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Exiles Youth Defeat Cats

Kent Exiles Youth 18-6 Cambridgeshire Cats Youth

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The Kent Exiles Youth moved to 2-1-1 and into second place in the East Division last Sunday, coming from behind to record an 18-6 victory. Breaking a 6-6 tie at the half, the Exiles put in a strong second-half performance on both sides of the ball to move past the Cats and keep pressure on the division leading Colchester Gladiators.


But it was the Cats who made the better start to the game. Coming out in a wishbone offense, they drove down the field behind a strong rushing attack on their first series, with their RB #21 scoring on a sweep. A missed conversion left the Exiles trailing 6-0. Kent’s offense showed its ability almost straight away however, and drove downfield with passes from QB James Cunningham to Dan Reeves and TE James Bertram-Smith. Running back Tobi Ita showed impressive running skills on the drive, and cut back on a sweep for a 25 yard gain, being dragged down at the 1 yard line by a Cats defender. From there Chas Mulvihill barrelled over to tie the game. Zac Hill’s PAT was blocked to leave the score 6-6.

The remainder of the first half saw the Exiles defense get to grips with the Cats offense, with Abdul Habib making several impressive stops, and Kent began to gain an edge in the field position battle. Kent had chances to take the lead after recovering a Cats fumble in their opponents’ red zone, and also put together a couple of impressive drives, but on each occasion failed to punch the ball in for the score. The Cats came close to breaking the deadlock in the waning moments of the first half, completing a long pass down the right sideline, but Luke Abbey made a touchdown-saving tackle to keep the score level.

The second half began with Matt Simms returning the kickoff to midfield, but after another drive into Cats territory the Exiles were again forced to punt. The Exiles defense continued to pressure the Cats quarterback, with good pass rush from Lee Robbins and Jamie Prentis and were constantly giving the offense good field position. Midway through the third period, a fumble recovery by Daniel Owootomo set Kent up again in the Cats half, from where the offense went to work. This time Mulvihill, behind the blocking of FB Hill found running room outside, and cut back for a 30 yard touchdown. The extra point was blocked, but the Exiles had gained valuable momentum.

Kent now showed more confidence, and forced the Cats to go three-and-out with Ben Fortune making the stop on third down. Following a good punt return by Simms, the Exiles faced a long third down themselves. Quarterback Cunningham dropped back and threw deep for Tom Moore, and the speedy receiver came down with the ball in double coverage. Mulvihill pounded out more yardage on the ground to take the Exiles to the Cambridge 10 yard line, from where Cunningham hit Moore in the corner of the endzone for the clinching score.

Cambridge never gave up, and again looked dangerous, but the Kent defense held firm. The Cats’ last chance to get back into the game came as Kent tried to run out the clock on offense. Cambridge’s DE #55 made a key play to tip and intercept a Cunningham pass, and had daylight to the Kent endzone. Great hustle from Folahanmi Dare saw him chase the Cats defender 50 yards where he made the tackle, but at the same time the Cat defender was able to lateral to a team mate. James Bertram-Smith, also trailing the play managed to make another tackle, and the wild play ended with the ball coming loose and being recovered by Dare inside the Kent 10. From there, the Exiles successfully ran out the clock to take an impressive victory.

Coach Samartin was proud of the team after the win. “This was an impressive all-round performance, the guys really stepped up their game when it was most needed in the 3rd quarter. Hopefully we can build on this momentum, and continue our improvement so we are playing our best football at the most important time of the season.”

The Exiles Youth face the Peterborough Saxons in their next game on the 10th July, and will look to stay in contention for a playoff berth.


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