Sussex Saxons vs. Southampton Stags – A player's perspective
Having lost the same fixture away 33-0 last season, the Saxons travelled to the #2 ranked team in Division 1 and favourites to win the South East Conference, the Southampton Stags.
Taking to the field in the driving rain and near freezing temperatures, the Saxons opened the scoring with a 55 yard touchdown (TD) run by Saxons’ starting quarterback #3 Dom Ashworth, with a successful 2 point conversion pass to receiver #83 James Ratti. Following a Stags’ TD and a second, 26 yard TD run from Dom Ashworth, the Saxons found themselves winning 14-8 at HT.
The Saxons started in possession for the second half and put together an 80 yard TD drive, finished by #63 Sam Bolitho. The score now stood at 20 – 8 to the Saxons at the start of the fourth quarter – some way off the predicted 35 point difference in the Stags’ favour prior to K.O.
Both sides scored early in the quarter, with the Saxons completing a 74 yard drive with a TD pass to #83 James Ratti, with a successful 2 point conversion run in by #33 Ben Stewart. Saxons extending their lead to 28-14 overall.
Late in the game, defensive errors caused Stags to score twice in quick succession, meaning a draw at FT at 28 – 28.
Both teams took to the field again, under the floodlights and still in torrential rain, to decide the winner of the fixture in overtime. Both teams looked severely drained. Saxons scored a TD on their first possession – a 6 yard run by #29 Paul Capone – putting the pressure on the Stags to match them with a touchdown of their own. Towards the end of Stags drive and nearing the goal line, miscommunication between their quarterback and runningback led to a fumble, which was recovered by #63 Sam Bolitho, securing a deserved win for the Saxons (who sit 3rd in the league).
The win puts great, but achievable, expectations on the Saxons’ next few games to try and replicate the same performance.