Wembley Stallions came from 14-0 down at half-time to beat East Kent Mavericks 23-14 in what was considered a top of the division match up.
Sunday saw Wembley trailing by two scores after the first quarter, however two second half touchdowns by Emmanuel Olagbaju and one from Aaron Greenidge earned the Stallions the win.
A Drew Fisher sack forcing a safety was the momentum changer halfway through the 3rd quarter. Plays on special teams were also crucial in keeping Wembley firmly ahead of their rivals.
Wembley got off to a slow start in Sunday’s big clash against East Kent. Having deferred the kick off, Wembley kicked the ball to East Kent who returned the ball past the 50-yard line. Shortly after the travelling team were celebrating, with a 39-yard screen pass resulting in a touchdown. Consolation for a poor start was a field goal block, keeping the difference between the two teams at 6.
Wembley’s offence also got off to a slow start also. Only gaining one first down on their first drive because of an offside penalty. Wembley punted to East Kent’s 35-yard line, where they were held for a quick three and out.
The punt was bodged by East Kent and ended up on their own 23-yard line. In a good starting position, Wembley failed to capitalise, with a 15-yard penalty eventually pushing them out of field goal range.
East Kent started the drive on their own 20, and put a strong drive together working the ball all the way down to the red zone. A QB run gave East Kent their second score of the game, and a pass on a 2-point attempt was successful making the score 14-0 after the first quarter.
A pass from Art Bakmanidis to Brett Parnham earned Wembley a first down deep in the East Kent half. With nothing to lose the home side eventually went for it on 4th down, but consequently failing to convert.
After holding out the East Kent offense once more, Wembley looked to put a scoring drive together before half time. However, the drive came to a halt after an interception turned possession back over to East Kent with the clock hitting 0:00.
Both teams failed to put together a strong opening offensive drive at the start of the second half. Wembley’s second possession of the quarter saw the ball ran down all the way to the goal-line where Wembley wouldn’t fail to ground and pound the ball in over the 4 downs, leading to East Kent taking over on their own goal-line.
The turning point in the game came moments later, when Fisher forced a safety, sacking the East Kent quarterback.
After returning the placekick Wembley made another trip into the red zone. Another penalty against the offense seemed to hinder the drive once again, but a well-placed pass out wide by Bakmanidis put Wembley on 1st and goal, where Greenidge plough his way into the end zone for Wembley’s first touchdown, putting the score within 5-points.
After keeping East Kent to another three and out, and returning the punt to the East Kent 48, Wembley put themselves in a strong position to start the 4th quarter.
After working the ball further down field, the ball was eventually handed into the arms of Olagbaju who steamrolled through the East Kent defence for a 21-yard rushing touchdown, putting Wembley in the lead for the first time in the game.
The tide in the game switched even more when a short kick off by Nick Glenday was caught by a Seb Pettican, halfway in the East Kent half. This time however, Wembley failed to score any points.
East Kent gained possession on their own 21-yard line. A 5-yard penalty against the offence and another sack on the East Kent quarterback pushed the away side back to their own 11. Noise from the side-line erupted with East Kent looking to punt the ball away on 4th down. The noise caused confusion amongst the East Kent players, with the punter kicking the ball laterally, going out of bounds on the 6-yard line.
Olagbaju soon earned his second touchdown of the game, running in once again, this time from 6-yards. The converted field goal gave Wembley a 23-14 lead with the clock running low.
East Kent would need to put together two scoring drives if they were to take the win, and an unnecessary roughness penalty on Wembley gave East Kent 15 yards, moving the ball up to the 40-yard line.
The following play looked to have put the game out of sight, when a swatted pass fell into the arms of Rickel Ricketts, with the linebacker running the ball all the way into the end zone, however a flag on the field called the play back for a push in the back.
The ball was placed all the way back at the 50. A couple of successful runs ran the clock down even further before another interception gave East Kent the ball.
Flags thrown on the field became on common occurrence on the drive. To start with an offside gave East Kent 5-yards, then the ball went back 5-yards after a false start on the offence. A holding call the Stallions and an offensive pass interference soon saw East Kent go for it 4th and 21. Somewhere amongst all of this, the 2-minute warning.
After holding out East Kent and running the clock down, Wembley held on to win 23-14, beating their main rivals for the division title, as well as moving to a record of 2-0.