9th November 2001 - BYAFA Youth Kitted Final

The Sundevils ran out easy winners in the most one sided final to date. The Hammerheads fumbled the opening kick off away and from there on in, despite a truly brave and gutsy performance, they were punished for virtually every mistake.

A 48yd run by Sundevils MVP Shaun Smith set up the south coast outfit at the Handforth 14, where Dale Powell jinxed in to open the scoring within the first two minutes. A play action QB keeper allowed Baynham to stroll in for the extra two. Forced to punt on their opening drive, the Handforth snap sailed over the punter’s head before he managed to recover it on his own ten yard line. Baynham rolled out right and hit Coultas, standing alone in the endzone to increase the score. Smith added to his tally by snaring the extra two point pass to leave the Sundevils ahead by 16 – 0. With the league’s best defense stifling the Hammerheads, the Sundevils next possession started on their own 49 yard line. It finished two plays later when Smith scampered in off left tackle from 49 yards out. Baynham, who used the shovel pass most effectively all afternoon, once again rolled right and dunked the ball to Coultas for the extra two to leave the new boys in a 24 – 0 hole. The Cheshire based side found themselves in further difficulties when a double reverse resulted in a fumble, which Jenkins snatched up and stumbled in to score from around five yards out. Darren Skeels slipped in off left tackle to add the extra two and end the quarter with the Sundevils in a commanding 32 – 0 lead.

The second quarter began where the first ended with the Sundevils ground game proving far too strong and it was only a matter of time before Skeels bounced off tackles from four yards out to increase the lead. Another Baynham roll out and shovel pass to McIlroy stretched the score to 40 – 0. From there on in the Hammerheads, lead by Head Coach Stephen Rigby, seemed to shelve their nerves and came into the game. Their defense stiffened while their offense had their next two drives snuffed out by interceptions after beginning to move the ball. As the half closed Skeels once again found space off left tackle from four yards out, with Irving claiming the extra two point catch to leave the Sundevils with an overwhelming 48 – 0 advantage.

Handforth continued to claw their way back into the game, gradually matching the Sundevils during the third period and were unlucky to fall a further score behind. Coultas held onto a Baynham 40-yard bomb to set up another Skeels score. For once the extra two was unsuccessful and the margin remained 54 – 0 as the third quarter came to a close.

The fourth period saw McIlroy firstly pick of a wayward Hennessy pass and then finish off the Sundevils possession by trotting in from nine yards out. With the extra two again being added the score moved onto 62 – 0. The rest of the quarter belonged to the spirited Handforth side. Facing a fourth down on their own 14-yard line they faked a punt and wideout Aspinall pulled off a remarkable flying grab. Five plays later he showed great concentration to hold onto a Hennessy 30-yard pass to keep the drive alive. Southern had to show why they were the nation’s no. 1 ranked defense to stifle a consolation score on their own nine-yard line as the game drew to a close.

While the scoreline ensured this was never going to be a classic final, the display both sides put up was remarkable. The Sundevils were awesome with their ground game and swarming defense. They ran out worthy and very well respected champions. The Hammerheads won many friends on the day, and gained respect from all, including their opponents and victorious Head Coach Graham Thorpe. They were cheerful, gracious in the face of an overwhelming defeat, and conducted themselves with such dignity and class. If they continue to learn the lessons of this season they will be back again.