Article by Tom Green
Wildcats 54-12 Vikings
Junior Wildcats responded from their defeat by the East Kilbride Pirates with a big 54-12 win down in England against Newcastle Vikings, with 2015 MVP Euan Crawford contributing in 7 of the 8 Touchdowns scored on the day.
Newcastle entered the game having lost to East Kilbride 12-36 back on May 1st.
Wildcats made the 6-hour journey down ready to kick start their season with a win, and received the ball first to start the game after Vikings won the coin toss and deferred. It took 3 plays before Quarterback Euan Crawford found Haris Ryalls for a 33-yard Touchdown pass, then Crawford ran in the 2-point conversion.
A big gain on a 4th down conversion paved the way for the Vikings’ first offensive possession as they would run the ball in a few plays later for a 1-yard Touchdown. Solid tackling from Ally Gibson, Haris Ryalls & Fergus McIntyre stopped the Vikings 2-point conversion.
Currently leading 8-6, Stephen McMeechan continued his impressive rushing attack along with Mark Pyper & Euan Crawford as he capped off the next series with a 12-yard Touchdown, and also 3 yards for the 2-point conversion.
A sack by Alasdair Howie & McMeechan led to a quick end on Vikings’ next possession, when they punted the ball in which Corin Robinson returned for 40 yards. Crawford’s 2nd TD pass of the game went to McMeechan for 28 yards. Crawford’s throw for 2-point conversion would fall incomplete, ending the 1st quarter 22-6 Wildcats.
Another impressive defensive series pinned the Vikings back to their own 13-yard line. McMeechan made the post of this on offense with his 1st Rushing TD of the season for 13 yards. Vikings’ linebackers would make their way through to tackle Crawford on the 2-point conversion.
Vikings struck back on the ensuing kick-off and ran it back 55 yards for the Touchdown, but the Wildcats’ defense stepped up to stop the 2-point conversion. After a 32-yard return from Robinson on the Vikings kick-off, Wildcats’ offense progressed the ball down field with Crawford completing his 3rd TD pass of the day to Ryan Lee Topp for 12 yards. Mark Pyper came short on adding 2 points on the next play.
The Wildcats’ defense continued its relentless pressure with Ally Gibson tackling the Quarterback with the 1st of 3 sacks for him on the day. A couple of possessions later, Haris Ryalls stepped up with 2 key plays: the first with an interception on defense, and the next play on offense catching a pass from Crawford and running it in, making it a 36-yard TD. Crawford ran the ball in for 2 points.
A couple more sacks from McMeechan & Gibson on the Vikings QB ended the half on a strong note for the Wildcats.
Half Time Wildcats 42 – 12 Vikings
The Wildcats’ defense started the 2nd half as strong as they ended the 1st half, with 2 sacks on the Vikings’ QB, turning the ball back over to the Wildcats’ offense.
A great catch from the Vikings’ CB was the Wildcats’ 1st and only turnover of the day, but good tackling from linebackers Pyper & Robinson quickly turned the ball back over to offense, which culminated in a 16 yard to Pyper from Crawford, making that his 5th passing TD of the day.
The Wildcats’ offense finished the scoring late in 4th quarter with a 2-yard rushing TD from Crawford making this his 7th overall TD of the day, & the defense finished the game with an interception from Alex Macpherson for 20 yards, and also a day where the defense had 11 sacks on the day.
MVPs from the game were: Ally Gibson, with 10 tackles, 3 sacks, & and playing every snap at Center on Offensive Line; Stephen McMeechan, 6 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 114 all-purpose yards on offense and 2 TDs from Running Back; & Corin Robinson, 7 tackles, 2 pass deflections and 72 yards from 2 punt/kick returns.
Head Coach James Hudson also gives special mention to Euan Crawford for his 7 Touchdowns.
‘It was a fantastic moment for Euan. It’s not often that you see Quarterbacks throw 5 TDs passes in games but also to run in 2 TDs is showing how versatile he can be. He also showed that versatility in the first game vs East Kilbride at Linebacker, Newcastle was great for him to get back on track at Quarterback, with the Receivers and Offensive Line doing a great job alongside him.’
‘Overall, the team stepped things up for this game, with some players from youth squad crossing over and settling in well in this game, and the rest of the squad delivered exceptionally well from start to finish.’