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Lancaster Bombers snook past Leeds Carnegie 26-24 after a fourth quarter stand-off. Lancaster triumphed in a tense encounter as they continue their drive towards the playoffs.
The Bombers struggled in the first quarter, only managing to score two points when the Leeds Quarterback’s 2 point conversion pass was intercepted by Marc Handley who sprinted 80 yards for the score, leaving the Carnegie players in his wake.
Carnegie reached 12 points in the first half before an injury to one of their players stopped the game for close to half an hour. After the air ambulance had carried the player away, play resumed. Carnegie struck again with a third score before the end of the first half. However wide receiver Jason Kloze returned the ensuing kickoff 75 yards for six much-needed points. The two point conversion saw Quarterback Len de Wit execute a perfect pump fake, fooling the Leeds players to back off into coverage before he darted into the end-zone to pull the score back to 10-18 just before half time.
The half time break seemed to revitalise the bombers side. De Wit, a former standout basketball player in Canada, ducked and dived all his way to gain many invaluable yards for the Bombers offensive, but ultimately it was the pace and power of Swedish Running Back Didrik Finnoy that brought Lancaster back into the game.
The end of the third quarter saw the game delayed further with a serious injury to a Carnegie player as he broke his clavicle while Bombers Right Tackle Stephen Fan, after initially seeming fine after a collision collapsed to the ground with severe concussion.
Both teams were forced to adapt due to the injuries, meaning Tim Barton, Peter Schaefer and Max Mitchell finished the game playing on both Offensive and Defensive teams. It also saw a debut for Defensive Tackle Gregor Dickie, who rotated in with Defensive End Harrison Bennett.
After the break for the injured players to be seen to by paramedics and the Bombers still down 18-10 Finnoy ran the ball in for a touchdown, then de Wit converted the two point conversion bringing the score to 18-18, only for Carnegie to take back the lead 24-18 at the start of the fourth quarter.
However the Bombers are a team never to let their spirits drop, stepped up with Finnoy running in yet another score, with de Wit converting the two point conversion yet again to bring the Bombers on top 26-24 with just one minute left to play.
The Bombers defence adjusted for the Carnegie Offense, bringing on Pete Schaefer at Defensive End. Schaefer brought down the Carnegie Running Back for a three yard loss to finish the game 26-24.
Coach Chris Plant said: “The team showed it’s resolve to come back from such a deficit, I never stopped believing the Bombers could do it, but in future we need to play four quarters of quality football, not just one. If we are to take the team deep into the playoffs then we need the intensity, drive and focus we had in the final quarter, all game long”.
The Bombers next game is on the March 6 versus Bangor in a game Lancaster will expect to win.