Stallions Clinch #1 Seed

Stallions Clinch #1 Seed

A 44-12 and 25-20 win over East Essex Sabres and East Kent Mavericks respectively clinched Wembley Stallions the #1 seed in the Southern half of the SFC2 playoffs, with a perfect 10-0 W-L record.

A 25-20 win against East Kent put Wembley on a 9-0 record, before finishing off the regular season with a 44-12 win against East Essex.

Two rushing touchdowns from Junior Ejehu, a pick six from Zoltan Kadar, and 2 safeties earned Wembley the win against East Kent.

While another touchdown from Ejehu, as well as 2 rushing touchdowns from Emmanuel Olagbaju, and receiving touchdowns from Casey Walker, Charlie Douglas, Sharif El-Fiky and Brett Parnham gave Wembley a 44-12 victory of East Essex.

Stallions Clinch #1 Seed

The game against East Kent was one of two very strong defences, with both teams forcing turnovers, with East Kent leading 13-7 after the first quarter, Wembley’s lone score coming from a defensive pick six from Kadar.

A safety brought the gap between the two teams to just 12, with Tom McGinty returning the resulting punt to the East Kent 30-yard line. A strong run game saw Wembley get their first offensive touchdown, Ejehu running it in. The score now being 21-15 at the half.

The third quarter saw both teams fail to score any points. But the Wembley stepped up once again like it had all season, forcing a fumble in the fourth quarter, recovered by Kadar.

A second rushing touchdown from Ejehu, and a 2-point conversion catch from Seb Pettican, made the score 23-20 to Wembley, before a second safety forced by the Wembley defence put the game out of reach for East Kent.

Stallions Clinch #1 Seed

While the game against East Kent showed Wembley’s power in the running game, and their strength in defence, the game against an East Essex side who had improved greatly over the course of the season showed Wembley’s efficient passing game, with Art Bakmanidis, connecting with Walker, Douglas and El-Fiky all the first half, to put Wembley up by 13 after two quarters, with the score 19-6 to the visiting team.

Rotations at quarterback didn’t hinder Wembley’s creative passing game, with tight end Parnham adding a further touchdown on Wembley’s first drive of the half.

East Essex scored another 6, before Wembley began to run down the clock, as well as putting up a further 12 points thanks to Olagbaju and Ejehu touchdowns.

With the regular season now complete, Wembley turn their heads towards the playoffs, with their quarter final home game against #8 Hertfordshire Cheetahs on Sunday 20th August.

Stallions Clinch #1 Seed

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Stallions Go Unbeaten at Home

Wembley Stallions beat Essex Spartans 40-14 to go all season unbeaten at home. The win puts Wembley at 7-0 with 3 games remaining.

5 Running touchdowns from Aaron Greenidge, and a receiving touchdown by Chris Treacy were the difference between the two sides.

Wembley kicked off the game, with Essex returning the ball back to their own 27-yard line. It was a quick three and out and Wembley were soon on the field, and soon on the board.

Runs from Greenidge got Wembley into the Essex half, where quarterback Lawrence Wild threw a dime straight to Treacy to get the first touchdown of the game.

Essex tried to get back into the game. Moving the ball from their own 15 up to their 37-yard line. With 4th & 2 looming Essex decided to go for it. A sack however resulted in the possession of the ball changing hands, with Wembley taking charge on the Essex 34.

Another run by Greenidge earned Wembley a first down. He was soon to add a further six points, running into the end zone on second and goal. The failed point after attempt however meant the score was 13-0.

Wembley soon had the ball back, with Dylan Flanaghan recovering the fumbled ball on the kick return. Once again, Wembley started on the Essex 34-yard line. Wembley moved the ball all the way down into the red zone before the end of the quarter.

An array of errors put all the work to waste however. A false start penalty and a sack led to 3rd & 18. It got worse when Essex picked off the ball, returning it to the Wembley 38.

For the first time in the game Essex were in the Wembley half. However, the home sides defence was on point to show why they are undoubtedly the best defence in the division, Glenn Trafford-Smith showing up with a pick of his own.

Unfortunately, another drive for Wembley ended with a pick. This time Essex took the ball all the way in for a pick six, putting the difference between the two sides a one score game.

Wembley’s special teams did a great job of returning the kick off to the Essex 45-yard line. Turnovers once again cost the home side, this time fumbling the ball, Essex recovering.

The Wembley defence however held firm and got their offence the ball back. Greenidge took the burden of the ball, running the ball on multiple downs to give Wembley a 12-point cushion.

Essex were keen to make the game a tight affair. Starting on their own 30-yard line, they ran the ball all the way down to the Wembley 1-yard line. The bunch formations were brought out by both teams, but it was Essex who got the best. Bundling the ball over the line to make it 19-13 at half time.

Wembley received the ball to start the second half. Emmanuel Olagbaju and Greenidge were once again the work horses of the Wembley offence, with the later running in for his third touchdown of the game.

Essex started on their own 35 and moved the ball well up to the Wembley 45. Another run moved the ball up to the Wembley 34 as Essex looked to once more get back in the game. Essex were eventually brought to 4th & 11 where they set up to punt the ball. It wasn’t a punt however and was a trick play, Wembley were sharp to the decoy however and Essex failed to move the chains.

Ben Lyons was next to join in being to one to carry the workload of moving the chains for Wembley, with Tom McGinty also making a crucial catch to put the ball on the Essex 12-yard line. From there Greenidge once again took charge to put another score on the board.

Going into the last quarter Essex found themselves on the Wembley 45. Essex once again fumbled the ball which was picked up by Danny Hounslow. Wembley’s running game which had been effective all day came out once again. With Kushal Upadhaya and Olagbaju moving the ball into the Essex half.

McGinty once again found himself open and made a strong catch to move down to the Essex 29. Penalties and misses throws cost Wembley once more who saw the ball turn over and Essex once again take charge, looking for a miracle to come back.

It wasn’t to be however. With Wembley once again forcing a fumble through Johann Johnson, with the drive eventually seeing Greenidge get his 5th touchdown of the day.

The game ended 40-14, with the teams due to play the reverse fixture tomorrow.

Sensational touchdown helps Stallions move to 3-0

Sensational touchdown helps Stallions move to 3-0

An 86-yard blocked field goal return by Alex Brockhurst helped the Wembley Stallions move to 3-0 in the BAFA SFC II Eastern division.

Offensive touchdowns from Emmanuel Olagbaju and Tom McGinty saw Wembley Stallions beat London Blitz B, 21-0.

For the first time in the season Wembley received the ball to start the game. A penalty on the London defence moved the chains for Wembley before QB Art Bakmanidis connected with TE Brett Parnham for a 15-yard gain. London once again helped move the chains for Wembley with their second offside penalty of the drive. The ball was placed on the 3-yard line, from which Olagbaju rushed into the end zone for the first score of the game.

After adding the extra point, kicking the ball to London, and quickly holding them to a three and out, Wembley had the ball on offence once again. The drive didn’t start as hoped, with a holding penalty pushing Wembley back a further 10-yards. Runs from Aaron Greenidge and Junior Ejehu helped move the chains. A pass interference call on London moved the ball down to the 13-yard line, however the travelling team held strong, forcing a change in possession after Wembley went for it on 4th down.

Sensational touchdown helps Stallions move to 3-0

The game suddenly became one of defence as three, three and outs followed back to back. Throughout the three drives the clock ticked close to the 2-minute warning. Wembley started the drive on their own 35-yard line, and after successfully running and passing the ball downfield, found themselves into the red zone.

Bakmanidis looked to link up with McGinty on 2nd down, however a drop in the end zone meant Wembley would have to wait for their second score.

The wait wasn’t long however. With Wembley going straight back to the air, McGinty this time hauling the ball in for an 11-yard touchdown. The successful PAT gave Wembley a 14-0 lead at the half.

Sensational touchdown helps Stallions move to 3-0

Wembley’s offence didn’t see the field in the 3rd quarter, with London’s first drive of the half chewing away almost all the clock. A holding call on defence during a London punt caused frustration amongst the Wembley side-lines, with the call giving London a first down. The defence mounted 4 sacks during the drive, with Kwame Sarfo, Drew Fisher and Johann Johnson amongst the action.

Sensational touchdown helps Stallions move to 3-0

London eventually brought out the field goal team, and what followed was something sensational. The Wembley line bull-rushed through the London blockers, tipping the ball. After bouncing down to the 14-yard line Alex Brockhurst swept up the ball, and made way for the other end of the field. The 86-yard run (the last 10, looking extremely tiring) put Wembley up 20-0. The PAT eventually made it 21-0.

Sensational touchdown helps Stallions move to 3-0

After a long break, the Wembley eventually made it onto the field in the second half, the drive could only result in a three and out however.

London looked to get into the game and were essentially forced into going for it on 4th down, however an interception by Zoltan Kadar put away any chance of a London comeback.

Wembley took over on their own 25-yard line. Once again passes into McGinty and runs by Olagbaju and Greenidge moved Wembley deep into the London half.

The only memorable moment for the travelling side may be the pick which followed, denying a sure touchdown for Wembley.

The clock eventually ran down, with Wembley coming out on top with a 21-0 victory.

Wembley Stallions next game will be the reverse fixture on the 11th June.

 

Second half comeback see’s Stallions beat Mavericks

Wembley Stallions East Kent Mavericks

 

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.

Wembley Stallions East Kent Mavericks

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.

Wembley Stallions East Kent Mavericks

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.

Wembley Stallions East Kent Mavericks

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.

Cardinals crushed as Stallions storm to 1-0 record

Wembley Stallions Ipswich Cardinals

Wembley Stallions stormed to a 1-0 record after beating Ipswich Cardinals 42-0 on the opening day of the 2017 season.

Three rushing touchdowns from Aaron Greenidge, two from Junior Ejehu and a receiving touchdown from Brett Parnham helped ease Wembley to an opening day win.

After winning the coin toss, Wembley decided to defer allowing Ipswich to make the first move on offence. Ipswich gained little yardage on their first drive and punted the ball to Wembley who returned the ball to midfield.

Shortly afterwards Wembley took the lead after a long run by Greenidge found the end zone, the resulting field goal converted.

Ipswich responded with a strong drive, a deep pass finding their way into the red zone. Ipswich were then gifted an extra few yards after a face mask penalty was called on Wembley. Ipswich were now 12 yards from the end zone, however a poor hand off led to a fumble, which Wembley recovered. Ipswich wouldn’t come across a better scoring chance all game.

On the resulting drive Art Bakmanidis connected with Nick Glenday for a 30-yard reception. After running the ball into scoring position, Bakmanidis found Parham for Wembley’s second touchdown. The field goal this time, unsuccessful.

As the quarter came to an end, Wembley held Ipswich to a quick three and out, with the ball being returned to the 45-yard line after the punt. A great catch by Tom McGinty got Wembley down to the 9-yard line. Shortly after Greenidge ran in for his second touchdown.

Wembley then pulled out the trick plays, with a fake field goal seeing McGinty catch the ball in the end zone for a 2-point conversion making the score 21-0.

Ipswich were once again forced to punt despite putting together a rather productive drive. Wembley were quick to put some distance between themselves and the visiting team, running the ball down the field, with Ejehu eventually taking it in for 6 points.

The woes continued for Ipswich who were once again forced to a three and out after some great pressure by the Wembley defence on the quarterback. After receiving the ball back, it took the Wembley offence two plays to get the 5th touchdown of the game.

Wembley could have easily added more points before the half, having worked the ball down the field thanks to another big reception from Glenday. Complacency may have seeped into the team however, seeing a fumble on the snap which was recovered by Bakmanidis, and then an interception thrown the play after.

35-0 up at halftime saw the officials bring in the Mercy rule. Meaning the second half would see a continuous rolling clock unless Ipswich scored.

The second half started slower, Wembley being held to punt the ball after a false start pushed them further away from the first down marker. Ipswich once again were held to a three and out.

A call from the officials looked to displease the Wembley side line. With Bakmanidis rushing for what looked like a first down. However, the officials spotted the ball 2 yards short of the first down. Bakmanidis rushed once more this time gaining a first down after rushing out of the bootleg. Wembley however couldn’t put more points on the board after another false start hindered their chances.

As the game headed into the 4th quarter Wembley were gifted their 6th touchdown. After a poor punt from Ipswich saw the ball end up on their own 28-yard line, Wembley were in prime position to score.

The first play of the drive saw Ejehu run 31 yards to the end zone. Ipswich tried to score late on, going for it on 4th down on the Wembley 30. An unsuccessful pass however saw a change of possession, and by the time Wembley were out on the field, the whistle had blown.

Wembley Stallions recruit volunteers from UCFB Wembley

Written by Ben Clubley

The Wembley Stallions have recruited several students from UCFB Wembley to help out with the running of the club.

The students will help with the organising of all events and match days, working on the camera’s, as well as more behind the scenes operations such as marketing, finance and social media aspects.

Volunteer Samantha Read said that working for the Stallions allows her to learn practically, and put theory into action. “I can also use my past experience and apply them to the job role.”

Students were interacted with at the universities freshers fair, which not only looked for students to help with the running of the club but also playing for the club.

Several students attended the trial day with a selection of them helping out with the running and filming of the event, and many also taking part.

Kerry Fothergill who is also a volunteer for the Stallions says that working with the club gains her real experience and she wants to be part of the team and help them develop.

With the Wembley Stallions looking to push fan experience at games and make the game more of a spectacle sport, the link up with students from UCFB Wembley is highly beneficial for both parties.

The club gain extra help in the running of events and bring in fresh new ideas as well as expanding the size of the family, while the students gain working experience from their time.

Wembley Stallions’ plans for the future

Written by Ben Clubley

The future looks bright for Wembley Stallions, with head coach and chairman Warren Smart looking to win the top division within the next few years and bring a large crowd to games.

The main target for head coach Warren Smart is to be the best, having both male and female players from the Stallions representing Great Britain across Europe, and to go on to win the Southern Premier Division within the next few years.

There is also the hope of bringing in large crowds in the hundreds for home games. American football is growing fast in England and especially around Wembley. Over 80,000 people turn out for the NFL International series games every year, a fraction of that will be greatly beneficial for the Stallions.

Head coach and chairman Warren Smart states how he remembers when he started playing American football back in the 1980’s and how they would play using bicycle helmets instead of the proper equipment.

Equipment however is easier to come across in Britain now with the Stallions having enough pads and helmets for the team, and necessary training equipment. The club also boast a full 100-yard field which is rare in the country.

In the near future Coach Smart would like to have the club purchase a scoreboard so that the supporters can clearly see the score line adding to their experience.

Further down the road there are hopes of improving the facilities on site, bringing in portable toilets, and maybe even adding portable stands to give the fans a better view of the game.

Another idea which Coach Smart talked about was of having special themed games like they do in America. College and high school football in The States is filled with themed games such as homecoming and senior games. Doing so could help increase the interest in the game within the local area and improve match day attendances.

One of the rising tools online is that of YouTube and Facebook live streaming. With Wembley Stallions already owning a camera tower there’s the potential of using the equipment to live stream games online for followers to watch. This could also help increase the clubs fanbase.

With all these ideas circulating around the Stallions camp, and American football on the rise in the country, the future of the side looks strong. The plans will improve the fan experience at home games, which may entice more people to come down and watch the games. All this will make the sport more of a spectacle, challenging that of other sports.

Trial and Combine Day

Written by Ben Clubley

Preparation for the 2017 season kicked off on the 26th November as the annual Wembley Stallions try-outs and combine day took place.

The new season may not start till April, and pre-season may still be 2 months away, however the Stallions have already begun their preparation for the 2017 season with the hosting of the try-out and combine day.

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Over 106 faces showed up early for the try-outs, with participants spending 15 minutes at each of the 7 stations, each station dedicated to a different position amongst the team.

The day put players new and old from ages as young as 13 to the test, with over 3 hours of drills and testing taking place on what was a very cold but clear day.

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Pulo, one of the young new-coming participants trying out for the under 19’s team, stated that the experience was “really good” and that they “got to try everything on the day.”

Try-outs were held for all 5 teams, from the under 14’s, all the way up to the senior and women’s sides. The new female players joined in with the fully paced women’s practice session ahead of their trip to Sheffield for their final tournament in the Opal Series.

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One of the spectacles of the day was the hard hitting, 2v2 Oklahoma drill which was put on show by the returning players. Showing the new-comers to the team what they were getting themselves into.

After a short break the players were on to the second half of their day and the NFL styled combine. Individuals were put to the test physically, with drills focusing on speed, strength and flexibility.

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The day was ended with players taking part in what seemed a gruelling 1 mile run around the field.

The next time the players will be back playing will be January 21st when the first day of pre-season commences.

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The Stallions – A Team Managers Perspective

My introduction to American football was about 20 years ago, yes I know you didn’t realise it had been around so long! Channel 4 started showing NFL at about the same time and Dan Marino was playing for the Dolphins, I loved the colours and the razzmatazz that came along with the game, and of course the Crunch of play. I starting to help out at a local team the Stanmore thunder, with sideline and stats, and have loved the game since.

It was about three years ago when my husband, head coach Warren Smart, and I had the conversation about starting the team in Northwest London, we had identified there was a gap for a senior team in the area as the Warriors and Olympians covered the south London area and the Blitz to the north east. We wanted to make it easy for people to take part and try out the sport for the first time, that’s why we provide a loan of equipment to reduce the monetary barriers into American Football.

We also wanted a team that stood for something in the community, which is why we chose the ‘Stallions’. Wembley has a long history with sport and in 1923 the first ever FA cup final was played, with nearly twice as many supporters turning up to the game as expected. A brave white horse, known as Billy, had to control the fans as crowds invaded the pitch, to this day it’s still referred to as the ‘white horse final’ and why he is our mascot and our motto, ‘Respect All, Fear None’ to commemorate Billy’s exemplary work.

Apart from game day management, dealing with the governing body BAFA and recruitment of players I also apply for grants to help support the club with equipment and start up of other teams within the club. We are extremely grateful to Wembley National Stadium Trust for our very first grant which really kickstarted the club and enabled us to buy 10 helmets and 10 shoulder pads. So far we have probably introduced over 200 people to the sport, including our under 17s, under 19s and Women’s Team.

The dream is for all areas of the club to be successful, our senior team currently at 7-0 have their eyes on the prize, while the under 17s are playing in their first year of tournaments. Our women’s team had a fantastic first season coming runner up in the Southern conference of the Sapphire Series in their debut year. To achieve this we need volunteers and helpers from all areas, parents, partners and football fans who want to be a bit closer to the sport. The hardest thing for me is actually watching a game as there is so much to do, but I love looking after the Team and really feel like I am part of a great family with focused goals, determined spirit, and inspirational passion.

So if you want to be a part of the team, try the pads on for size or be a super fan please get in contact with teammanager@wembleystallions.com or via our Facebook page

Wembley Stallions vs Essex Spartans in photos

A big thank you to Stallions fan Paul Borzone for his fantastic photos of Sunday’s win against the Essex Spartans. Thanks for supporting us and looking forward to having you join us at our next game! 5-0!

U.K. Gridiron 13