Edinburgh Wolves @ Tamworth Phoenix
The Wolves squad took to the road for the daunting task of taking on the defending National Champions with a depleted squad and a long journey ahead, the bleary eyed players bundled themselves into the bus on Sunday morning to take the near 300 mile trip to Coleshill Town Football Club.
The squad for the game has been hit by injuries and absences to key position players. Notably WR Lloyd Dignan taking a deserved break to be with his wife and newborn baby, Jenson.
First things first, It. Was. Hot.
The Tamworth offense started out well chipping away in the first few downs with short gains, RB Elliott Walters proving difficult to takedown and converting a 3rd and short situation, a holding call on the next play pushed the Phoenix back to near half way and gave the Wolves cause for optimism but it didn’t last long. QB Pat Daley snuck away from Wolves LB Ross Young, aided by a handy block, and a busted coverage on the following play allowed the Phoenix into the red zone. The Wolves D defended valiantly but ultimately couldn’t stop the human joystick Elliot Walters from gliding his way to 6 points. Unfortunately things got quickly out of hand for the Wolves as Walters added another, Daley threw a 30 yard pass to WR Ben Burslem and RB Marc Bonazebi powered home from the 1 yard line. Injuries to Wolves stalwarts Stuart Galloway (knee) and Steve MacDonald (ankle) straining an already depleted squad.
The Wolves, 27-0 down, put a good series together which took them into the 2nd quarter but narrowly missed out on a 4th down conversion putting the ball back in Daley’s hands at the 30 yard line, the Wolves were swiftly punished with a power run game followed by an outrageous deep catch by WR Jack Verling which set up another Walters touchdown following a pitch from Daley.
The Phoenix quality continued to shine with a strong run game as well as Daley causing havoc both with his feet and arm, this time throwing pin point to Burslem for his second score. Burslem would finish the day with 3 catches for 103 yards and 2 TD’s.
Additional scores by Bonazebi and Walters preceded a great Wolves offensive drive with Morrison using all the tools at his disposal, Steve Wilson’s determined runs picked up early down yardage, a Witten-esque Y option to TE Liam Brown opened the Phoenix D and WR Adam Ingram hauled in a couple of clutch passes under serious pressure, the points finally came when Morrison, whose line afforded him great protection, looked to his favourite touchdown target George Fell who collected a beautiful 30 yard pass over the head of the defender. The Wolves went for 2 but Ingram was denied in the corner by some determined coverage.
With a new sense of confidence and a determination to finish strong the Wolves D chipped in with a glorious one handed pick by safety Ryan Doherty setting the offense up to go again, a steady march down the field had the Phoenix backpedaling with Morrison again targeting Brown, Callan, Ingram and Harrison in a bid to get more points on the board but it wasn’t to be, a big hand from DL Piotr Wrzosek tipped Morrisons pass up in the air with seconds on the clock and the game was over when the big man was brought crashing to the ground by C Ali Ritchie.
The eventual final result was a 55-6 defeat.
Although the scoreline was rather one sided, there was a lot to be proud of on the red side of the ball and players and coaches will take a lot from the experience of playing the British Champions in the most adverse of situations.
The Wolves would like to offer a special mention to womens team player Rachael Moody who was brought in late and played the whole game on Sunday after having played three games in the Diamond series on Saturday, she is a great example of the hard work and determination that the organisation stands for.
This week sees the Wolves take on local rivals East Kilbride Pirates in the return fixture of THAT 28-27 comeback win earlier in the season, the Pirate will be looking for an upset and the Wolves to consolidate their crown as the best in Scotland, its not to be missed!
Sunday 10th June
Under 16’s Free