Article by Tom Green
Culloden Academy Raptors: 8-0-0
The Raptors finished the regular season undefeated heading into the Highland Bowl and will go into the Championship as favourites this Saturday.
During the four week campaign the Raptors scored 280 points whilst only conceding 58 points in total. They also won all 8 of their regular season matches and defeated the Black Isle Stags Development team 62-0 in the exhibition match.
A lot of this success has been down to good defensive coverage which has resulted in a lot of interceptions. It isn’t even as if this has been down to a single player on defence as in the IRA game alone in Week 2 of the season three defensive players scored touchdowns as a result of interceptions.
They also have been hugely successful on offense due to simple but effective pass plays which have been the scourge of the other teams in the tournament. As well as this the Raptors have been very effective when running the ball due to a lot of natural athletes on the team.
As one of the more senior teams in the league a lot of the players may only get one shot at winning the league title and they are perfectly placed to do so.
How they got there:
Culloden Academy Raptors 26-0 Millburn Academy Eagles
The Millburn Academy Eagles took on the Raptors in the first match of the season and they proved no match in the game. This is partly due to the Raptors having a larger squad than the Eagles and the fact that they shut down the running game of the Millburn side. The match probably isn’t a very accurate indicator of what could happen in the Highland Bowl but it is worth noting.
The second match of the weekend was tightly fought against the Inverness High School Predators which turned out to be one of the hardest and most tightly fought game in the 2014 season. They managed to overcome the more experienced Predators which contained youth Wildcats players Mark Pyper, Stephen McMeechan and Colin Hamilton in the match.
Inverness Royal Academy Sharks 0-49 Culloden Academy Raptors
The Inverness Royal Academy Sharks in the end couldn’t handle the intensity of the Culloden offense and defence which turned the match into a white wash.
Charleston Academy Knights 0-21 Culloden Academy Raptors
By the time the Raptors played Charleston Academy, the Knights had played in two difficult fixtures against Millburn and Inverness High School and the players were fatigued. In the end the depth in the Raptors squad paid dividends and they managed to take the victory with relative ease even though the Knights managed to defeat the much fancied IHS in the first game of the weekend.
Culloden Academy Raptors 62-0 Inverness Royal Academy Sharks
The Raptors only played in one match during Week 3 and it turned out to be the largest victory of their campaign. The IRA couldn’t do anything to stop the Raptors in the end and the score ended 62-0. To give the IRA its due, they played on to the end and gave it their all. This match also pretty much secured the Raptors place in the Highland Bowl and they could only not make the championship game if they lost all the last three fixtures in a humiliating fashion.
Culloden Academy Raptors 31-20 Inverness High School Predators
The Raptors guaranteed their place in the Highland Bowl in the final week after a close physical game which had one of the most electric atmospheres of the whole season. Unfortunately from an Inverness High School perspective it ended the Predators chances of Highland Bowl place.
Millburn Academy Eagles 20-34 Culloden Academy Raptors
With spirits in the Millburn camp at an all-time high due to a thumping victory against the IRA the matchup this time round was far closer than it was in Week 1. The Eagles managed to utilise their running backs but the Raptors weren’t going to let their form slump and they played an intense style of football. This eventually let the Raptors overcome the Eagles and continue the winning run.
Culloden Academy Raptors 32-0 Charleston Academy Knights
The Raptors went into the final encounter with the prospect of continuing the perfect championship run. They succeeded in the end and ended off the perfect regular season campaign.