The Shropshire Revolution ended their 2016 season with a 52-21 playoff loss away to Leeds Bobcats on Sunday, despite taking an early lead in the first quarter.
Special teams star James Derry returned a punt back for a touchdown on the Bobcats opening drive which stunned the home side and crowd. However, a fumble by running back Andy Charman minutes later was run in for a Bobcats touchdown to bring the score to within one point after the extra point was blocked.
Shropshire’s defence, which has only got better as the season has progressed, were keeping the Bobcats back in their own half and only a couple of missed tackles and penalties gave the home side any glimpse of adding to their score.
Leeds got their noses in front when they went deep with a long throw into the endzone. Instead of the extra point Leeds looked to pile more pressure on the Revolution by running in the two point conversion. The Bobcats then extended their lead after a good punt return put them in great field position.
From there they ran the ball over, but this time failed on the two point conversion. If the Revolution were going to get back into this then they had to find a score quickly. Running backs Andy Charman and Matt Dudley worked effectively well to gain good yards but Shropshire couldn’t find the breakthrough.
It was the Revolution defense who came up with the goods, capitalizing on a fumble in the end zone to score and bring it back to 21-13. But Leeds bit right back after the kickoff with another brilliant run from inside their own half to double their advantage.
From there the Bobcats dominated and stifled the Revolution running game. Wide receiver Mark Phillips gave the away side something to celebrate with yet another great catch in the end-zone, taking his tally for the season to 11 touchdowns. While quarterback Adam Harris who was battered by the Leeds defense throughout the game, bravely ran in for the two point conversion.
Leeds ran-out the game to set up a meeting with the #2 seeded Newcastle Vikings, for a place in the 2016 Britbowl. For the Revolution, there will be plenty of positives to take from a long season. Having finished winless in 2015 they’ve had a winning season this time around finishing 6-4 and against all the odds, secured a playoff berth.
At the end of the game Head Coach Stephen Tonks praised all the players, including the rookies, for an exceptional season, as well as the coaches for all their hard work and effort.
For now, there will be plenty to reflect on, a few player retirements and planning for the 2017 season where the target will be to go one better. Watch this space and wait for the Revolution to begin!
You can check back here soon for more images from the match by Revolution photographer Mike Dean.
See you in 2017!