08 Dec PRIDE win in France: Game review
Having left SGS Wise Campus at 10 am on Thursday, it took the team 15 hours to travel by coach to Vichy, via the Channel Tunnel, and the squad didn’t arrive to their campus accommodation until 2 a.m. on the day of the game.
The game kicked off 14 hours later and despite trailing in the first quarter 0-7, the PRIDE defended aggressively throughout and got their rewards in the second quarter when corner-back and team captain, Edward Onamade, took possession after his wide receiver mishandled a catchable pass and took off to run it back for an 85-yard touchdown, with the help of some of his teammates to leave the score 6-7 at the break.
The Bristol Academy PRIDE took momentum from their second quarter score and at the start of the second half running back Tapiwa Munemo found a gap in the French defensive line and sped through two would-tacklers into the open field and from there, no defender got close to laying a hand on Munemo as he sped his way for an incredible 65-yard touchdown. This was thanks to an incredible adjustment in the blocking upfront from Sjostedt and Hunter on advise from OC Daniel Maher at the half.
Quarterback Calvin Stitt found slot-receiver Rob Rutherford for the two-point conversion to give the visiting PRIDE a 14-7 lead.
France, however, battled back and looked to have scored a touchdown only for their wide receiver to catch a potential touchdown pass outside the back of the endzone while under pressure from a defensive back Nathan Willis.
France continued to pile on the pressure and with less than three minutes remaining, the home side had first and goal from the 10-yard line.
On second down of this goal-line stand, safety (and captain) Cameron Burkinshaw tackled man and ball to interrupt a catch near the endzone. On the next down, France ran a sweep but their running back was forced wide out of play by a swarm of tacklers.
With fourth and goal and trailing by seven, France went for a touchdown fade pass for their wide receiver but the ball sailed harmlessly over all would be catchers.
With less than two minutes remaining and out of timeouts, France looked set to have one final possession to tie the game. To the surprise of the 800 crowd and the French defensive line, captain Burkinshaw executed a well rehearsed fake punt to pick up a crucial first down inside their own 20 and run out the clock.