The Tornados youth team travelled to Chester to take on Chester Romans, Chorley Buccaneers and Pennine Panthers Enthusiasm on Saturday 19th July. Despite the glorious weather of the past week the forecast was for rain and possible storms – now the only kind of weather to stop an American football game is lightening so the teams were hoping the forecasters were wrong!
First game for the Tornados was against the well drilled Chorley Buccaneers team who had not yet lost a game all season. The Tornados, having only 7 players in attendance, were on the back foot throughout the game. Our stand in Quarterback Ellis Crump, in his first game for the Tornados, struggled to get the passes off to the receivers. The new players, George Wrathall and Tommie Bryan were unsure of some of the plays and time was spent in the huddle to try to get the game sorted. Despite the valiant running efforts of Anthony Tither and Ben Dyer the Tornados were unable to score and at half time were down 0-40. Coaches and staff decided that if our 7 players were to continue with the game into the second half they would have no energy to play the remaining games – the other teams had upwards of 12 players and were able to easily rotate them to give players a break. The second half started and Chorley scored again so the Tornados called it a day at 0-46 and had some time to refresh before the start of the second game.
The second game was against Chester Romans, and again, although a rather shaky start the team began to have faith and gelled together. Ellis made a perfect pass to George Wrathall in the endzone and Ben Dyer made the conversion meaning the Tornados were up by one, but just in the last minutes of the first half Chester scored to take it to 7-12. The coaches gave their half time team talk and geed the players up. With a change of tactic the Tornados started to flourish. Ben Dyer and Anthony Tither made nearly 100yards rushing a piece and scored 14 of the second half points – one being a safety by Ben. After halting the Romans down on their 3 yard line the Tornados were growing in confidence and Ellis threw a deep pass to Josh Bonnick who went 32 yards downfield to score. The final score for the game was in the Tornados favour at 35-18.
The third game for the day for the Tornados was against Pennine Panthers who were a very physical team. Zack Leigh, as centre, worked very hard in blocking players to give Ellis Crump more time with the ball. Zack also did well on defense by trying to get to the opposition quarterback and put him under pressure – this paid off a couple of times allowing the other Tornado players to pounce on the panthers and stop their plays. Tommie Bryan made an excellent running play up the centre of the field to gain a Tornado first down, which enabled George Wrathall to score from a good short pass from Ellis Crump and at the half Burnley were leading 6-0. The second half started much as the first but with a serious injury to one of the Panthers players they decided to call the game off.
So the Tornados proved that even though you may have a small squad it is the quality of the players with grit and determination that can succeed over a team with a large squad. On the day the Tornados came away with 2 out of 3 wins. All the coaches were proud of the effort put in by all the players but awarded the MVPs to Anthony Tither, Ben Dyer and rookie Tommie Bryan.
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