Pirates enjoy North Central College challenge
June 20th, 2016
East Kilbride Pirates 0 North Central College Cardinals 81
East Kilbride took a break from their domestic season to play host to the visiting NCAA Div III side from Illinois. The inexperienced Pirates team knew they would be in for a hard time, and despite the heavy defeat, enjoyed the opportunity to play against top quality opponents.
After receiving the opening kick off, the Pirates quickly went three and out, a pattern that was to be repeated for most of the day.
North Central also faltered on their opening possession and turned the ball over with an incomplete pass on 4th Down. EK punter Steven Kane was soon back in action however, and he was dismayed to see his kick returned 66yards by Jason Ochoa for the opening TD. Liam Crotty added the PointAfter and the visitors were 7-0 up.
That lead increased when running back Jack Dibble doubled the advantage on an 11 yard dash with Crotty again converting. The writing was on the wall for East Kilbride when Dibble added another TD, this time from 7 yards, then his third from 19 yards before the end of the first quarter. With Crotty successfully converting both, the Pirates trailed 28-0 going into the second period.
The Pirates coughed up the ball on the first play of the Quarter, leaving the Cardinals with a short field. They immediately capitalised as Bart Diehl ran the ball in from the 21-yard line on 1st Down.and Crotty converted.
The next NC drive brought another score with QB Broc Rutter carrying the ball in from 16 yards. He appeared to fumble, but was ruled to have crossed the goal line before losing the ball. The reliable Crotty tagged on the extra point making the score 42-0.
East Kilbride’s next drive was short lived as a Stephen McCluskey pass was picked off by Ochoa. Rutter then passed to Cory Hartema for a 26-yard TD, but Crotty’s first miss of the day left the score at 48-0.
The one-way traffic continued when Brett Miller passed to Alex Ulmer from 35 yards (PAT good) and Dibble notched his fourth TD, this time from 10 yards, leaving the visitors with a commanding 61-0 lead at the interval.
Perhaps surprisingly, there was only one more score in the third period. That came on a 1st-and-goal from the 1, and Mike Riggio strolled into the endzone untouched (PAT good). Early in the final quarter Dibble added his fifth score, going in from 13 yards (PAT good) and it only remained for Alex Ulmer to put the exclamation mark on the performance with the 12th TD of the game on a 7 yard run.
At the end of the game, the Cardinals coaching staff took time to pass on some tips to the Pirates players, even holding an impromptu session with the Offensive Line. Players, coaches, staff, families and friends of both sides then adjourned for an evening of socialising that carried on into the “wee small hours”.
Over £650 was also raised at the game in aid of this year’s club charity – the PURA Syndrome Foundation.
The Pirates are back on league business this weekend when they face the Merseyside Nighthawks on Saturday (25 June ). Having lost to the Nighthawks earlier in the campaign, this is a “must win” for East Kilbride. The game at Hamilton Rugby Club kicks off at 14:30.
Report by Bill Campbell
Photos courtesy Duncan Gray, Duncolm Photography
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