2 May Victory over Canada’s Selwyn House
Selwyn House -22 Bristol ‘Pride’ Academy
By Lucas Milsom (SGS College, Game Journalism, 1st year)
Bristol Academy took yet another win in their third international challenge of the season, as touring Canadian Prep School, Selwyn House, came away from the game scoreless in a satisfying victory for Pride at Wise Campus.
With their previous loss against France seeming a distant memory for the players, Bristol put up a performance which will not be forgotten anytime soon, as they dominated the opposing team for a -22 victory and can now add a win over Selwyn House to their already impressive resume.
After opening the game with a kick-off by Selwyn House, Bristol’s lack of ball security was exposed by their opponent’s defence, as the ball was fumbled on their opening play and recovered by Selwyn only moments after Bristol barely recovered their own fumbled ball on the kick-off return.
However, Bristol was prepared to answer back to the turnover with a perfectly executed blocked field goal and a return for a touchdown by safety Antonio Costa, swinging the game’s momentum back in the home team’s favour with the score at -8 after the two-point conversion.
Bristol’s defence began imposing their will on their opponent’s offence early in the first quarter. With a sack by linebacker Ewan Lockwood and sound pass protection by the secondary, Selwyn House were put in a hole early with a turnover on downs and a fumble on their next two offensive drives.
Bristol had the opportunity to further increase their lead but unfortunately couldn’t come away with a score after a dropped catch in the endzone by Bristol receiver Stefan Collins.
Proceeding Bristol’s called back touchdown by Calvin Stitt and a failed fourth down conversion, the defensive line dominated the trenches against Selwyn House, with a forced fumble with the recovery made by rookie defensive end, Louis Gallagher. The offence was set up in good scoring range, where running-back Junayd Ali managed to charge in for the score, adding six to the board but a failed PAT attempt left Selwyn House chasing a –14 lead.
Heading into the second half of the game off of an intercepted pass in the end zone by back-up quarterback, Nathan Webb, Bristol’s offence was struggling to find any luck throwing the ball and were having their running game stopped for short yards. This left it up to Bristol’s defence to stop Selwyn from chipping away at the lead, early in the third quarter.
Pride’s defence remained impenetrable on each of Selwyn’s drives throughout the second half. With big hits in the secondary by safeties Cameron Burkinshaw and Antonio Costa, along with sacks by defensive tackle, Conor Mulholland, Selwyn House couldn’t find any momentum to march down the field and make a comeback.
With Bristol’s defence gifting their offence with turnover after turnover, Stitt managed to lead his offence down the field for a final scoring drive.
Hard running by backs Klosowicz and Ali, which got their offence to their opponent’s goal line, where Stitt juked and evaded his way into the end zone for the touchdown. He then waltzed in for the two-point conversion on a scramble, putting the icing on the cake for Pride.
Even after the final score to put Bristol in the clear path for the win, the Bristol players never stopped pushing for those extra yards. The whole team managed to stay focused and not get complacent throughout the closing minutes of the fourth to prevent Selwyn marching down the field and putting points on the board.
With a strip sack by safety Costa and hard running by two-way player, Nathan Willis, Pride kept Selwyn scoreless and on their back heels, right until the final knee of the game.
Both teams shook hands and showed the due respect for one another before taking it back to the locker rooms for further celebrating and reflection on a great day of football and a triumphant victory for the Bristol Academy.