Pythons Plunder the Pirates

The Pythons were up early for their first away game this side of Christmas, this time the battle was not just for the win, but for a season-deciding encounter and a shot at the National Playoffs. The UEA Pirates were the Pythons’ opponents and stood with the same 4-1 winning record for the season.
After a short delay, the game got underway with the Pirates receiving the ball first. The Pirates first drive stalled with some great pressure up front from the Pythons defence. The Pythons moved the ball nicely on the next drive with two connections between Joe Yarwood and Jonty Richardson.
However the drive stalled mid-field. Another Pirates 3 and out, gave the Pythons the ball back, however on that drive Joe Yarwood was intercepted by UEA’s #24. The Pythons defence held strong to hold the Pirates from scoring on a goal line defence, with the Pirates coming up short on 4 th and 4.
In the 2nd quarter the teams traded 3 and outs. On the next Pythons drive a little trickery produced results when RB Brendan Baker connected on a fake counter pass to WR Steve Kinnersely for a 55yard TD. XP good, 7-0 Pythons.
The rest of the half saw little in terms of offensive production as the defences put on very strong performances, with half time called as the Pirates reached mid-field.
UEA kicked off the second half, followed by the Pythons going three-and-out and another from UEA.
The next drive featured mostly passing, but ended again in a Jack Tavener punt , this time going for a touchback. UEA then managed to get the ball to their own 43 before turning over on downs, again with great pressure from the Pythons up front.
A great mix of run and pass sums up the Pythons next drive. A 10 yard pass from Yarwood to Kinnersley, and another 8 yard to Kinnersley. Conor ‘Moose’ Rooney carried the ball 4 yards up the middle, putting the Pythons on the Pirates 3yd line. A Yarwood pass was batted up in the air by Pirates #90, and very nearly intercepted if not for a crushing block to move the linemen off the ball.
A feature all day, Yarwood found Kinnersely in the back corner of the endzone for the 10yd touchdown. The XP snap left much to be desired and saw Yarwood connect to Seb Funk for the 2pt conversion, 15-0 Pythons.
The next drive saw UEA moving the ball at will, but ended when #12 had a pass batted by Nathan Grundy into the arms of Shawn O’Donnell for the interception – reminiscent of past glories when he intercepted NFL QB Carson Palmer in high school. However three plays later the Pythons returned the favour when Yarwood threw a pick to #24. UEA started at the Pythons 14 yard line…and scored with their fourth play #42 Chris Carson rumbling in. Their 2pt try is no good, leaving a 15-6 deficit.
Pythons go three-and-out. UEA, after the punt, start at their own 15. Chris Carson now proved to be the difference-maker in the game, moving the ball down field to the Pythons 25. With two minutes left in the game and not wanting to make it an easy watch for Pythons spectators: UEA #12 slips a potential sack on 4th down and completes a pass to #89, touchdown. 2pt try is no good. 15-12 UEA attempt an onside kick (which might give them an opportunity for a game-winning drive), but Shawn O’Donnell recovered it. A 10 yard run by Brendan Baker puts the Pythons in a good place to eat the clock, but a holding call gives the Pythons a difficult 1st and 20. With three runs making good yards but not enough for the first down the Pythons faced fourth down at our own 45 with 26 seconds remaining on the clock.
Tavener punted out of bounds to leave 21 seconds left with UEA forced to start on their own 32 and the defence needing to make every play count to hold on for victory: #12 incomplete pass, defended by Baker. 13 seconds left. #12 pass to #89, tackle by Nathan Grundy. #12 incomplete pass. 2 seconds left. #12 throws an interception to Baker. GAME OVER, Pythons Win 15-12.
The Pythons now stand at 5-1 with the very real possibility of fighting it out for a National title in the coming weeks. However, the focus remains on the next game away against Westminster (