Celtics fall short in season climax
For the final game of the season the Leeds Celtics welcomed the Bradford Bears in a rematch of last year’s season opener that went right down to the wire, resulting in a Celtic victory. Sunday’s game a similarly close affair with both teams wishing to end their season on a high note.
The Celtics won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kick off. With the wind in their faces the Celtics were able to pick up a couple of first downs before being forced to punt the ball away to the Bears. Bradford had similar problems trying to find yardage, working most of their offence through their running back and fullback combination. The teams exchanged punts and the Celtics came out to start a drive in the Bradford 30 yard line. After a few plays for short yardage, quarterback Adam Smith found receiver Guy Weisselberg deep down field for a 60 yard touchline reception. With the two point conversion good, the Celtics found themselves 8-0 up at the end of the quarter.
Bradford came out in the second quarter eager to put points on the board. A blocked punt gave them a short field to work with and, sticking to their running attack, they were able to find the end zone twice before the half was over, and went into halftime leading 14-8.
To begin the second half, Bradford took possession but were unable to capitalise on the momentum they built going into the half. The Celtics then put their foot on the accelerator to get back into the game, as quarterback Smith found tight end Alex Hall in the end zone to tie the score at 14 each. Bradford were kept off the scoreboard in the third quarter by a strong defensive showing from defensive linesman Mike Calvert and Nik Kozina, with Kozina chasing the Bradford running back several times. Linebacker Rory Ellis was also able to disrupt the field and keep the Bears from advancing.
Later on in the third quarter, the Celtics retook the lead with running back Toby Richardson receiving a toss play and running 70 yards down field all the way to the end zone, making the score 22-14 with only one quarter remaining.
Bradford were then able to block another of the Celtics’ punts, again setting themselves up in good field position. They were again able to take advantage of the short field and found the end zone to tie up the score once more. The Celtics’ offence were unable to carry on the momentum they built in the third quarter and Bradford took to the field again. Their running back was brought down to the ground hard, and there was a 20 minute delay whilst he received medical attention and was stretchered off. News later came through that he had not received a serious injury.
Bradford seemed to be fired up after the medical delay, and wasted no time putting two more points on the board with their sustained running attack, putting them back in the lead 28-22 with just two minutes remaining.
This did not prove quite long enough for the home team to equalise, and the game finished leaving the Celtics with just one win for the season. The side is in need of a good off-season to get themselves in a position from where they can potentially challenge for the playoffs next year.
Image courtesy of sport.leeds.ac.uk