The Spartans came into the Great Southern Bowl undefeated, the Razorbacks limped into the game at 5 and 5, with many believing the prelim was won due to the Chiefs loss of Caputo in the first half. But bowl games are different, and experience counts. The hogs playing their 5th straight and the Spartans their first in over a decade.
The Spartans made mistake early, giving the Hogs a red zone position early in the first. Builder playing only his 5th game was off the mark and threw an interception inside the 10, bailing out the Spartans.
The remainder of the half was back and forth with multiple penalties, with neither offence being able to move the ball with any efficiency.
The Hogs lack of offense was somewhat expected, but the Spartans inability to throw the ball greatly assisted Adelaide University, as they essentially sold out to defend the run and dared the Spartans to pass. The Spartans have been the premier running team all season, destroying opponents with a punishing rushing attack, but today their one-dimensional attack was their undoing. The hogs dared them to throw and they were unable to answer the challenge.
The Spartans scored early after the major break, Ottens breaking through for the TD. But momentum never seemed to swing their way, their inability to capitalise on errors and leave the Hogs hanging around was pivotal, the Hogs experience meant they were never rattled.
As the 4th arrived, builder had the wind at his back and started to string together completions, eventually capitalizing with a rushing TD and the game was tied at 7. The Spartans continued to run at the Hogs D, never taking to the air. The Hogs had a chance to win the game in regular time, but the Spartans D held strong, again intercepting Builder with under two minutes to play.
The Spartans won the toss, and strangely elected to defend. The Hogs took advantage! Starting from the 25 the hogs quickly found themselves facing 4th and 6, Builder threw over the middle, converting by the smallest of margins. Shortly thereafter the Spartans jumped offside, giving Builder a free play, he wasted little time connecting with Olsson for the TD.
The Spartans now feeling the pressure of having to match the Hogs TD in order to force a second period of overtime. Continually unable to take advantage of the Hogs defensive structure with the pass, the Spartans ran into the teeth of a defence hell bent on stopping the run. Facing 4th and 1, the Hogs stuffed the Spartans winning their 5th straight Great Southern Bowl.
The 2017 prelim final was a rematch of the last Great Southern Bowl, would the Chiefs be able to improve on last year’s performance, payback for a 35-12 defeat? Not this season.
The Hogs and Chiefs traded blows early, neither team establishing any rhythm. The Hogs stuck to the run early and dividends were paid, Buckskin drawing first blood. The Chiefs responded promptly, Robbins running to pay dirt.
The next 2 minutes would decide the Chiefs season, as the hogs fumbled the kick return allowing Caputo to quickly connect with Benjamin to take the lead. A seemingly harmless hit from Vales knocking Caputo from the contest (Broken wrist not confirmed) ending their 2017 hopes.
Without Caputo, the Chiefs were unable to sustain drives, resulting in possession greatly favoring the Hogs. Olive came alive after the major break and continued to give the Hogs good field position, Harry capitalising to give the Hogs a lead they would never relinquish.
Crowding the line and pressuring backup QB Benjamin, Dawson returned a wayward pass for 6, icing the game. Builder hung tough and connected on some highlight plays late, but will need to be more controlled and accurate against a sharp Spartans defence.
All will be revealed next weekend as the Hogs look for 5 in a row and the Spartans look for their first bowl victory in over a decade. Riverside at 16:00.
RAZORBACKS: Builder 1 passing, Buckskin 2 rushing, Harry 1 rushing, Olive 1 receiving, Dawson INT for TD
CHIEFS: Caputo 1 passing, Benjamin 1 receiving & 1 passing, Robbins 1 rushing, Meyers 1 receiving
For the second year in a row the Eagles have defeated the Hogs in their last game of the season. Since the loss of Welbourn the Hogs have struggled to find a consistent offensive attack, winning 1 from the last 6, finishing the season 5 and 5. How will this recent form effect the Hogs as they prepare to meet the Chiefs in the prelim this Saturday? Scoring and game reports currently unavailable.
The Spartans finish the season undefeated and look forward to a week of rest as the Razorbacks and Chiefs fight it out this week for the chance to meet the Spartans in the Great Southern Bowl. Scoring and game reports currently unavailable.
The Oilers have run out of gas, as they were run over by the Spartans handily. The fantastic 3 game streak, a high point for a team whom have struggled the past 3 seasons, has ended.
The Spartans continued their rushing dominance, with Volar accounting for another 4 TD’s.
With a Great Southern Bowl berth guaranteed, the Spartans wade into unfamiliar waters (Not having played in a bowl game/GF in 10+ seasons) how will they approach the remaining games? Is now the time to rest players, considering the approaching bye? Is there a mental advantage beating a potential bowl opponent this week?
With the Chiefs already locked into the finals and the Eagles eliminated, would this game serve as a tune up for the Chiefs or a chance for the Eagles to evaluate players for season 18?
The Chiefs scored often and early, with both their starting and backup quarterbacks each accounting for 3 TD’s. Whilst Crummey struggled mightily, tossing 3 interceptions in the first half, effectively ending the contest before the major break. Crummey did pass for 3 TD’s on the day, but the contest out of reach.
The Chiefs will now face the Spartans, before meeting the Hogs in the prelim. The Eagles are left wondering, after swapping throughout the season who will be the all-important trigger man in 18? They have one more chance to find out as the face the Hogs 4pm Saturday.
The Race for MVP is on with Volar and Vales seemingly pulling away. Volar leading the league in rushing (closing in on a 1000 yard season) and sacks, Vales second in receiving TD’s, leading QB’s pressures and at the pointy end of sacks, fumble recoveries and tackles.
As the Spartans, Chiefs and Hogs look toward the Great Southern Bowl it’s time to increase your fantasy stock lads.
The Chiefs opened strong, scoring on their first possession, before Tedmanson and the Oilers got rolling. The Chiefs continued to turn the ball over at an alarming rate (five in the first half) and the Oilers continued to take advantage. Tedmanson connected with Eves twice, before Munce took an interception to the house.
Tedmanson ran another score in as time was running out in the second, giving the Oilers their highest score of the season.
Benjamin replace Caputo in the second half and managed to throw a TD late, resulting in an entertaining two point conversion.
The Chiefs fall to 4-4 and will look to peak at the right time in order to reach the Great Sothern Bowl.
The Oilers move to 2-6-1 and have not lost in three weeks, positive signs as they continue to build toward the 2018 season.
OILERS: Tedmanson 2 passing, 1 rushing, Eves 2 receiving, Munce INT for TD,
CHIEFS: Caputo 1 passing, Benjamin 1 passing, 1 receiving, Meyers XPNT return, Riach 1 receiving.
With past Spartans and Hogs in attendance, the 2017 outfits put on a dull display of turnovers, one series in the first quarter the Spartans fumbled, with the hogs returning the favor two plays later. The first half being somewhat uneventful.
Van Pamelen scored his first of the day early in the 3rd. Brad Vegera intercepted Lawrence twice late in the fourth, allowing Van Pamelen to dive in from ½ yard out. Final score 12-0.
The Spartans are now minor premiers with 2 contests remaining, and have a berth in the Great Southern Bowl. Will the offensive side get back on track after a quiet week, can Volar reach 1000 yards, will they remain undefeated?
The Hogs will need to regroup and devise a scheme to generate points as they fight for a bowl rematch against the Spartans.