Ouse Valley Eagles 14 Hertfordshire Cheetahs 12
The Eagles moved to a 2-0 with a hard fought, come from behind victory over local rivals the Hertfordshire Cheetahs in a blustery game at Bedford International Athletics Stadium on Sunday.
Trailing 12-0 going into the fourth quarter, Quarterback Justin LaRoda connected with Chris Cowley to start the comeback, and ran in a second himself from four yards out to cap a remarkable turnaround.
The Eagles won the toss and deferred, so the Cheetahs received the ball and started on their own 20-yard line thanks to a touch back.
After a couple of strong runs through the middle which resulted in a first down the Cheetahs’ drive stalled and they were forced to punt, and the Eagles started on their own 25-yard line.
The Eagles offense drove the ball well all the way down to the Cheetahs one-yard line, but fumbled the ball on first and goal to turn the ball over.
Both sides traded possessions for the rest of the first half without ever really troubling the opposition red zone, and it was no surprise to see the teams go in level at the interval.
Half time score: Eagles 0 Cheetahs 0.
The Eagles started the second half on their 20 following another touch back, but turned the ball over after going for it on fourth and short on the 29.
A defensive penalty backed the Eagles up further, and the Cheetahs ran the ball in from 10 yards to finally open the scoring, although the extra-point attempt was no good.
On the Eagles’ next possession the ball was picked off on third down to give the Cheetahs the ball on the forty-yard line, and following some strong running they were soon back in the red zone.
A 14-yard pass later and the Cheetahs had doubled their advantage but were unsuccessful with the two-point attempt, which would come back to haunt the men from Hertfordshire.
The teams again traded possessions for the rest of the third quarter, but the start of the fourth brought the Eagles to life.
Starting with the ball on their own 23, LaRoda completed four quick passes to bring the Eagles down deep in opposition territory. He connected with Cowley on a slant to reduce the deficit, and once the PAT was successfully converted the lead was cut to five.
A couple of exchanges of possession later the Eagles began again on their own 45. LaRoda and the offense drove down inside the Cheetahs five-yard line, and when LaRoad ran the ball home the Eagles lead for the first time with a little over two minutes left on the clock.
On what would turn out to be the Cheetahs’ final drive Andy Larwill sacked the Herts QB on second and seven, and when Chris Parr intercepted the ball on fourth and four with a minute to play the offense just had to kneel out the clock to seal a vital divisional win.
Final score: Eagles 14 Cheetahs 12.
Our next game is on Sunday 26th April, away to the Birmingham Bulls.
Thank you to our friends at 2G Creative for the photo.