Game 3 – vs. Pirates at St. George

The UTS Gators knew that this week’s matchup against the undefeated West Sydney Pirates would prove to be a monster challenge and one that could solidify their place at the top of the ladder. “We win tonight and every team will be chasing us the rest of the season.” – Coach Rocco Bosco broke down the importance of the game to his players prior to kickoff.

The Pirates, coming off of their historic Round 2 victory over the Sydney University Lions, ending an 8 year, 99 game win-streak, looked to continue their own streak as the league leaders. The Pirates, however, ran into a stone wall as The Gators showed they are the cream of the crop, defeating West Sydney 13-6 in a game that lived up to expectations as a physical, high-intensity, close-fought contest.

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UTS defense stops West Sydney on 4th down

West Sydney took the ball on their own 22 yard line following the opening kickoff from UTS and put together an impressive 11 play, 56 yard drive deep into UTS territory but were eventually stopped by the Gators tenacious defense on a 4th and 9 conversion attempt at the Gators 25 yard line.

Very few yards were gained by either team as the game became a very tough defensive struggle until West Sydney broke a screen pass open late in the first quarter for a 54 yard touchdown despite a fantastic effort by Andre Perko-Marshall, chasing the runner from the opposite sideline and bringing him down one yard into the endzone. The ensuing point-after kick was blocked by UTS defensive end Hugh Delaney and recovered by linebacker Andrew Asher, leaving the score 0-6.

Both defenses continued to hold tough and force four-and-outs. Midway through the second quarter, it was UTS’ turn to break a big play as quarterback Brad Leech found wide receiver Thomas Granger down the sideline for an 85 yard touchdown bomb, leveling the score at 6-6.

Nearing half-time, Leech and Granger teamed up again, this time to pin the Pirates deep in their own territory as Leech’s quick kick on 4th down was downed by Granger on the West Sydney 2 yard line. West Sydney, despite the very poor field position began marching the ball out with several first downs until a sack by defensive end Tim Clulow stalled the drive and sent both teams into half-time locked at 6-6.

On the Pirates’ first play from scrimmage in the second half, West Sydney’s running back suffered a devastating ankle injury and the resulting 1 hour and 45 minute ambulance delay left both teams struggling to stay warm and focused. Once play resumed, the game retained its hard-nosed feel with both defenses keeping the opposing offenses to very few positive yards.

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Rookie Defensive Tackle Ryan King

Most of the second half was played in the West Sydney end of the field but UTS was unable to capitalize offensively on the good field position. With about 3 minutes remaining, UTS once again pinned West Sydney deep in their own territory after downing a punt on the Pirates 14 yard line. West Sydney called a pass play and UTS linebacker, Marcos Delana put a brutal hit on the Pirates quarterback, David Ward, in the back-field, jarring the football loose for a sack. Rookie defensive tackle, Ryan King pounced on the ball in the endzone for the go-ahead touchdown. Following Jamie Weeks’ successful point-after kick, UTS led West Sydney 13-6 nearing the 2-minute warning.

West Sydney’s next possession saw them move down the field with a long pass completion followed by a 14 yard touchdown run that was called back for a face-masking penalty. This put West Sydney at 1st and 25 on the UTS 29 yard line. A sack for a loss of 4 yards by defensive end Tim Clulow and stifling tackling by the rest of the UTS front seven forced the Pirates to turn the ball over on downs and give the ball back to our offense on the 26 yard line.

UTS moved the ball to midfield on the back of Marco Soriano before punting to the Pirates with less than a minute remaining. West Sydney took to the air in a last-ditch effort to tie the game. After 2 completions for first downs, time ran out leaving UTS to celebrate their victory and stamp their claim to the top spot in the league standings along with the Sutherland Seahawks and Northwestern Predators as the only other undefeated teams.

Statistical Leaders (Game)

Passing:
Player Comp/Att Yards TD
Brad Leech 8/28 108 1 (85)
Rushing:
Player Rushes Yards TD (yards)
Marco Soriano 14 67
Justin Fatu-Leota 3 20
Receiving:
Player Receptions Yards TD (yards)
Thomas Granger 2 87 1 (85)
Clayton Idato 4 16
Defense:
Player Tackles (For Loss) Other
Marcos Delana 10 (3) 1 Sack, 1 Forced Fumble
Jamie McGrory 8 (1)
Andrew Asher 8 (1) 1 Sack, 1 Fumble Recovery
Tim Clulow 7 (2) 3 Sacks, 1 Fumble Recovery
Gabriel Marambio 7 (1)
Ryan King 3 (1) 2 Fumbles Recovered, 1 for TD
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