On a cold and bleak October Sunday, the Bucs hosted the Coventry Bears for some Cadet & Junior Flag friendly games, and although the weather wasn't the friendliest the games definitely were.
The Cadets played first and it was the Bears who struck first with a short pass to receiver Kieran Eaton who then ran the rest of the field to score the first points of the day, the extra point conversion was no good making the score 0 - 6 to the Bears. The Bucs not to be shown up came and on the first play Quarterback Zak Christie completed a short pass to receiver James Schofield who then outran the Bears Defence to make tie the score, Christie then connected with Center Liam Cornes to give the Bucs the Lead 7 - 6.
As the two teams traded possessions it was the Bucs who were to put the next points on the Board with Christie throwing the ball 8 yards into the endzone, with Schofield making an amazing diving catch for the touchdown. Christie found Cornes once again for the Conversion giving the Bucs a 14 - 6 lead going into the half.
The second half saw the Bucs start on offence but the Bears defence looked fired up and shut them out and get possession of the ball, unfortunately for the Bears the Bucs defence had the same attitude and so the Bucs soon had the ball back. As the Bucs drove downfield, a halfback option fooled the Bears defence with Schofield receiving the toss from Christie but then pass it back to him after drawing the defence in, Christie then ran 7 yards into the endzone to make the score 20 - 6. The conversion however was intercepted by Kieran Eaton and looked set to go back the other way for 2 points but for Stefan Collins chasing down the run away bear to make the tackle.
This sparked up the Bears who with a run from Meshach McCook for the full length of the field gave the Bears their second touchdown of the day, the extra point was no good though making the score 20 - 12 to the Bucs. The Bucs knew that this game was far from over and the offence took the field and drove down to within 9 yards of the endzone. Unstoppable QB Christie found his trusty center once again but this time for 6 points, however the extra point was no good to put the score at 26 - 12.
Coventry as always not to be outdone came out and a short pass from Vickie Mepstead to Precious McCook saw her dodge several tackles and go bounding all the way for the score bring it once again to a close game with score at 26 - 18 with the extra point conversion falling incomplete. The Bucs offence seeming to be on a roll where soon brought to a halt when the Bears intercepted Christie's pass to Collins.
One play was all the Bears needed as a rookie QB Ben Eaton came on and fired a 15 yard pass over all of the Bucs defence to connect with his brother Kieran who was then homeward bound to the endzone bringing the score to 26 - 24. The Bears knew that with time dwindling down fast they had to go for 2 points make the score all even and as a nice looking pass headed towards the endzone. Collins once again showed some great awareness and plucked the ball out of the air and ran it from endzone to endzone to give the Bucs the 2 points instead to make the score 28 - 24.
With the game in the last two minutes and score being so close the Bucs were running down the clock but found themselves in the 'no-run' zone and had no choice but to pass it, sure enough though that man Cornes was calling for the ball and Christie once again threw his team mate a perfect pass to give the Bucs another score. Christie then connected with Dominic Wilson to end the game with the final score of 35 - 24 to the Bucs and their first win over Coventry this season.
Junior Flag Game
With the Junior teams itching to play moments after the Cadet game had finished the two teams were on the field and ready to go.
The Bears were first on offence but were shut out by the Bucs defence and had to resort to the sideline. As the Bucs offence took the field the first play for them saw Quarterback Arron Taylor throw the ball direct to a Bears rookie cornerback Josh Michelle who then ran 6 yards into the endzone to open up the scoring. The extra point saw Bears Quarterback Mepstead connect with Tom Clancy to make the score 0 - 7.
The Bucs offence retook the field and this time drove downfield and QB Taylor shrugging off the previous interception connected with Will Powley for the Bucs first score, the extra point was no good leaving the score at 6 - 7 to the Bears. The Bucs defence once again shut down the Bears offence and it looked like they had the upper hand, however the Bears had different ideas and another Intercepted Taylor pass found the teams change round again. Mepstead took no time in connecting with Clancy for a Touchdown but the conversion was no good and the score was now 6 - 13.
As the Bucs Offence retook the field the ground game came into play and Running Back Matt Holt ran the whole length of the field for his first touchdown of the day, and after an incomplete conversion attempt the score become 12 - 13. The two teams then traded possessions but Coventry soon widened the gap by scoring again, and then went for 2 points and a pass from Mepstead to Clancy saw the score go to 12 - 21.
As the two teams looked set not to give up, Bucs rookie running back Callum ran the whole length of the field to make the score 19 - 21, then Coventry answered straight back making it 18 - 27. Callum wasn't content in scoring one touchdown in his first ever game and went full length of the field to make it 24 - 27, the Bucs then got their first extra point conversion of the day with Taylor passing to Connor Martindale to bring the score even closer to 25 - 27 to bring a thrilling first half to an end.
The second half started and the first points weren't until 8 minutes into the half when Taylor connected with Holt for a one yard touchdown and then the same due joined forces again for the one point conversion giving the Bucs the lead for first time in the game with the score at 32 - 27.
The two teams traded possessions again with the Bears ending a Bucs offensive drive with Clancy picking off an arrant pass from Taylor due to great pressure from Terrell Burgess who was playing in his first game for Coventry. The Bears then went on to get into the endzone with Clancy now playing QB and finding Center Josh Keys for 6 points, Clancy then connected with Brad Bowers for the one point giving the Bears the lead once again with the score at 32 - 34.
With full time closing in Buccaneers Callum once again ran over half the field for his third score of the day, the Buccaneers decided to go for 2 points for a bigger lead and QB Taylor hit Powley on a short pass who then ran into the endzone for the 2 points and to put the score at 40 - 34 to the Bucs.
The game was inside the last two minutes now and both teams traded possessions once more but then in the last 20 seconds Mepstead connected with Clancy on a long pass with Matt Holt making a score saving tackle and as the Bucs defence got the Bears to 4th down but with only 4 yards needed to score, Mepstead found Bowers again to even the scores at 40 - 40. With the extra point being the last play of the game it was all on this and as every coach, player and spectator watched eagerly the Bucs knocked the ball down to finish the game a tie.