Game 8 – UTS vs Sharks at 5 Sports

Week nine of the Gridiron NSW competition brought the UTS Gators up against the spirited Central Coast Sharks in the first of two scheduled matchups between these two clubs this season. The Sharks have struggled this season with low player counts and injuries but their 1-5 record heading into this game does not accurately reflect the team’s heart and determination. Coach Bosco gave his players a stern warning during their week of preparation, “This game will definitely not be a cake-walk. The Sharks head coach has engineered some amazing upsets in the past, so you better switch on and play hard.”

The connection between the two head coaches goes well beyond mutual respect. The Sharks head coach, Peter Tos Sr., is Coach Bosco’s father-in-law and former team-mate from their years coaching together with the Bondi Raiders and the family connection in this game doesn’t stop there. Coach Tos also has both of his sons as players in this game, UTS quarterback, Peter Tos Jr., who was unable to play due to a calf injury and Central Coast TE/LB Rhett Tos in his rookie season in Division 1. So, with family bragging rights on the line, both coaches came out with hard-nosed defensive schemes but in the end, UTS was just too strong for the Sharks, taking out the win 34-12, in a game of tough defense and big plays.

Thomas Granger

WR Thomas Granger looks for big yards

UTS received the opening kickoff and after a 19 yard return by wide receiver, Mitchell Warters, put their offense on the field at their own 28 yard line. After 2 plays for no gain, UTS quarterback, Brad Leech found wide receiver Thomas Granger down the sideline for a 62 yard touchdown and a 6-0 lead. It looked like the game was going to be a rout after the Gator defense stuffed the Sharks on their first possession but it in fact became a defensive game.

Both offenses struggled to find any consistency as each team’s defense held the upper hand over their offensive counterparts. Early in the 2nd quarter, Central Coast tied the game at 6-6 with an 85 yard pass completion from their own 1 yard line that set up a 4 yard touchdown run. The rest of the 2nd quarter was highlighted by turnovers, first an interception by UTS cornerback, Stephen Marshall followed by a Brad Leech fumble recovered by Central Coast who then fumbled three plays later on a solid hit by UTS slotback, Clayton Idato, pulling double duty this week as linebacker, and recovered by Stephen Marshall.

Jamie Weeks

CB Jamie Weeks takes it to the house

UTS punted on their next possession after gaining only 4 yards. With just 43 seconds remaining in the first half, Central Coast came out passing, trying desperately to gain the lead and go into halftime ahead of the league leaders but an aggressive break on the ball by cornerback, Jamie Weeks, ended in a 61 yard interception return for a touchdown that put UTS back in front 14-6 at halftime.

Midway through the 3rd quarter, the Gator offense finally managed to churn down the field for a 6 play, 48 yard scoring drive with a 17 yard pass completion from Leech to slotback Tom Newbold and solid running by Marco Soriano including a 4 yard touchdown run and a successful 2-point conversion run to stretch the UTS lead to 22-6.

Following yet another 4-and-out performance by the defense, The Gators’ next offensive drive looked good, as a 38 yard pass from Leech to wide receiver, Nicolas Giovanangeli and more solid running by Soriano, got the offense down to the Central Coast 2 yard line.  Looking for the endzone, Leech’s pass was intercepted and returned the length of the field for a Sharks touchdown and narrowed the Gator lead to 22-12 as the 4th quarter began.

Midway through the 4th quarter, UTS got their offensive mojo back for one more scoring drive, going 50 yards in 11 plays to effectively seal the victory with the score at 28-12 and only 4:20 left in the game.  As the game clock wound down to 1:03 remaining, Central Coast intercepted Leech again on their own 39 yard line and sent their offense onto the field for one last ditch effort to make the score a little more respectable. The Sharks took to the air but on 3rd down and 3 to go, their quarterback was sacked by defensive end, Tim Clulow, knocking the ball loose. The fumble was recovered by defensive tackle, Tristan Sugden, who returned it 41 yards for a touchdown as time expired, giving UTS a 34-12 victory.

Statistical Leaders (Game)

Passing:
Player Comp/Att Yards TD (Yards) 2-PT INT
Brad Leech 15/32 208 1 (62) 1 2
Rushing:
Player Rushes Yards TD (yards) 2-point
Marco Soriano 10 23 2 (4, 2) 1
Thomas Granger 2 22
Tommy Benson 17 15
Receiving:
Player Receptions Yards TD (yards) 2-PT
Thomas Granger 6 103 1 (62)
Nick Giovanangeli 1 38
Ben Loudon 4 36
Tom Newbold 1 17
Tushar Issar 2 8 1
Kick Return:
Player Returns Yards
Mitchell Warters 2 49
Jamie Weeks 2 41
Clayton Idato 1 13
Defense:
Player Tackles (For Loss) Other
Marcos Delana 10 (1) Sack
Gabriel Marambio 6
Clayton Idato 5 Forced Fumble
Tim Clulow 4 (4) Forced Fumble, 2 Sacks, Batted Pass
Ryan King 4 (1)
Matt Power 3 (3) 3 Sacks
Stephen Marshall 3 (1) INT, Fumble Recovery
Tristan Sugden 2 (1) Fumble Recovery returned 41 yards for TD
Daniel Nguyen 2
Hugh Delaney 1 (1) Sack
Jamie Weeks INT returned 61 yards for TD
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