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PA Farnham Knights
(c) PA Farnham Knights

News

23.08.2005 Farnham Knights

Knights defend Conference title


Southern Sundevils 0 - 28 Personal Assurance Knights

The Knights secured their second consecutive BAFL Div 1 Southern Conference
Championship with an all round team performance that delivered an impressive victory over the Sundevils.

King follows his blockers
(c) PA Knights
King follows his blockers
(c)PA Knights


The Knights went into the game carrying some injuries and without four of
their regular starting defensive players, also missing was 1,000yd rushing
star Kingsley Ejiogu. The Knights however have a strong squad and a very
positive team spirit that resulted in a very competant and confident
performance from the 2004 National Champions.

The two teams had played eachother the week before, a 14-6 home win for the
Knights, and the first quarter not surprisingly saw both teams testing
eachother out for adjustments and opportunities. The Knights put together
one long drive with strong runs from Paul Attia and Joe StLouis but a 3rd
down sack by the Sundevils Defense saw the Knights pushed back to the edge
of their Field Goal range and the resulting attempt fell just wide of the
target.

The Knights Defense was in dominating form and the Sundevils found it
difficult to move the ball although QB Eric Lewis did manage to convert a
couple of third down opprtunities with tenacious runs from behind centre.
The first quarter ended scorless 0-0.

The same pattern opened the second quarter - but the Knights offense was
about to explode into scoring action.

On their second possession of the period the Knights running game moved the
ball to the Sundevils 47yd line. Quarterback Ashley Heath dropped back and
hit Wide Receiver Tony Talbot in stride for a 47yd catch and run. Former
Aldershot AAC sprinter Talbot showing good speed to outpace the pursuing
Sundevils. The extra point attempt added additional excitement as an errant
snap saw kicker Steve Belcher scrambling with the ball - Belcher ran right
and found TE Dudley Graham in the corner of the endzone with a 2point
scoring pass - the Knights led 0-8.

The Knights defense provided the Offensive with another opportunity as
Marvin Jimerson intercepted QB Lewis to give the visitors possession at the
half way line. A quick pass to TE Graham saw the Knights into Sundevil
territory and then the running of , fit again, Paul Attia and StLouis saw
them score again. Attia finishing the drive with a 1yd run that opened his
BAFL points account. Steve Belcher kicked the extra point and the Knights
led 0-15.

The Sundevils went three plays and out and the Knights had another
opportunity to put points on the board. This time Heath hit Moses Tomas for
a 20yd gain that saw them threatening the Sundevils endzone. Gavin Hart took
the hand off and weaved his way 14yds to the endzone for the Knights third
touchdown of the period. The extra point attempt failed and the Knights led
0-21.

The Knights had the first possession of the third period but the Sundevil
Defense stepped up their game and the visitors suffered their first 3 and
out series. The Knights Defense continued to dominate and the pattern was
set for the next two possessions. Late in the quarter the Sundevils, on the
back of the running and passing of QB Lewis put together a good drive that
saw them threatening the Knights endzone. The visiting Defense led by Tony
Mackenzie and Ken Ross shut down the opportunity and on 4th down DE Stuart
Clackson forced Lewis to stay in the pocket - Strong Safety Neil Edwards
broke through the blocking and recorded a drive ending sack with a crunching
tackle on the Sundevil QB.

The Knights then went three plays and out for the second time - losing
yardage on one play - and found themselves punting from their own 10yd line.
Former London Monarch kicker Steve Belcher produced an enormous 70yd punt
that was downed at the Sundevil 20yd line. The Devils ran for two yards on
their first down and then QB Lewis looked to pass them out of trouble. The
Knights leading Wide Receiver Rodney Edgerton was spending a day on the
opposite side of the ball as a substitute defensive back - he used his
receiving skills to step in front of the pass and then returned it 22yds for
a Knights touchdown. Steve Belcher kicked the extra point and the Knights
led 0-28.

The fourth quarter saw more of the same. The Knights defense was unforgiving
with strong contributions from linebackers Will White and Jez McLees. Marvin
Jimerson made his second pick of the day and the Knights drove into Field
Goal range - unfortunately the attempt was again just wide and the score
remained 0-28. The Sundevils were forced to punt on their next possession
and with Attia now finding more room to run the Knights were driving
impressively - an unfortunate injury to one of the Sundevils Russian linemen
however was causing concern to the ambulance crew. They decided that they
had to leave the ground to transport the injured player to hospital and
after discussion between the two Head Coaches and the Head Referee it was
decided to shorten the time period of the fourth quarter by the remaining 4
minutes (as allowed by rule) and end the game.

The Knights were therefore confirmed as Southern Conference Champions with a
9-1 record. They now have a bye in the first round of the play offs and will
play at home on the 11th September in the National Championship Semi-Final
against either the Gateshead Senators or the Southern Sundevils.

Knights Head Coach Steve Rains said "We are delighted to have won the
Conference Championship for the second time. When we lost to the Olympians
in mid-season the doomsayers were quick to jump on the bandwagon and
criticise us - 6 straight wins since then, which included a victory over the
Olympians, has given the answer from this team. I am very proud of them and
this achievement, they have shown great spirit and determination. The work
today from the whole group was first class on both sides of the ball. Of
course that is the regular season over - now we face the challenge of
retaining our National Championship - we have three weeks to heal up and get
ready to play a tough semi-final, its sudden death from here on and there
are no easy games"

Defensive Co-ordinator Ian Ellis said "With four regular starters missing
most teams would be concerned. We have complete faith in our squad however
and I think it would have been difficult for anyone to have identified the
fact that we had people missing - the guys were tremendous today. The
Sundevils are a very good team and always play hard it was therefore
particularly pleasing to record the shut out which sends us into the play
offs in a very positive mood"

Offensive Assistant Paul Allison added " We will at some point have both
Kingsley and Paul Attia fit and together in the backfield which should
concern anyone who is due to play us - to add to their concerns I think Joe,
Gavin and Moses demonstrated the depth of our running threat today behind
the outstanding blocking of our OLine. Ashley and the receiving corps
showed, as we know they can, that our passing threat cannot be ignored and
the balance in our attack today was impressive"


STATS

Passing
A Heath 7 of 16 for 136yds 1TD


Receiving
T Talbot 2 for 53yds 1TD
M Tomas 2 for 40yds
D Graham 2 for 34yds
S Peck 1 for 9yds

Rushing
P Attia 15 for 76yds 1TD
J StLouis 7 for 23yds
G Hart 2 for 15yds 1TD
M Tomas 5 for 15yds
T Talbot 1 for -12yds

TOTALS

Knights
Passing 7 of 16 for 136yds 1TD
Rushing 30 att for 117yds 2TD
Total 46 plays for 253yds 3TD

Sundevils
Passing 5 of 17 for 43yds 3Int
Rushing 31 att for 92yds
Total 48 plays for 135yds

Defense (Knights highlights)
T Mackenzie 8 tackles
K Ross 8 tackles
M Jimerson 2 Int
R Edgerton 1 Int (22yds TD)
N Edwards 1 sack



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