting to waste such a great opportunity got to action fast. With a quick pass from Macdonald to WR #10 Edwards who capped a solid performance with a touchdown. The PAT from Bundy good the score now 6-30 to the visitors.
Credit to the Devils the game deep into the 4th quarter but they never gave up continuing to run hard on offence. Ultimately the game was put to bed off the back of a Bobcats interception off a long Devils pass.
The Bobcats assumed victory formation and took a knee, jubilation from the Bobcats sideline after a confident victory and they turned their attention to the Semi Finals against the number one seed the unbeaten Essex Spartans!!
So your Roxy’s Bistro Bar MVP’s are:
Offensive MVP – RB Keith Barnes
Defensive MVP – S Robert Chandler
Photos credit to Chris Coope.