This Sunday saw the Keele Crusaders journey to face the Liverpool Raptors at the Raptor’s home ground of JMO Sports Park. The Keele side looked to be favourites coming into the game having lost narrowly to a Bangor side that had smashed the Raptors.
The Raptors kicked off and got good field position from back-up QB and kicker Callum Musgrave’s kick. The Raptor D started strong and forced the Crusaders to punt away immediately. Unfortunately during the punt, a Keele player fell awkwardly and sustained a neck injury, and play was suspended until an ambulance arrived an hour later. Word from Keele is that the player has no serious damage, which we are all relieved to hear and everyone at the Raptors want to wish the Keele player a speedy recovery so he can get back to balling out on the field.
Finally, play resumed with reduced quarter lengths to compensate for the delay of play and enable the following JMU Fury vs Sheffield Hallam Warriors game to start without major delay. The Raptor’s O drove up field and QB Callum Harris made a pass connect in the end zone to receiver Gregory Webzell to open the scoreboard. James Sutherland secured the extra point from a good kick attempt making the score 7-0 to the Raptors. The Raptor defence showed their steel again to the Crusaders forcing them 3 and out, with George Williams and Connor Marchant from the Raptor D line wreaking havoc amongst the Keele O line and backfield. Still in the first quarter, the Raptors reached the end zone again with the legs of QB Callum Harris taking it in himself. The extra point attempt was no good leaving the score at 13-0 to the Raptors at the end of the first quarter.
Spurred on by the Liverpool foxes cheerleaders, the Raptor defence stood strong like the walls of Jerusalem themselves showing no cracks and letting up no opportunity for the Keele offence to get near the end zone throughout the second quarter. D end Victor Ssonko getting 2 consecutive tackles for loss and sacks got the ball back into Raptor hands. With the ball back in Raptor possession, the Raptor O worked up field again with a great run by receiver Alex Totir making the first down and more, carrying 2 Crusaders with him just 1 yard short of the end zone. RB Mark Evans skipped through the line to carry the ball untouched into the end zone for the touchdown which was made easy by the Raptor O line clearing a path for him. A 2 point attempt was no good and the score stayed at 19-0 for the rest of the first half.
The third quarter saw the Raptors continue to dominate on defence shutting out the Crusaders, the D line putting a lot of pressure on the Crusader O line and giving the back-up Crusader QB, 2017 Nighthawks OL (yes OL!!) Nathe Owen little time to get the ball away. MLB Eddie Webster’s repeated blitzes ran over the Keele O line, forcing multiple fumbles of which the Raptors recovered one. Raptors back in possession and QB Callum Harris made another connection with Gregory Webzell who took it the last few yards past a defender and into the end zone. The 2 point attempt failed again leaving the score at 25-0 as the third quarter came to a close. It looked like it was going to be a shut-out victory for the home team but then it must have been the 3rd Crusade as the Crusaders QB made a great pass to a receiver who ran it into the Raptor End zone to get the Crusaders on the board in the 4th quarter. The Crusader extra point attempt was no good and the full-time whistle blew with the final score at 25-6 to the Raptors. Offensive MvP went to Gregory Webzell, Defensive MvP went to Eddie Webster and Specials MvP to George Williams for consistently good punts.
By Gregory Webzell.