Last Sunday the youth squad traveled down to East Kilbride and won two out of their three games. This confirmed the high flying Wildcats as Scottish Champions for the 6th year in succession. Unfortunately the Wildcats were unable to complete the regular season undefeated, losing to last year’s Britbowl semi-finalists the East Kilbride Pirates. This loss ended a 25 game winning streak since their last defeat against the Burnley Tornadoes in Britbowl 2013.
Highland Wildcats 42-12 Hamilton Buccaneers
|1st Half||2nd Half||Final Score|
6-0 – Stephen Mcmeechan (HIG) 31 Yard Rushing TD
8-0 – Euan Crawford to Stephen Mcmeechan (HIG) 12 Yard Passing XP
14-0 – Kyle Holleyoake (HIG) 6 Yard Rushing TD
16-0 – Euan Crawford to Alex Roberts (HIG) 12 Yard Passing XP
22-0 – Stephen Mcmeechan (HIG) 6 Yard Rushing TD
22-6 – HAMILTON BUCCANEERS (Interception) Defensive TD
28-6 – James Maclean to Callum Mccadden (HIG) 17 Yard Passing TD
34-6 – Alex Roberts (HIG) 12 Yard Rushing TD
34-12 – HAMILTON BUCCANEERS 45 Yard Rushing TD
40-12 – Alex Roberts (HIG) 45 Yard Rushing TD
42-12 – James Maclean to Alex Roberts (HIG) 12 Yard Passing XP
The Highland Wildcats started off the tournament against the Buccaneers who they had already defeated twice earlier in the season (66-13 in Edinburgh and 46-6 in Aberdeen). They knew that a win would make the Wildcats Scottish champions due to their superior record against divisional rivals the East Kilbride Pirates.
The Wildcats won the toss and started off with the football. Unlike the last time the two sides met, Highland opened the scoring on their first drive after Stephen McMeechan rushed in for a 31 yard touchdown on the third play of the game. The touchdown was then converted by Euan Crawford who threw a 12 yard pass to McMeechan to put the score at 8-0 to the visitors. The Bucs weren’t able to score on the following drive despite their quarterback throwing a 28 yard pass for a first down. This was due to McMeechan putting on the pressure from the opening play and strong performances from Corin Robinson, Alasdair Howie and Euan Trommino.
On the very next drive Kyle Holleyoake scored his first touchdown of the game following a 6 yard rush. Crawford then successfully converted the touchdown once again with a 12 yard pass to Alex Roberts to double the Wildcats lead. After this score, on the Hamilton drive, the Wildcats defense shut down the Buccaneers passing game which resulted in a four and out. On the next passage of play McMeechan ended up scoring a 6 yard rushing touchdown which was set up by a long run from Holleyoake and a 15 yard pass from Crawford. Unfortunately this touchdown was not converted but it meant that the Wildcats went into the half time break leading the game 22-0.
After the half time break the Buccaneers fought back on defense when they managed to intercept Wildcats quarterback James Maclean for a defensive touchdown. They were unable to convert. On the following drive though Maclean responded to this minor set back in the best possible way by throwing a 17 yard touchdown to Callum Mccadden.
On the next drive the Wildcats managed to make a huge play on defense as Scott Robertson made an interception which left them in good field position, which they managed to take advantage of as Alex Roberts rushed in for a 12 yard touchdown. This also wasn’t converted.
The Buccaneers did not give up and they managed to score a spectacular 45 yard rushing touchdown three plays later. They were unable to convert it. On the following play Roberts, not satisfied with just the one touchdown, ran in for a 45 yard rushing score. The conversion which followed was successful as James Maclean threw a 12 yard pass to Roberts which left the score at 42-12 at the final whistle.
Highland Wildcats 20-24 East Kilbride Pirates
|1st Half||2nd Half||Final Score|
|East Kilbride Pirates||12||12||24|
6-0 – EAST KILBRIDE PIRATES – 45 Yard Passing TD
6-6 – Euan Crawford to Euan Trommino – 3 Yard Passing TD
12-6 – EAST KILBRIDE PIRATES – 40 Yard Passing TD
18-6 – EAST KKILBRIDE PIRATES – 42 Yard Passing TD
18-8 – Stephen McMeechan/Alasdair Howie/Corin Robinson – SAFETY
18-14 – Euan Crawford to Stephen McMeechan – 11 Yard Passing TD
24-14 – EAST KILBRIDE PIRATES – 45 Yard Rushing TD
24-20 – Stephen McMeechan – 17 Yard Passing TD
After the victory over the Buccaneers the Highland Wildcats were confident heading into their penultimate game of the regular season. They knew it was going to be a tough game as last year when the two sides met in East Kilbride the Highlanders only just won 28-25 in the closest game of last season (including the UK championships). This year’s encounter was no different as it was a grueling game with both sides making the most of what ever chances they had.
The Wildcats won the toss and started off with the football. Despite Stephen McMeechan making a 20 yard rush (and getting a first down) the visitors were unable to score on their opening drive. The Pirates couldn’t do much in their opening drive of the game either as the Highland secondary were just too strong. The visitors then had a repeat of their opening drive as they couldn’t score despite Kyle Holleyoake making two big runs (one for 10 yards and the other for 5). The Pirates then punished the Wildcats when they got back possession as their quarterback threw a 45 yard pass for the opening score of the game. The conversion attempt which followed was unsuccessful but most importantly they had the lead.
This put the Wildcats on the back foot but this just inspired the team to play harder with Euan Crawford leading the charge on the next drive with two big passes (one 20 yard pass to Stig McArthur and a 15 yard pass to Colin Hamilton). This gave the reigning UK champions good field position which resulted in Crawford throwing a 3 yard pass to wide receiver Euan Trommino. The Highlanders were unable to score on the extra point attempt but it didn’t matter as the Pirates lead had vanished.
It didn’t take long for the Pirates to regain their lead though as on the last play of the half their quarterback threw another huge pass (this time for 40 yards). This resulted in another touchdown for the Pirates, leaving the half time score at 12-6.
The Pirates then stepped up a gear in the second half as their QB threw another huge touchdown pass (42 yards this time) on the opening drive of the half. Despite the conversion being incomplete it put the Wildcats in a sticky situation as they were now 12 points down. It didn’t help that the Pirates defense on the next drive held the Wildcats for a 4 and out.
With the score now so big the Wildcats defense turned up the heat and forced a Pirates fumble in their endzone for a safety (the safety has been accredited to Stephen McMeechan, Alasdair Howie and Corin Robinson). The visitors now had the ball and slowly drove their way up the field until Crawford found Colin Hamilton at the end of a 4 yard pass. Unfortunately the play was deemed by the referees to be an illegal play so the Cats then had a second chance to narrow the lead. Crawford on the next play then threw an 11 yard pass to Stephen McMeechan for a touchdown. The conversion was no good and the Wildcats now needed the ball as they were 4 points short.
Unfortunately they got the ball a little bit too quickly as their running back rushed for a 45 yard touchdown which effectively dashed the hopes of the Scottish champions. The Wildcats were able to score another touchdown when McMeechan took hold of the ball and threw a 17 yard pass to Euan Crawford. The conversion was incomplete and it was the final play of the game. The final score being 24-20 to the tournament hosts.
Highland Wildcats 1-0 Aberdeen Roughnecks
The Roughnecks had to pull out of the their final game against the Wildcats due to injuries but both teams had a scrimmage game with Wildcats filling in for the fallen Roughnecks. It was great experience for both the Roughnecks and the Wildcats as it gave players who didn’t get a lot of game time much needed experience; especially for 2nd string QB’s James Maclean and Connol Kelly who both threw multiple touchdown passes.