Yorkshire Rams 16 West Coast Trojans 0
A defensive shut-out and two touchdowns from running back Daunté Wint-Angus saw the Yorkshire Rams to victory in the first game back in South Leeds Stadium.
With the West Coast Trojans unable to punch the ball in, the Rams took the lead with a Jonny Dudley field goal before the hard-running Wint-Angus burst clear for his first score, the extra point making it 10-0 at half-time.
The Rams took to the field to be greeted by an enthusiastic crowd and, having won the toss and chosen to kick, produced stops on the visitors’ opening two drives – the second ending when Dudley forced a fumble from the Trojans’ key receiver Murray Hogg and Sarunas Tiskas recovered the ball.
Punishing such miscues is a key part of the Rams’ offensive philosophy in the quest to bounce back to the BAFA Premiership after last season’s relegation, and with a short field to play with the hosts went to work. A superb solo effort from Wint-Angus converted a key fourth down to keep the drive going and though we could not punch the ball in, Taylor Umland’s completion to Matt Ward-Stead set up a short-range field goal for Dudley to open the scoring.
The defence continued to hold firm, with stalwart pair Adam Cowley and Charlie Gough to the fore alongside the returning Robbie Cruickshank-Sutton, and were rewarded when Wint-Angus burst clear of the Scottish side’s defence for a long-range score, Charlie Vincent adding the extras.
By no means was it all ground-and-pound, though, as Umland completed passes to fellow debutant JP Walton and another of the Rams’ returners, Andrew Cheeseman, before the end of a satisfactory first half.
Defences were well on top in the third quarter, with Rams cornerback Dudley and Trojans coach and quarterback Gary McNey both frequently pressed into punting duty. One boot from McNey saw the Rams’ teenage debutant Broad – a graduate of the successful Pennine Panthers junior team, along with Tiskas, Dillon Vollans and Matty Napier – gather impressively and find his way down the sideline to the end zone, only for a block in the back to end the home crowd’s celebrations.
Defensive back Broad would eventually have his moment of glory with an interception in the end zone on a late Trojans drive, while Wint-Angus showed neat footwork to back up his pace and power as he tip-toed down the sideline before sprinting clear for a second score.
The extra point this time went awry, Vincent chasing down a loose snap before attempting unsuccessfully to fly-hack the ball through the posts from near the left sideline, but the Rams had done what they needed to and victory anthem ‘Proud Mary’ rang around the stadium at the final whistle.
Offensive MVP: Daunte Wint-Angus
Defensive MVP: Adam Cowley
Rookie of the Day: Tyler Broad
Ram of the Day: Charlie Gough
Trojans MVP: Tam Chapman
(Pictures by Michelle Gaze, Steve Gatenby and Terry Lyons)