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Exiles juniors outlast rain, Renegades

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The Kent Exiles Junior team looked to improve to 2-0 for the first time in 3 seasons on the road against the South London Renegades.  The Exiles came in to the game confident after the week 1 performance against East Kent, but in rainy conditions, there were always going to be extra challenges to overcome.

Kent kicked off to start the game, and the defense immediately picked up where it left off against East Kent.  DTs Kofi Hypolite and Bobby White started strong again, and Kent forced an early three and out.  But Kent's first series saw the offense start slowly in the wet conditions, slowing down their shotgun-based attack.  Neither side was able to string a drive together in the first period, with the Exiles slightly edging the field position battle.

The second quarter largely saw more of the same, and the Exiles defense continued its good form.  Danny Whitfield made his first start at outside linebacker and provided excellent contain and several solo tackles.  The offense moved the ball a little better, but were still unable to sustain a long drive, and the half ended with neither side close to breaking the deadlock.

Kent fielded the second half kickoff and another drive stalled, but were again edging the crucial field position battle in a game that was looking like it might be decided by one score.  The punt team put in an excellent performance in the conditions, with Matt Langley long-snapping accurately, aggressive chase from the coverage team and punter Bobby White consistently making the Renegades start deep in their own territory.  White hit 5 punts for 150 yards, dropping two of them inside the 20 and saw only 1 returned.  South London looked to the air for most of the third quarter, but despite some success, Matt Murphy was a relentless force at defensive end, recording 3.5 tackles and a sack, with Josh Audsley-Smith providing pressure from the other side.  A South London punt saw Kent take over at their own 20 with the third quarter winding down.

With the weather improving, Kent set up their next drive, but a fumbled exchange in the backfield saw the Renegades recover the ball in prime scoring position.  Kent were on the back foot and needed a response – and a huge momentum swing came on the very next play. The Renegades QB looked downfield, but free safety Digby Holland made a great play to jump the route and intercept at the goal line, returning 21 yards to snuff out the scoring threat and give the Exiles the ball back.

With the Renegades forced to punt early in the 4th quarter, Kent took over inside their opponent's 30.  Carries from QB Orphanau and RB Daniel Wusu moved the chains and the Exiles made a first down inside the 5 – from there, Wusu took the handoff over the right side and finally broke the deadlock with the touchdown.  Orphanau kept the ball himself for the 2 point attempt, and the Exiles had a crucial 8-0 lead.

The Renegades had something left in the tank, with their tailback #44 making good gains on the ground, and South London threatened the Kent goalline.  But tackles from Joe Mulvihill and Evan Adesanya preserved the win, and Kent were able to run out the clock.

Coach Samartin was proud of the team after the win.  “It was ugly in parts, but our guys showed great mental toughness and never gave up.  Coming away with the win, which could easily have been a tie or a loss may well be big later on in the year.”

“We need a little more confidence and consistency on offense, but I know the guys are capable of great things.  Having a shutout on defense and our special teams play were both huge today, and were really the difference in the game.”

Box Score

  1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Exiles 0 0 0 8
Renegades 0 0 0 0

Selected Game Stats

Total Yards
Exiles  99 (93 rush, 6 pass)
Renegades 54 (37 rush, 17 pass)

Orphanau 2-6, 6 yards

Wusu 9-52, long 9, 1 TD
Whitfield 4-20, long 5

Adesanya 6 tackles
Agbaje 6 tackles
White 5 tackles, 1 sack
Mulvihill 4.5 tackles
Leslie 5 tackles
Holland 2 tackles, 1 interception, 21 yards



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