The Merseyside Nighthawks travelled to South Yorkshire this past weekend to face the Sheffield Giants but came away empty handed despite a very close first half.
The Nighthawks made the best start possible as wide receiver Alex Eager returned the opening kick-off for a touchdown, breaking tackles to give the visitors a 7-0 lead to start the game. Defensively, the ‘Hawks also started well, stopping the Giants from moving the ball before cornerback Jonny Weekes snagged his third interception of the season.
It wasn’t to last however as Sheffield soon managed to get a touchdown of their own following a 15 yard pass play but their PAT attempt was unsuccessful so Merseyside still held a narrow 7-6 lead. Weekes then recovered a fumble on a punt at the end of the next drive and Eager took advantage of the short field, scoring his second touchdown of the day just before the end of the first quarter on a wide receiver screen to the left.
The Giants offence started to establish their run game in the second quarter, scoring on runs down the left and up the middle to give themselves their first lead of the day at 20-14. Merseyside called Eager’s number once again in response and he did not disappoint as he caught a 55 yard pass from quarterback Ben Robinson to score his third touchdown and put the ‘Hawks back in front at 21-20.
Merseyside took the slender single point lead into the break, but the third quarter proved to be their undoing. Sheffield started the third quarter strongly, scoring on a deep passing play to regain the lead, before intercepting the Nighthawks and scoring twice more without reply to take a commanding 40-21 lead.
Alex Eager caught another touchdown pass as a consolation score for the ‘Hawks but even his four touchdown performance on the day wasn’t enough to save Merseyside from slipping to a third defeat with the final score 47-27 to Sheffield. The Nighthawks play again next weekend, at home to the Manchester Titans, and will need to make improvements quickly if they want to salvage anything from the opening portion of their 2018 season.