Pirates juniors get season underway with win over Wildcats
May 17th, 2017
Highland Wildcats 12 – East Kilbride Pirates 26
Following the forfeit by their opponents of the opening fixture, the Junior Pirates finally got the season under way with a trip to face old rivals the Highland Wildcats.
The Wildcats won the toss and unusually chose to kick-off, a decision that would return to haunt them later. An early pass from Sam Montgomerie to Fraser McDonald gained 13 yards, but the drive stalled and an incomplete pass on 4th Down left EK still inside their own half. The Wildcats made the most of the field position and took just five plays to score on a 13-yard pass by Euan Crawford to Stephen McMeechan. With no goalposts on the field, all conversion attempts would have to be of the 2-point variety, and Highland’s run was stopped short of the endzone. The Pirates went 4-and-out on their next drive, once more failing to get over halfway and again the Inverness side were only too happy to profit from the situation. They rounded off another short drive with a second Crawford TD pass, this time from 15 yards to Euan Trommino. The conversion attempt failed, but Highland held a 12-0 lead at the end of Quarter 1.
Twice bitten thrice shy, the Pirates did punt on their next drive, at least making their opponents work for any scores. With a longer field to defend, the young Pirates quickly forced Highland to punt. EK took over at their own 20 yard line and set about reducing the deficit. Montgomerie completed a 29 yard pass to Struan Bailey as momentum started to build. Five plays later the same duo combined, taking the ball to the Wildcats’ 3-yard line. From there, running back Will Price carried the ball to the endzone. Price also ran in the 2-pointer to make the score 12-8 in favour of the Inverness side.
At the start of the second half, Highland appeared surprised when the Pirates chose to receive the kick-off, something they were able to do because the Wildcats decision at the start of the game. Kicking off at the start of both halves proved a costly mistake as EK’s Christian Rubuga returned the kick 61 yards for the go ahead TD. There was to be no more scoring in the quarter, but the Pirates’ defense continued to turn up the heat, forcing two turnovers, a fumble recovery by Mark Cochrane and an interception by Callum Ferguson on the last play of the period.
Starting in Wildcats territory, Montgomerie again passed to Bailey, then a strong Jack Hunter run moved the ball to the 6-yard line. Montgomerie again looked to Bailey who scored, making it 20-12 to the Pirates. Consecutive QB sacks on the first two plays of Highland’s next drive by Jack Cochrane and then Craig Sanders pushed the hosts back towards their own goal-line. A fumble on 3rd Down was then recovered by Sanders in the endzone for the final TD of the day
The Juniors now have a short break before hitting the road once more to take on Chorley Buccaneers on Sunday June 11.
Game report by Bill Campbell
Photo courtesy Scott MacDonald – check out all his great photos from the game
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