March 1, 2019, by Charlotte Gauja
Guest Blog | University of Nottingham American Football the Story so Far
Division 1 Champions, UoNAF stepped up into the BUCS Premiership, with all eyes on the new boys on the block. Having retained many senior players plus some additions from across the Atlantic, many questioned whether they would truly be able to continue their 13-game unbeaten streak from the previous season; given the prospect of much higher-level opposition.
#3, Club President, Fin Old said “We were really excited to be promoted. We had a lot to prove to people that seem to enjoy doubting us, despite our previous record. As a team we wanted people to know that as soon as we step foot in the premier league they can expect us to be dominant and stay at the top for a long time to come. We like winning, we’re going to keep winning.”
Their first test saw them welcome to the DRSV, none other than the last team to beat them (way back in 2017), Leeds Beckett- who were promoted to the Premiership that year. Beckett scored the first touchdown mid-way through the game, a 27-yard pass into the end zone followed up by a converted 2-Point, Point After Touchdown (PAT) attempt. Notts soon put points on the board with a Field Goal from Wide Receiver/Kicker Elliot Roberts, score at 8-3. UoNAF fired again in the 4th Quarter with a 7-yard run from Quarterback Tunde Pratt. Thanks to a strong performance by the defence, Leeds were unable to respond. FT Score UoNAF 9- 8 Leeds Beckett.
#13, Balint Molnar said, “It was a very important game and it meant a lot to all of us who were there 2 years ago when we lost to Leeds. It was a really tough and physical game, and the win meant a lot because it was against them and it was also our first game in the premiership
UoNAF’s second test came against last year’s Premiership runner-up: The University of Derby Braves. Short work was made of the Braves, with standout performances from QB Tunde Pratt (Throwing for 225 yards, 2 TDs and Running for 79yards and 2TDs) and Linebacker RJ Mazolewski- helping the defence to complete a shut-out. FT Score, UoNAF 43-0 Derby Braves. A long away trip to the University of Stirling awaited the week after. Another close encounter, with Defensive Back Dre Long balling out on defence, Notts edged the Clansmen 10-3.
#17, Jack Casey, said, “Playing in the premier league has been really enjoyable. Apart from the journey to Scotland. Playing teams of a higher calibre is great to increase your own ability. I feel I’ve developed as a player. I like the increased competition.”
Either side of Christmas, the team was tasked with facing the current National Champions, the Durham Saints. A nail-bitingly close game, with a last-minute game-winning TD from Tight End, Austin Tyrell deciding the game 14-12. The return leg allowed UoNAF to continue their Post-Christmas celebrations with a shut-out of the Saints, highlighted by Defensive Lineman, Jeff Fallabel’s dominant performance; sacking the Durham QB 4 times. UoNAF 26-0 Durham Saints.
#77, Adam Renton, Club Treasurer said, “Facing the national champions at their place was always going to be hard. I think that we really showed our mental and physical fortitude to pull through. [In the second game] we got a great start, and kept it going throughout the whole game. All 3 aspects of the game really showed our talent”
Notts were clearly in their stride, continuing their unbeaten streak against Derby (34-0) and Stirling (27-7). Come their final regular season game away in Leeds, Running Back Folabi Ajayi’s 57-yard TD run started off a confident 41-12 win, underscoring UoNAF’s position as the #1 seed team heading into the BUCS Playoffs.
Commenting on the 18/19 season, Head Coach, Jason Scott said, “It’s been a remarkable season; for us to go unbeaten in our first year in the University Premier League is astounding. We’re the first newly promoted team to secure a winning record, and to do it behind the league’s best defense, and second-best offense, is a testament to the hard-work and dedication that the players, coaches and support staff have shown.”
“We go into the playoffs to face off against a team who have done it all and won it all, and have set the standard for elite teams at the highest level in UniBall. The Hertfordshire Hurricanes have won five national titles, and – despite their regular season record this year – will still be on the hunt for their sixth. Be under no illusions, this is a highly talented team, with a fantastic coaching staff, and they will be ready for us.”
“This is a team that is excited to be make the post-season, and a team that has the desire to go deep and challenge the best. Playoff football gives us the opportunity to compete against the finest College Football players in the land, and we’re ready for that challenge.”
UoNAF host their Homecoming Game, welcoming back all alumni of the team to spectate their BUCS Premiership Quarter-Final game against the University of Hertfordshire Hurricanes. This will be the first ever meeting between the two teams, on Sunday 3 March at the David Ross Sports Village 3G. Kick-Off will be at 12pm. See the event here.
Want a quick run through of the rules of American Football? Check out the link below!
Written by Warren Davis,
UoNAF Publicity Secretary
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