Team Cornwall Youth AFT Win Second Tournament in a Row 3 Games to 0!
Team Cornwall Youth American Football Team u17 travelled to Cobham in Surrey for the second tournament in their quest to make the national finals for the second year running. For the second time in just over a month they beat all three teams to bring their record to 6 wins in 6 games – 18-12 v Farnham Knights, 48-24 v Solent Thrashers and 48-32 v Cobham Cougars.
On Saturday the Cornish Sharks Academy u17 squad travelled the long road to Cobham International School, to play against the newly formed hosts the Cobham Cougars and old rivals the Solent Thrashers and the Farnham Knights. The 4am start was nothing unusual for this team and despite only being able to bring nine players, the squad were buoyed on by their performance in their first tournament last month at their home tournament, when they convincingly defeated both Cobham and Farnham. The team is made up of players from the Academy teams Penzance Buccaneers, St Austell Spartans, JV Sharks Newquay and from as far north as Bude, Wadebridge and Bodmin.
The first game was against the Farnham Knights, a team who had brought the best out of Cornwall before and armed with the knowledge that they could win, kept them cool when the Knights squad lined up with more than twice as many players as Cornwall. Richard Scorse playing receiver was the first to put Team Cornwall on the score board with a great catch for a touchdown. Farnham hit back quickly equalizing. The contest was a back and forward affair, which kept the coaches and fans on the edge of their seats. Cornwall's aerial threat was ever present as they went 12-6 up in a matter of a few plays when Ben Jenkin made a great catch before Farnham hit back to make it all even again. A late run from line backer/running back Captain Sidney Cavell (St Just) broadened the lead again and Cornwall kept the game in control as they ran out 18 - 12 winners.
Next up was the Solent Thrashers, a team who Cornwall had played four times last season, but this was the first and only meeting scheduled for this season. The game started well for Cornwall with running back Jamie Jones getting his first two touchdowns for Cornwall in his first two touches of the ball and Ben Jenkin scoring a TD plus the extra points. Solent hit back with some good plays and it was 20-18 at half time. Cornwall came out firing in the second half, which started well for the defence, as some good tackles from rookie corner back Stan O'Connell, helped turn the ball over for the offence. With the defence stopping the Thrashers the offence was put back to work, centre/nose tackle Cadan Brown, dominating his opponents all day long with great down field blocking and a couple of touchdowns, further touchdowns from Richard Scorse with the game made safe by two great touchdown catches from wide receiver Ben Jenkin. The game finished 48-30 to Cornwall.
The final game was against the hosts Cobham Cougars and it started in the worst possible way for the team as a quick touchdown and point after was backed up by a fumble which took Cobham to an early lead 14-0 after only seconds had passed in the contest. It would have been easy for the team to lose heart and succumb to their tiredness – some of them had been up for more than 12 hours, but unfortunately for the hosts, that wasn't on the cards. Team Cornwall scored through the air with QB Ryan Batt showing his skills with some big plays to keep them in the contest and by half time the squad had clawed their way back into the lead 20-14. After the break Team Cornwall quickly illustrated why they have been nicknamed “The biggest, little team in the country” showing not only their skills, but their heart, with wide receiver/corner back Richard Scorse getting another great touchdown grab, before an incredible tackle which saw Cobham’s running back lose his helmet in the process. Rookie Ben Treloar (nose tackle and quarter back) playing his first game, made some great plays at nose tackle, pressurizing the Cougars QB forcing incompletion after incompletion. Finn Corney, corner back and wide receiver, also playing in his first game, made some great tackles stopping their offence in their tracks. The game was back and forward for the second half and it finished with Team Cornwall winning by 48 to 32. A great effort by the team in testing conditions.
Team Cornwall Head Coach Nigel Hoyte said: “We took our small squad up to Cobham and we showed what hard work, commitment and self belief can accomplish. We were one of the first teams to arrive and the last to leave. We are always prepared to travel anywhere in the country to play football. We are half way through the regular season but we always focus on one game at a time. Our most important opponent is the next team on our fixture list. The team played exceptional football yesterday and displayed character in some very tough wins. All three of our opponents played some great football and we play two of them once more before the season ends. We play our next tournament in two weeks.”
Coach Smallworth, Head Coach of the Cornish Sharks Academy of American Football said: Yesterdays tournament was a great display by such a small team with most players playing both ways (offense and defense). The games were really physical and the youngsters showed their character and everyone of them were stars in my eyes yesterday. Cornwall had the smallest squad by far, but also the two smallest players who showed clearly that size is not a factor where skill and perseverance are concerned - Finn Corney and Richard Scorse. Finn in his first game showed astonishing adeptness at tackling and Richard Scorse, became our very own “Richard the Lionheart” with a fantastic display of 7 touchdowns. He has become a great receiver. Ben Jenkins one of our more experienced players and already a fantastic receiver made some amazing catches and is a great prospect for the future. On defense and offense Cadan Brown who is a great player on both sides of the football showed himself to be a bit of a beast playing some very physical football. Sidney Cavell who earlier this year made the GB squad but was not selected to play, stepped up to show he can play for GB with some fantastic tackles. Sid dominated the defense and controlled it well and he ran the football too, running in two fantastic TDS. Jamie Jones, young running back took a knock at half time, but went on to produce a brace of TDs reached the blocks really well.
Ryan Batt the quarterback is also offensive coordinator at such a young age and like his predecessor Kieran Salai, has become a tactician with fantastic release of the football, good leadership, and an understanding of what needs to be done. Ben Trelour defensive nose guard and backup qb did great in his first ever game as did the other rookie, Stan O’Connell who made some crunching tackles. Both players showed they could play under real pressure.
They are a great bunch who have responded well to the coaching and have a great attitude. They are a credit to Cornwall, to the team and to themselves. Maybe just one lesson learned for one or two of them that they need to get to bed early the night before a tournament because of the physical football the team plays and the journeys with which they have to cope.”