Division 2 Finals – 09/03/2019 @Staffordshire
On Saturday for the second time in only our second season we found ourselves in the divisional playoffs.
We arrived in a buoyant mood, ready and willing to do battle for the first time against the Teesside Steelers, a team that we had not faced before.
The game started well with our offence moving the ball effectively but we were unable to ‘punch it in’ and turned the ball over on downs to the Steelers. Early jitters were to cause Teesside to fumble the ball but their subsequent recovery created a broken play leading to their first touchdown of the day. A back and forth defensive battle then ensued ending with Teesside scoring another touchdown and going into half time leading 14-0.
Needing a win to be able to play in the next game for first or second place our defence (led by some great pressure by our D-line) ‘stepped up’ and prevented the Steelers from scoring in the second half. Unfortunately the Steelers ‘D’ also held their ground and we were to end the game scoreless with Teesside progressing to the Finals with a 14-0 score.
Disappointed not to be playing in the finals we prepared to play for 3rd or 4th place against the Cheshire Bears, another team that we had never played before.
After a great start (stopping the Bears on their initial drive) we promptly drove downfield and scored to take the lead 7-0. Unfortunately, that seemed to awaken the sleeping Bear and on the very next play they answered with a score of their own via an impressive run. Some uncharacteristic mental errors by our defence then followed allowing Cheshire to score on multiple drives and we were to go into half time losing 22-7.
Down by a couple of scores we knew that we had our work cut out for ourselves but the ‘never say die’ attitude of the team was to keep us in with a chance (however slim) right up to the end.
Both teams were to score twice more with highlights being some great pocket passing by Dora ‘Dory’ Bogdan (including a touchdown pass completed as she was sent crashing to the floor), some determined running and timely receptions by Sarah ‘Millsy’ Miller (who scored all 4 of our TD’s!), crunching tackles by Clare Lewis and Kirsty McIntyre and a fumble recovery by Michelle Wilson (which put us in excellent field position). However it was not to be and Cheshire finished the game with the ball and the score in their favour 36-25
Our playoff MVP was awarded to Dory for her leadership, her command of the offence and her clutch passes in difficult situation.
Our overall Sapphire Series 2018/19 MVP was awarded to Millsy for her Touchdown tally (13), her reliability and relentlessness in every situation she was put in on both sides of the ball including playing WR, RB, QB, LB DB, and DL.
The results may not have been what we had hoped and we may not have won the championship, but each and every one of our team has played like the champions they really are.
They have made their coaches unbelievably proud of what they have achieved and shown us the potential that they have for next season.