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Missed opportunities deny first victory

Kent Exiles Youth 0-0 Essex Spartans Youth


Missed opportunities were to come back and haunt the Exiles youth team, as they left the Essex Spartans home field still yet to put a dent in the ‘W’ column on the season. A 0-0 deadlock was the final score and a frustrating result on a day when the Exiles defense put in another impressive performance, but despite improvements, the offense were unable to muster a score.


The Spartans received the opening kick-off, but soon were forced to punt the ball to Kent, after cornerback Marc Mulgrave made a great effort in run support to chop down the Spartans ball carrier on a 3rd down play. Exiles QB Oli Gould came close to opening the scoring with a couple of bombs to receivers Marc Brazzill and Charlie Bailey, but on both occasions was off target by a small margin. A couple of possessions later Kent had driven into field goal range, but on 4th down the Spartans were able to burst through the line and block Tom Taylor’s attempt.

Entering the second quarter, Kent were starting to find some more offensive rhythm. Tailback Tom Shillabeer displayed some great power running on the way to a season-high 67 yards, setting up Kent in scoring position again. Inside the Essex 10, QB Gould faked to Shillabeer and kept it himself on the bootleg, taking it in for an apparent touchdown. However Kent’s joy was short-lived, as for the second consecutive game the score was wiped out on a holding penalty, and Kent came away empty when Taylor hooked a 4th down field goal attempt.

Kent continued their defensive dominance in the 3rd period, led by Luke Spencer (5 tackles, 1 assist, and 1 forced fumble) and Liam Morris (5 tackles, 1 assist) on a day when the Spartans were held to 42 total yards and only 2 first downs. Kent strung another decent drive together with completions of 22 yards to Bailey and 8 to Nick Cullen, but again stalled in Essex territory.

Into the 4th quarter and Essex looked to burn the clock with their running game. Kent were left with one last chance to win it in the last 3 minutes and the running of Shillabeer and Gould took Kent down inside the Essex redzone. From there Gould took shots at the endzone that came within a whisker, as Bailey and Taylor came close to pulling in passes. It was left to a last minute field goal attempt to try and steal the victory for the Exiles, but Taylor was wide left from 27 yards on a day when it was simply not meant to be for the Exiles.

Special Teams coach Stewart Muir commented “Obviously this was a frustrating result, to come away with a tie when we had clearly had the better of the game. We have to show more killer instinct. However, this team is by no means out of the playoff hunt, and we must simply learn from this game, pick ourselves up and get ready to play our best football against the Warriors in two weeks”.

Game Most Valuable Players:

Offense – Tom Shillabeer, Running Back
Defense - Liam Morris, Defensive Line
Special Teams - Gary Stewart, Defensive Back


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