HACL Results: Sharks 40-41 Preds

Sharks 40-41 Predators

Article by Tom Green…

Box Score

  1st Half 2nd Half Final Score
IRA Sharks 18 22 40
IHS/Culloden Predators 21 20 41

 

Scoring Summary

 

Predators

Rory Grant – 5 Touchdowns, 1 Defensive Touchdown, 2 XP

Efem Demirel – 2 XP

Craig Ross – 1 XP

 

Sharks 

Ehren Harvey – 2 Touchdowns

Ben Sandever – 1 Touchdown, 1 Safety

Wiktor Maziak – 2 Touchdowns

David Murray – 1 Touchdown

Lewis Robertson – 1 Touchdown

 

The Highland Academy Community League kicked off last Saturday with a bang as the Inverness Predators defeated the Inverness Royal Academy Sharks 41-40. This was the highest scoring game in HACL history and the 6th time the Inverness Royal Academy Sharks have been involved in a 60+ point game. The game was also a tightly fought affair which came down to the final play of the game.

The Predators offensive unit had a strong first half which allowed Rory Grant (Predators) to score 3 touchdowns and two extra points. The other extra point in the half was scored by Craig Ross. In previous years this would have signalled disaster for the Sharks but the team has made noticeable improvements in the preseason which resulted in them scoring 18 points in the first half. Ehren Harvey scored 2 touchdowns and the other Sharks touchdown was scored by Ben Sandever. Unfortunately, for the Sharks, they were unable to convert their touchdowns which would turn out to be the difference between the two teams.

In the second half, Rory Grant scored 3 more touchdowns for the Predators including one resulting from a fumble. This was his 6th touchdown of the game and his 38th point of the campaign. To put this achievement into perspective he scored more points in this single game than the current HACL champions (the Black Isle Stags) did throughout the 1st week of the season. The other Predators points of the half were from by Efem Demirel who scored on a two point conversion.

The Sharks continued to put points on the board in the second half and ended up scoring 22 points. Most of the points in this half were scored by Running back Wiktor Maziak who racked up 2 touchdowns in his HACL debut. Lewis Robertson and David Murray also scored an offensive touchdown. The Sharks defense performed well in the second half which allowed Ben Sandever to score a safety.

The game went down to the final drive as the Sharks narrowed the Predators lead to just one point when David Murray (Sharks) scored his first touchdown of the 2017 campaign. The Sharks then attempted a 2pt conversion to win the game. The Predators defense successfully prevented the Sharks from scoring to win their first game of the season.

 

Highest Scoring HACL games

  1. Inverness Royal Academy Sharks 40-41 IHS/Culloden Predators (2017)
  2. Culloden Academy Raptors 28-50 Inverness Royal Academy Sharks (2015)

(This game was forfeited by the Sharks prior to the kickoff.)

  1. Inverness Royal Academy Sharks 0-73 Millburn Academy Eagles (2014)
  2. Inverness Royal Academy Sharks 6-64 Black Isle Stags (2016)
  3. Inverness Royal Academy Sharks 0-70 Inverness High School Predators
  4. Black Isle Stags 68-0 Culloden Academy Raptors (2015)
  5. Inverness High School Predators 55-12 Inverness Royal Academy Sharks (2014)
  6. Inverness High School Predators 39-26 Charleston Academy Knights (2015)
  7. Inverness High School Predators 50-12 Millburn Academy Eagles (2017)
  8. Charleston Academy Knights 35-26 Culloden Academy Raptors (2015)

HACL Preview: Stags

Black Isle Stags: 2017 Preview

Article by Tom Green…

Head Coach: Martin Macpherson

2016 record: 6-2

Highest Finish: Champions (2016)

Photo by Scott MacDonald

The Black Isle Stags have been one of the great success stories of the HACL who went from development status in 2014 to winning the league 2 years later. The Stags will be aiming to defend the Highland Bowl this year which would make them the first team to successfully defend the title. The Stags have been able to retain the majority of last year’s starters and are one of the most experienced team in terms of game time (HACL and Wildcats).

The team is also coming off their most successful ever season by qualifying for their first Highland Bowl game where they defeated the high-flying Charleston Academy Knights. It will be difficult for the Stags to improve on their 2016 performance but they will be a team to keep an eye on as they have a lot of talent on their roster and will be on the hunt for a perfect regular season.

The new playoff structure which is being implemented this year will also be a significant factor in this years HACL. The league have introduced semi-finals to the playoff which will allow for the 3rd and 4th ranked teams in the league to compete for the Highland Bowl. This wouldn’t have been an issue for the Stags last year as they achieved a perfect season but it could be important this year with the improvements made by other teams in the league.

 

Previous Seasons

Record Position
2014 DEV N/A
2015 4-4 4th
2016 6-2 1st

 

Schedule

Week 1

STAGS vs Eagles

STAGS vs Knights

 

Week 2

STAGS vs Sharks

STAGS vs Predators

 

Week 3

STAGS vs Sharks

STAGS vs Eagles

HACL Preview: Predators

The Predators: 2017 Preview

Article by Tom Green…

Head Coach: Colin Hamilton

2016 record: 1-7

Highest Finish: Champions (2015)

Inverness High School Predators

Photo by Scott MacDonald

The Predators won the HACL in 2015 and after a year of rebuilding are now in a better position to fight for a HACL title. This season the Inverness High School Predators have merged with the Culloden Academy Raptors after a difficult year in terms of recruitment to form a far more competitive team that has a chance of doing well in this season’s HACL.

The team is also coming off their most challenging season to date after losing a lot of key players from the 2015 team and dealing with a highly improved Inverness Royal Academy Sharks team. One of the advantages of having such a difficult season is that the team have a chance to improve by a huge margin and compete with a playoff spot as a result of taking on experienced talent from the Raptors.

The new playoff structure which is being implemented this year will also be a significant factor in this years HACL. The league have introduced semi-finals to the playoff which will allow for the 3rd and 4th ranked teams in the league to compete for the Highland Bowl. Last season the Predators and the Raptors failed to qualify for the playoffs but in this new system the teams would have had more motivation in the latter weeks of the season.

 

Previous Seasons

Record Position
2014 4-4 3rd
2015 7-1 1st
2016 1-7 6th

 

Schedule

Week 1

PREDATORS vs Sharks

PREDATORS vs Eagles

 

Week 2

PREDATORS vs Knights

PREDATORS vs Stags

 

Week 3

PREDATORS vs Knights

PREDATORS vs Sharks

HACL Preview: Eagles

Millburn Academy Eagles: 2017 Preview

Article by Tom Green…

Head Coach: Ally Gibson

2016 record: 5-3

Highest Finish: Champions (2014)

Millburn Academy Eagles

Photo by Scott MacDonald

The Millburn Academy Eagles are looking to be the first team in HACL history to win the Highland Bowl twice as they go into the 2017 season. The Eagles had one of the most successful recruitment drives in the league and have had the highest turnouts to combined practices in the HACL. As a result of this, the Eagles are one of the largest teams in this year’s HACL. The squad has a lot of rookie players alongside veteran players including 2016 youth MVP Alex Roberts

The Eagles have been the most consistent team in HACL history by achieving a 5-3 record every single season since the league’s inception in 2014. Unfortunately, this regular season phenomenon will end due to the restructuring of the league. The Eagles have always been in the playoff hunt under James Hudson and it will be interesting to see which direction coach Ally Gibson goes to give the Eagles another chance of HACL glory.

The new playoff structure which is being implemented this year will also be a significant factor in this years HACL. The league have introduced semi-finals to the playoff which will allow for the 3rd and 4th ranked teams in the league to compete for the Highland Bowl. If this system was implemented last season the Eagles would have been participating in the post season.

 

Previous Seasons

Record Position
2014 5-3 1st
2015 5-3 3rd
2016 5-3 3rd

 

Schedule

Week 1

EAGLES vs Stags

EAGLES vs Predators

 

Week 2

EAGLES vs Sharks

EAGLES vs Knights

 

Week 3

EAGLES vs Stags

EAGLES vs Knights

HACL Preview: Knights

Charleston Academy Knights: 2017 Preview

Article by Tom Green…

Head Coach: Ben Senior

2016 record: 8-0

Highest Finish: 2nd (2015 & 2016)

Charleston Academy Knights

Last season the Charleston Academy Knights finished the regular season with a perfect 8-0 record before being defeated by the Black Isle Stags in the Highland Bowl. The Knights are the only team in HACL history to qualify for multiple Highland Bowls and will be looking to win the game at the third time of asking. The Knights lost many key players from their 2016 campaign but despite this they were able to recruit a new team with a lot of potential.

The team are also coming off their most successful ever season where they dominated the regular season to become only the second team in HACL history to achieve a perfect regular season (the first was achieved by the Culloden Academy Raptors in 2014). It will be difficult for the Knights to improve on their 2016 performance but it would be foolish to rule out a team who have been one of the most successful franchises in HACL history.

The new playoff structure which is being implemented this year will also be a significant factor in this years HACL. The league have introduced semi-finals to the playoff which will allow for the 3rd and 4th ranked teams in the league to compete for the Highland Bowl. This wouldn’t have been an issue for the Knights last year as they achieved a perfect season but it could be important this year with the improvements made by other teams in the league.

 

Previous Seasons

Record Position
2014 3-5 4th*
2015 6-2 2nd
2016 8-0 2nd

 

Schedule

Week 1

KNIGHTS vs Stags

KNIGHTS vs Sharks

 

Week 2

KNIGHTS vs Predators

KNIGHTS vs Eagles

 

Week 3

KNIGHTS vs Predators

KNIGHTS vs Eagles

HACL Preview: Sharks

IRA Sharks: 2017 Preview

Article by Tom Green…

Head Coach: Chris Shaw

2016 record: 2-6

Highest Finish: 4th (2016)

Inverness Royal Academy Sharks

The Inverness Royal Academy Sharks are the only team who haven’t played in the Highland Bowl but after a promising preseason have ambitions of HACL glory. The Sharks had a very successful recruitment drive and have been able to retain most of the players throughout the combined practices. As a result of this, the Sharks are one of the largest teams in this year’s HACL. The squad also has a healthy mix of experienced and rookie players which should ensure that future Sharks teams beyond the 2017 season are large enough to remain competitive in the long term.

The team is also coming off their most successful ever season where they achieved victories over the Culloden Academy Raptors and the Inverness High School Predators in the last 2 weeks of the regular season. The Sharks offense also improved exponentially from only scoring 18 points in 2015 to scoring 66 points in the following season.

The new playoff structure which is being implemented this year will also be a significant factor in this years HACL. The league have introduced semi-finals to the playoff which will allow for the 3rd and 4th ranked teams in the league to compete for the Highland Bowl. If this system was implemented last season the Sharks would have been participating in the post-season.

 

Previous Seasons

Record Position
2014 0-8 5th*
2015 0-8 6th
2016 2-6 4th

 

Schedule

Week 1

SHARKS vs Predators

SHARKS vs Knights

 

Week 2

SHARKS vs Eagles

SHARKS vs Stags

 

Week 3

SHARKS vs Stags

SHARKS vs Predators

Snowy Start for HACL

Article by Tom Green…

HACL 2017 Practice

The Highland Wildcats hosted the first of their four combined practices ahead of the 2017 Highland Academy Community League season. 48 young people from the six HACL set-ups participated in the event through the cold and snowy weather conditions which led to other sporting events in the Inverness area being cancelled.

This was the first American football experience for half of the players involved in the session which is a promising sign for the upcoming HACL. The Millburn Academy Eagles had the strongest turnout out of the 6 teams fielding 13 players for the opening practice of the season. The Black Isle Stags and the Inverness Royal Academy Sharks also had large turnouts for the opening session.

After the Combined Practice, the Wildcats Youth Development Officer, Robbie Paulin, said, “I was really pleased with the turnout and enthusiasm of the players considering the weather that we had in the lead up to the practice.” He was also pleased with the quality of the opening practice for such a large event and stated that “It’s always a concern I have about the large community league practices that the quality drops considerably from the smaller Wildcats practices that we used to have at this time of year pre-HACL but some of the scrimmages that I saw today were looking great for a first practice!”

The HACL regular season kicks off at 12pm on the 11th February at the Bught Park.

Week 1 games:

12pm kickoffs:

Black Isle Stags vs Millburn Academy Eagles

Charleston Academy Knights vs Inverness High School Predators

 

1pm kickoffs:

Black Isle Stags vs Inverness Royal Academy Sharks

Millburn Academy Eagles vs Culloden Academy Raptors

 

2pm kickoffs:

Inverness High School Predators vs Culloden Academy Raptors

Charleston Academy Knights vs Inverness Royal Academy Sharks

Article by Tom Green…

Highland Bowl III

Article by Tom Green…

Game Officials

Head Referee and Back Judge – Edan Gardner

Line Judge – Daniel Woodley

Field Judge – David Smith

Overall Game Statistics

Charleston Academy Knights   Black Isle Stags
6 Score 26
1 Passing TD 3
54 Passing Yards 29
0 Rushing TD 1
52 Rushing Yards 181
0 1PT Conversions 0
0 2PT Conversions 1
41.53% (27/65) Possession 58.47% (38/65)
0 Takeaways (Interceptions) 1

 

Scoring Summary

1st Half

CHA 6-0 BLA – Calvin Campbell to Sam MacKeddie (41yard Passing TD)

CHA 6-6 BLA – Mickey Stewart (4 Yard Rushing TD)

CHA 6-8 BLA – Kyle Holleyoake (12 Yard Rush 2pt Conversion)

CHA 6-14 BLA – James Maclean to Dean Brannen (4 Yard Passing TD)

2nd Half

CHA 6-20 BLA – James Maclean to Mickey Stewart (20 Yard Passing TD)

CHA 6-26 BLA – James Maclean to Lewis Taylor (4 Yard Passing TD)

 

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Last Saturday the Black Isle Stags defeated the Charleston Academy Knights 26-6 to win the third HACL Highland Bowl. During the regular season the Knights got the better of the Stags on both occasions but on the day the Black Isle Stags took control.

Charleston won the toss and elected to receive the ball and started off the game strongly with a decisive 2 play drive which resulted in Calvin Campbell throwing a 41 yard pass to receiver Sam MacKeddie who took the ball into the endzone for a touchdown. The conversion attempt which followed the touchdown was stopped by the Black Isle defense to keep the score at 6-0.

The Stags then came out on the following drive with two strong rushes from running back Kyle Holleyoake (the first was a 1 yard rush and the second was a 9 yard rush) but unfortunately the Stags were unable to get enough yards for the first down which resulted in a turnover on downs. This was due to the tight coverage by the Knights defense which effectively shut down the Stags passing game.

The Knights then had the opportunity to double their lead on the second drive of the game in a series that was riddled with penalties. This resulted in the Knights getting a quick first down. However the Black Isle Stags improved their coverage making it difficult for Campbell to find an open receiver which resulted in the Knights turning over the ball on downs after an 8 play drive.

The Black Isle Stags responded to this big stop on defense with a more substantial drive where Kyle Holleyoake took the offense on his back rushing for 38 yards over 5 plays. This then set up Mickey Stewart to rush in for a 6 yard rushing touchdown. The Stags then took the lead on the next play when Holleyoake successfully rushed into the endzone on the two point conversion attempt.

The Stags now had the momentum in the game and were putting serious pressure on the Charleston offense. This resulted initially in a fumble (which was recovered by Fergus McIntyre) but to make matters worse, the following play was intercepted by Dean Brannen who took the ball into the endzone. Dean Brannen’s touchdown was pulled back because of a penalty after the interception.

The Black Isle now had the ball in promising field position and 3 plays later James Maclean threw a 4 yard passing touchdown to Brannen. The conversion attempt which followed the touchdown was unsuccessful but it meant that the Stags would go into the second half with an 8 point lead.

After the half time intermission the Stags started to take control of the game and they mounted a 10 play drive (due to various penalties which occurred during it) consisting of solid rushing by Kyle Holleyoake and a series of solid passing by Maclean. This resulted in Maclean throwing a 20 yard pass down field to Mickey Stewart for a touchdown. This effectively put the game out of reach for the Knights. The 2pt conversion attempt which followed the touchdown was unsuccessful but it really didn’t matter in the end.

Charleston were then held to a quick 3 and out which gave possession back to the Stags. The drive was short and sweet with Holleyoake taking the ball into the no run zone on the opening play of the drive by rushing 38 yards down field only to be stopped by the Charleston secondary. 3 plays later the Stags then increased their lead once more as Maclean found receiver Lewis Taylor on the end of a 4 yard touchdown pass. This would turn out to be the last scoring play of the game because the conversion attempt to follow was incomplete.

The game then ended with 3 quick 3 and outs by both Charleston and the Black Isle to end the third instalment of the HACL Highland Bowl.

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MVP

Kyle Holleyoake (Black Isle Stags)

174 Rushing Yards (Averaging 8.2 Yards per Carry)

The Highland Bowl’s MVP was awarded to running back and Wildcats veteran Kyle Holleyoake for his exceptional performance in the back field for the Stags. Despite not scoring a touchdown the young running back was instrumental in the victory by setting up several scoring drives whilst on his way to a huge 174 yard game. Coincidentally this was also his first ever recorded 100 yard game (his best recorded performance before that was a 99 yard game for the Wildcats last year).

Individual Player Stats

Passing Statistics

Attempts Completions Yards TD INT Passer Rating
James Maclean (Black Isle) 11 3 29 3 0 79.16666667
Calvin Campbell (Charleston) 14 2 54 1 1 33.63095238

 

Rushing Statistics

Attempts Yards TD/XP
Kyle Holleyoake (Black Isle) 21 174 0/1
Craig Robertson (Charleston) 4 28 0/0
Anthony Arenas (Charleston) 4 19 0/0
Mickey Stewart (Black Isle 2 9 1/0
Sam MacKeddie (Charleston) 1 5 0/0
Cameron Oag (Black Isle) 1 -2 0/0

 

Receiving Statistics

Attempts Yards TD/XP
Sam MacKeddie (Charleston) 1 41 1/0
Mickey Stewart (Black Isle) 1 20 1/0
Fergus McIntyre (Charleston) 1 10 0/0
Dean Brannen (Black Isle) 1 4 1/0
Lewis Taylor (Black Isle 1 4 1/0

 

Defensive Statistics

Solo Tackles Assisted Tackles Interceptions TD Batt Downs
Lewis Hilditch (CHA) 6 5 0 0 1
Lewis Taylor (BLA) 2 2 0 0 1
Mickey Stewart (BLA) 2 2 0 0 1
Fergus McIntyre (CHA) 2 0 0 0 0
90 (CHA) 2 0 0 0 0
38 (CHA) 1 5 0 0 0
Scott Robertson (BLA) 1 4 0 0 0
44 (CHA) 1 4 0 0 0
Dean Brannen (BLA) 1 1 1 0 0
Craig Roberston (CHA) 1 1 0 0 0
99 (CHA) 1 0 0 0 0

 

Stags’ Road to the Bowl

Article by Tom Green…

Photo by Scott MacDonald

Photo by Scott MacDonald

#1 Offense (scored 270 points)

#2 Defense (conceeding 90 points)

Biggest Win: 64-6 Inverness Royal Academy Sharks

Since joining the league as an expansion team in 2015 the Black Isle Stags have gone from strength to strength and have a chance to win their first ever HACL title tomorrow. A lot of the reasons behind their success is that the majority of team has been together over all 3 HACL seasons (2014 being a development year) with plenty of Wildcats’ experience among their ranks. This is one of the reasons why the Stags are the number 1 offense in the HACL by scoring 270 points which is a new HACL record for scoring.

TOP OFFENSES (HACL History)

1 Black Isle Stags (2016) 270 Points

2 Charleston Academy Knights (2016) 269 Points

3 Culloden Academy Raptors (2014) 246 Points

On top of this they have the second best defensive unit in the league and have come one of the closest teams to beating the Knights this season with both of their games being resolved after the two minute warning of the second half.

Results

Week 1:

Black Isle 38-0 Millburn

Black Isle 46-6 Inverness High School

The Black Isle Stags started off their regular season campaign against the highly competitive Millburn Academy Eagles and last year’s champions the Inverness High School Predators. In both games the Black Isle were able to dominate the proceedings scoring 84 points whilst only conceeding 6 all weekend.

Week 2:

Black Isle 14-28 Charleston

Black Isle 20-13 Culloden

In week 2 the Stags faced off with the league favourites the Knights in a tightly fought contest which went down to the wire. Unfortunately the Stags were defeated and the game had taken its toll on them which the Culloden Academy Raptors took full advantage of and almost pulled off a shock when they held the Stags to a 20-13 victory.

Week 3:

Black Isle 32-12 Millburn

Black Isle 36-0 Inverness Royal Academy

Following a shaky week 2 performance the Stags stepped up and managed to qualify for the Highland Bowl after they defeated the Millburn Academy Eagles 32-12 and winning 36-0 against a confident IRA team who had won their first game. It meant that there would be a dress rehearsal for the final in the final round of games as well as a rematch with the Inverness Royal Academy Sharks.

Week 4:

Black Isle 20-25 Charleston

Black Isle 64-6 Inverness Royal Academy

In the last week of the regular season the Black Isle Stags had a dress rehearsal for Highland Bowl III when they took on the Charleston Academy Knights for the second time this season. The game was so close that it went down right to the wire and the final play. The Stags lost the game but it showed that the title game will not be a forgone conclusion. They then went on to finish the regular season with a comprehensive 64-6 victory over the IRA Sharks to finish 6-2 in the regular season.

Knights’ Road to the Bowl

Article by Tom Green…

Charleston Academy Knights

Photo by Scott MacDonald

#2 Offense (scored 269 points)

#1 Defense (conceeding 77 points)

Biggest Win: 50-6 Inverness High School (Week 4))

The Charleston Academy Knights have qualified for the Highland Bowl for the second time in a row after completing a perfect 8-0 season. It hasn’t been easy for them to achieve with three close games on the way to the Highland Bowl including a 22-18 victory over the Millburn Academy Eagles and a 25-20 victory over title rivals the Black Isle Stags. One of the reasons behind their success has been their dominance on the defensive side of the football. Their offense has also been a major contributing factor behind the Knightss success particularly their passing game lead by quarterback Calvin Campbell who stepped up after last year replacing Highland Wildcats 1st string quarterback Euan Crawford.

Results

Week 1:

Charleston 48-7 Inverness High School

Charleston 46-12 Inverness Royal Academy

The Knights started off the season well by defeating last years champions, the Inverness High School, 48-7 in a one sided affair to get their title challenge up and running. They followed up this victory with a 46-12 victory over the IRA Sharks to round off a weekend where the Knights scored 94 points whilst only conceding 19.

Week 2:

Charleston 28-14 Black Isle

Charleston 20-0 Culloden

In week two the Knights met title challenger the Black Isle Stags in a tightly contested game which they were able to win in the last two minutes of the game by scoring 3 answered touchdowns to put the pressure on the Stags heading into future weeks. The Knights then comfortably defeated the Culloden Academy Raptors in a game which had to be cut short due to injuries.

Week 3:

Charleston 30-0 Culloden

Charleston 22-18 Millburn

The Knights sealed their place in the Highland Bowl and gave them a change to complete a perfect season after they defeated the Raptors 30-0. They then went into their last game  of week 3 knowing victory would seal their place in the Highland Bowl III. Millburn however were still in the Highland Bowl race needing an urgent victory to give them a chance and made Charleston work for a tight 22-18 win. The win also ensured that they would be playing the Black Isle Stags in the title game as it took the Eagles out of the running.

Week 4:

Charleston 25-20 Black Isle

Charleston 50-6 Inverness High School

In the last week of the regular season the Charleston Academy Knights had a dress rehearsal for Highland Bowl III when they took on the Black Isle Stags for the second time this season. The game was so close that it went down right to the wire and the final play. The Knights were able to win the game but it showed that the title game will not be a forgone conclusion. They then went on to finish 8-0 by beating the Inverness High School Predators.

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