2018 Season

GameDay 1

Game 1 vs Hammerheads

The Falcons began their 2018 BAFA National League season with an outing against the Swansea Hammerheads, in a sunny and warm Plymouth. Exeter come into the game confident having won both their previous match-ups against the Hammerheads in the Macron Southwest Series, a confidence that would perhaps be their undoing.

Defensively, the Falcons started out strong, with Linebacker Patrick Smith getting a sack,coupled with safety George Pearson picking off a pass on 4th down, setting up the Falcons offense in great field position. QB Lewis Phillips quickly capitalised, finding receiver Paul Hindle on the first play for a TD and the ensuing extra point. However, Swansea rallied strong, scoring a touchdown of their own but missing the extra point. The Falcons next offensive drive looked promising, before it was cut off, with Phillips overthrowing his receiver leading to a pick for the Hammerheads. With the Hammerheads managing to punch it in for the 2nd touchdown of the game, and an extra point alongside it, the Falcons found themselves on the wrong side of the scoreboard at half time.

Half-Time
Falcons 7 – 13 Hammerheads

To start the second half, the Falcons came out strong, with Paul Hindle grabbing his 2nd touchdown of the game after catching another long ball. However, offensively, the Hammerheads were clicking, scoring another touchdown, converting it also. Fighting back, the Falcons staged a long drive down- field, but stalled near the end-zone, giving the ball back to the Hammerheads on downs. As the Hammerheads scored once more, the Falcons were running out of time to rescue the game. Slot Receiver Travis Osborne came up with a huge play, as he superbly caught a deep ball from Phillips in the end-zone, converting the XP as well to make it a 5-point game.

On defence the Falcons had to force a stop to give the offense a chance. Cornerback Felix Jones made a great tackle on 4th down to stop the Hammerheads gaining the first down with a running play, which would have ended the game. The Falcons offense had the ball back, but unfortunately not much time left on the clock. George Pearson had an opportunity to be the hero, catching a length-of-the-field pass in the end zone but was tragically called back for lining up offside. The final pass of the game would go sailing out the back of the end zone to end a heart-breaking game for the Falcons.

Full-Time
Falcons 21 – 26 Hammerheads

Offensive MVP: Paul Hindle
Defensive MVP: Patrick Smith

Game 2 vs Celts

After a disappointing loss to the Swansea Hammerheads, the Falcons were determined to improve against the Cynon Valley Celts, who sported a talented roster in their first season as a BAFA League side. On the Falcons’ first drive, a mix-up between QB and Receiver lead to the Celts cornerback picking off the pass and taking it back to near the Falcons 5-yard line. However, the Falcons defense forced a phenomenal 4-and-out, backs against the wall defensive stand, with superb tackling from Jay Kewley-Joy and great pass defence from Ed McKenna.

On the back of the defence’s impressive stand, the offence recovered as Phillips led an impressive, methodical drive down-field. The Falcons grabbed their first touchdown of the game, with Centre Connor Horton catching a short dump-off pass, converted by Travis Osborne for the XP. A terrific start to the game for the Falcons defence continued, with Cornerback Jay Kewley-Joy anticipating a short pass and intercepting it, taking it back for 6, and the Falcons first defensive score of the day, but the extra point was not converted.

Offensively, the Falcons stalled and gave the ball back to the Celts, but this time it was Free Safety Ed McKenna who came up with a pick after a long throw down-field, taking the ball back a short distance and ending a great first half for the entire Falcons unit.

Half-Time
Falcons 13 – 0 Celts

Beginning on defence for the 2nd half, the Falcons faced a new quarterback as Josh Evans was
replaced by the more experienced Dale Davies. The Celts opening drive looked promising before safety George Pearson made a strong play, jumping a passing lane and coming up with the interception and giving the ball back to the Falcons offense once more. A well-executed reverse fooled the Celts defence, leading to receiver Paul Hindle, running the ball in for his 3rd touchdown of the day, with Nick Gould converting the extra point.

Forcing another defensive stop thanks to some swarming tackling, the Falcons offense took to the field once again, where Travis Osborne caught his first touchdown of the day, scampering through two would be tacklers on his way to the end zone. Everything seemed to be clicking for the Falcons as Cornerback Jay Kewley-Joy snatched his second interception of the game, but offensively, Exeter couldn’t capitalise. Safety George Pearson made another great play, picking off the ball once more for his 3rd interception of GameDay 1.

Cynon Valley’s defence stood tall once again defensively, forcing a turnover on downs, and as the Falcons Defense started to rotate, they finally got on the board with Receiver Dylan Bowditch making a snagging a catch in the back corner of the end-zone in the last few ticks of the game.

Full-Time
Falcons 26 – 6 Celts

Offensive MVP: Travis Osborne
Defensive MVP: Jay Kewley-Joy


GameDay 2

Game 1 vs Trojans

The Falcons took to the field for their only competitive game of the day against a Tydfil Trojans side who had dominated GameDay 1 and sat at 1st position in the standings. Beginning the game on defence, the Falcons looked to be holding strong until the Trojans scored on 4th and Goal. Offensively, the Falcons attempted to hit back quick, however, a promising drive was cut short when QB Lewis Phillips overthrew his receiver, leading to a pick six, doubling the Trojans’ advantage.

Another interception for the Trojans defence followed, and they capitalised, scoring once again, making it 21-0. Looking for a way back into the game, Phillips was able to string together a couple of good passes to receivers Nick Gould and Paul Hindle, coupled with a strong run from Travis Osborne. Despite this, the Falcons couldn’t punch it in on 4th down and turned the ball over on downs.

The Trojans scored once again on a long deep ball, however, Phillips was finally able to get his team on the board as he found Nick Gould in the end-zone, with Centre Connor Horton converting the extra point. Tydfil continued their strong offensive display as they scored on their next 2 offensive drives. Safety Joe Kewley-Joy made a great play on an XP conversion, intercepting a bullet pass, but was tackled before he could make much progress down-field.

Half-Time
Falcons 7 – 41 Trojans

Starting the second-half on offence, the Falcons drove strongly down-field, helped by a great Ed McKenna catch for big yardage. Near the goal-line, Exeter looked like they would stall but Centre Connor Horton was found open in the front of the end-zone, catching a shovel pass for his first TD of the day. The Falcons were then able to force their first defensive stop, pushing the Trojans to 4th down, before Free Safety Ed McKenna made a great play for an interception.

The momentum appeared to be swinging in the 2nd half as Exeter drove down-field once more, scoring another touchdown to halve the deficit, with Phillips finding Paul Hindle for 6 and Nick Gould for the extra point. The Trojans would regroup quickly though, as some missed tackles from the Falcons defence on a couple of run plays lead to the Trojans driving to the Falcons goal-line, scoring on a quick shovel pass.

desperately trying to keep the game close, Exeter would score once again through a fantastic catch from Nick Gould in the front of the end-zone for his 2nd touchdown of the game, however, the XP was missed. Unfortunately it would all appear to be too little too late as the Tydfil Trojans eeked out the clock staging a long drive, scoring once more to further the difference between the two sides. Despite this, it had been a much improved second half for the Falcons – one which they had won 19 – 13 but an offensive onslaught in the first half would appear to be too much to overcome.

Full-Time
Falcons 26 – 54 Trojans

Offensive MVP: Nick Gould
Defensive MVP: Patrick Smith

Swindon Storm forfeited Game 2 of the day.


GameDay 3

Game 1 vs Plymouth Buccaneers

The Falcons entered this game against the Plymouth Buccaneers having previously lost to them in both meetings of the Southwest Series. Beginning the game on defence, the Falcons forced a quick defensive turnover when Safety George Pearson snagged a high pass on the sideline for a toe-tapping interception. QB Lewis Phillips was able to capitalise, finding Receiver Paul Hindle open in the back of the end-zone to open the scoring on the day.

Offensively, the Buccaneers fought back, staging a dangerous drive near to the Falcons goal-line, but terrific coverage from the Falcons forced the Buccaneers to turn it over on downs. Phillips lead his offense back onto the field, however, a promising drive was cut short when and errant pass was intercepted by the Buccaneers safety.

A strong defensive showing for the Falcons continued as they forced another turnover on downs, helped by great pass coverage from Safety Ed McKenna, allowing Phillips to pick out his favourite target, Ash Jones in the corner of the end-zone for another touchdown.

Half-Time
Falcons 12 – 0 Buccaneers

A promising opening drive for the Falcons, lead by fine catches from Receiver Nick Gould and Connor Horton stalled as the hosts failed to punch the ball in the, and the Falcons turned the ball over on downs to the Buccaneers once again. Another stout drive from the Defense meant the Buccaneers failed to capitalise on the possession, giving the ball back to Exeter on downs. Offensive struggles in the 2nd half continued, as Phillips was picked off once more, but the Falcons defence stood strong again, as Linebacker Patrick Smith made a crucial tackle before the half-way line on 4th down.

Phillips, attempting to close out the game, found Ash Jones on multiple short passes, but they couldn’t convert the first down and  on the final drive of the game, the Buccaneers finally got on the board as a lofted pass through the middle of the Falcons defence lead to a touchdown. Despite this, rookie Cornerback John Willis was able to get a hand in on the extra point, rounding off a relatively strong performance from all the Falcons.

Full-Time
Falcons 12 – 6 Buccaneers.

Offensive MVP: Ashley Jones
Defensive MVP: Ed McKenna

Swindon Storm forfeited Game 2 of the day.


GameDay 4

Game 1 vs Celts

The forfeit from the Plymouth Buccaneers put the Falcons at 5-2 on the year, making this game against the Cynon Valley Celts especially crucial in the race for a playoff spot. Beginning the game on defence, Exeter looked to be holding strong with a few quick tackles, however, the Celts opened the scoring on the day with a strong first drive that led to a short touchdown pass, converting the extra point as well. The Falcons looked to hit back quick, however, the early drive was cut short as the Celts forced an interception, setting them up to score once more, and making the score 13-0.

On the next offensive drive, QB Lewis Phillips found his Receiver Nick Gould wide open who caught without breaking stride for the Falcons first touchdown of the day. Centre Ethan Lewis caught a shovel pass for the extra point. Despite this, Exeter’s defensive errors continued as miscommunication lead to another Celts TD, converting the XP as well. Strong defence from the Celts pushed the Falcons to 4th down, where Nick Gould made another great catch deep downfield for his 2nd touchdown of the day, with Ethan Lewis converting the XP.

The Falcons switched defensive schemes, and it paid off, as Safety George Pearson anticipated a pass over the middle, picking it off and taking it back for a touchdown. Pearson made another great play, picking off the Celts QB again, before being tackled a yard short of another score, but Phillips was on hand to convert the good field position, finding Receiver Paul Hindle at the back of the end-zone for another touchdown, converting the XP as well. Defensively, the Falcons continued to rally from their rough start as Defensive Captain Joe Kewley-Joy would make an impressive one handed catch that would be returned it for a touchdown to see out the half.

Half-Time
Falcons 34 – 19 Celts

Beginning the second half on offence, QB Phillips found George Pearson deep down-field, who made a brilliant acrobatic catch, before being tackled short of the end-zone. However, the Falcons offence stalled, turning the ball back over to Cynon Valley. They rallied from a poor end to the second half, putting another touchdown on the board, closing the gap between the two teams.

The Falcons scoring continued on the following drive as Phillips launched a spectacular rainbow pass deep downfield that Nick Gould scooped in with one hand for his 3rd touchdown of the day, rounding off an impressive performance for the veteran Falcon. Meanwhile, on defence, Linebacker Patrick Smith would halt the Celts next offensive drive. picking up a sack and a tackle for loss, to turn the ball over on downs.

After a defensive stop, the Celts would respond with a score of their own, but with the clock working against them, it would appear that the task would be all too difficult for the rookie Welsh side. The game would ultimately be decided as Phillips lead a strong final drive down-field, with Ethan Lewis capping it off with the Falcons seventh touchdown of the game. With the Falcons defence rotating, Celts receiver Dylan Bowditch would snag a final touchdown for the Celts in the corner of the end-zone to keep the scores close.

However, it would prove to be too little too late for the upstart Celts as the Falcons would eek out the clock on the final drive of the game and closing out a tense, back-and-forth game that would ultimately lead to the first positive record in the team’s history.

Full-Time
Falcons 48 – 39 Celts

Offensive MVP: Nick Gould
Defensive MVP: George Pearson

Plymouth Buccaneers forfeited Game 2 of the day.


GameDay 5

Game 1 vs Trojans

The Falcons came into this fixture keen to improve on their performance the last time they faced the Tydfil Trojans, where they lost 54-26 in Merthyr. Beginning on defence, the Falcons were holding strong, limiting a quick Trojans outfit to short gains, however, Merthyr eventually broke through, opening the scoring with a touchdown, before missing the XP.

Despite this, the Falcons managed to hit back when Receiver Nick Gould brought in a circus catch in the middle of the field and sprinting half the field for a touchdown. True to form, the ruthless Trojan outfit hit back with two unanswered scores. The Tydfil Trojans scored again, increasing the distance between the two teams, before Phillips redeemed his earlier pick, finding George Pearson open in the end-zone for the touchdown. Merthyr would score once more in the dying moments to round out the half.

Half-Time
Falcons 12 – 32 Trojans

To begin the second half, Phillips staged a lengthy drive, targeting all his receivers, before George Pearson scored his second touchdown of the game. Clamping down on the Trojans’ athletic receivers, the Falcons forced their first defensive stop of the game, with George Pearson jumping the passing lane for the interception. The Falcons capitalised, with Cornerback-turned-QB Joe Kewley-Joy throwing to Centre Ethan Lewis for a Falcons touchdown. Closing out the game, the Trojans found the end-zone once more, rounding off a highly-competitive second half.

When asked, HC Lewis Phillips said “It was always going to be a tough ask to see off the undefeated division leaders, but we put in a spirited effort and certainly showed improvements on both sides of the ball from our last meeting. We congratulate the Trojans on a hugely successful season and wish them all the best in the Playoffs and in the Premiership next season”

Full-Time
Falcons 24 – 39 Trojans

Offensive MVP: George Pearson
Defensive MVP: Patrick Smith

Game 2 vs Hammerheads

The Falcons entered this game looking for revenge, having lost to the Hammerheads on the opening GameDay of the season. QB Lewis Phillips lead out his offence and began a promising drive, that ultimately stalled, giving the ball back to the Hammerheads. Swansea could not make any ground as Linebacker Patrick Smith made 2 tackles for short gains. Capitalising on this, Phillips found George Pearson in the end-zone to open the scoring.

The Falcons forced another stop, helped by a bat-down by Cornerback Felix Jones, allowing Phillips to pick out Joe Kewley-Joy for Exeter’s second TD of the game. However, to end the half, a couple of missed tackles allowed the Hammerheads to put up their first points of the game.

Half-Time
Falcons 12 – 6 Hammerheads

Swansea began the second half on offence, and the Falcons looked to be holding them at bay with some strong tackling, however, ex-Falcon Matt Milum made a great catch deep down-field to level the scores. As the weather worsened, the Falcons ran the ball, with both George Pearson and Joe-Kewley Joy making good yards on the ground. Pearson rushed for 20 yards before being tackled a yard short of the goal-line, where Phillips threw a short pass to Centre Ethan Lewis to re-take the lead.

Swansea were running out of time, and a long heave down-field resulted in a George Pearson interception, who took it back for 6, sealing the win and a 7-3-0 record on the season for the Falcons.

HC Phillips had this to say at the end of the game: “Credit to Swansea, they pushed us all the way again today but hugely proud of the guys who dug deep and happy to avenge the loss in Game 1. 7-3 is a record we can be proud of, especially as we’re still such a young team and we look forward to potentially going to our first post-season games.”

Full-Time
Falcons 25 – 12 Celts

Offensive MVP: George Pearson
Defensive MVP: Patrick Smith