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The Weather the Only Winner as Youth Washed Out by Devils

Norwich Devils 8-6 Kent Exiles


Exiles play of the game, returned for the TD
Exiles play of the game, returned for the TD

After a loss at home to the Devils the previous week, the Kent Exiles Youth traveled to Norwich hoping to avenge their defeat. On the day, however, the weather was to prove both teams biggest opponent, forcing turnovers and turning the game into a hard fought battle for field position that Norwich were to win by the narrowest of margins.

The first half proved a lively affair, with both sides’ defenses continuing their strong performance from the previous week. The Exiles linebacking corps of Liam Morris, Joe Alexis and Luke Spencer again began the game in good swarming style, and their usual combination of smart reads and gang tackling gave the Devils ground game little leeway. The Devils passing game fared better, however, and took them down into the red zone twice. Two fierce goalline stands led by standout Exiles cornerback Tom Taylor kept the home side out of the endzone and twice they were forced to settle for a field goal, giving them an early 6-0 lead.

On the other side of the ball the Exiles offence was much improved, and led by the fierce blocking of Offensive MVP Eddie Boxell, RB Tom Shillabeer began to pick up chunks of yardage. By the second quarter QB Oli Gould and his receivers were asserting their passing game, picking up first downs through the air to Luke Grundy, Marc Brazzill and Nick Cullen. Twice in the second quarter the Exiles drove the length of the field, but both red zone trips were fruitless, with the wet conditions frustrating a field goal attempt and a seeming touchdown called back on a holding penalty.

The second half ended with the Exiles knocking on the door in confident style. By the start of the third quarter, however, the conditions had become even worse, and both offences struggled to cope. Turnovers became common, with fumbles on both sides and that man Taylor snaring an interception. The conditions rapidly eroded both sides’ ability to pass, and Exiles CB Marc Mulgrave was also to benefit as another out of control Devils pass turned into an interception which he ran back for a score. Score tied at 6-6, the rain again prevented the Exiles special teams unit from completing the PAT, and the fourth quarter began with neither side looking able to break the deadlock.

The Exiles punt unit, led by special teams MVP Alex Miller, had an outstanding day, pinning the Devils back in their own half time and time again. Ultimately, however, the Exiles would lose the field position battle as the offense gave up a safety trying to drive out of their own endzone. Despite sustained drives and solid play in all three phases, the Exiles were unable to beat the terrible conditions and the Devils’ strong front eight could dominate, secure in the knowledge that the Exiles passing game was unable to function in the downpour. The two point gap proved to be enough for the Devils as the game ran out a defensive stalemate.

Exiles Head Coach David Pester was disappointed but upbeat: “Obviously we feel disappointed by the result but we’ve had some great performances today. Our Defence has had two dominant games and our special teams are performing at a fantastic level. The offense executed well today until the weather kicked in, and our weapons both on the ground and in the air have started to make themselves known” Full details of the Exiles next games can be found on their website

Offense: Eddie Boxell, Running Back
Defence: Tom Taylor, Cornerback
Special Teams: Alex Miller, Offensive Line


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