Demons enjoy historic victory over Leeds Carnegie
The Exeter Demons won 27 -14 against Leeds, making them the most successful team in the club’s short history
On a warm, sunny Saturday afternoon in Devon, the Exeter Demons loaded up their kit onto the coach and took the seven hour long trip up north to Leeds where they would stay overnight before their quarter-final clash with Leeds Carnegie.
A confident and motivated Demons side took to the field on a sunny but blustery day in west Yorkshire and chose to receive the kick off. An on form Exeter offence took little time in driving the ball up field as Charlie Hall and Ollie Tribe split the carries with considerable gains on each touch before rookie, Harry Brantingham danced his way into the end zone, to put the Demons on the board first.
Kicking against the wind, the PAT kick looked good until it caught the wind and failed to make the posts making the score a promising 6-0 to Exeter.
With their tails up, the ever dominant Exeter defence continued with their promising, post-season performance and after a fairly long series of third down conversions, the hosts were finally punting the ball back to Exeter who were unfortunately unable to convert on third down and were forced to punt it back.
With their defence back on the field, and the hosts in great field position, Exeter were playing backs-against-the-wall defence and as the quarter ended, Leeds found themselves knocking on the door at the three yard line – an opportunity they soon converted into points.
With the wind now against them, the hosts chose NOT to attempt what the Demons had failed at, and went for the two point conversion, but the defence held firm again and the score stood at six a piece.
Three plays later the game took a dark turn.
Exeter Quarterback, Finlay Brown drops back to pass, gets rushed out of the pocket and finds an alley up the side-line. Brown broke off a 60 yard run down the side-line and was tackled just as he crept into the end zone. What happened next changed the whole tone of the game.
As Brown was tackled, his playbook wristband slipped from his arm and was picked up by a Leeds player and taken to his own side-line, where an unknown member of the coaching staff pocketed it and claimed never to have seen it, a phenomenon that the online BUAFL world quickly coined #wristcoachgate.
Regardless, the game continued and the two point conversion attempt was unsuccessful. 12-6 up the Demon’s defence allowed little yardage and, backed up on their own goal line, the hosts were punting once again.
The kick wasn’t great and with momentum on their side, the Demons found themselves starting their drive in the opposition red zone.
A dropped pass in the end zone by rookie Chris Edwards and a disallowed touchdown run from Fin Brown meant the Demons were forced to settle for a field goal. With the wind behind him, club President Ollie Tribe easily thumped the ball through the uprights, putting the visitors up 15-6 at the half.
Things went from bad to worse for the hosts in the second half as on the fourth play of the drive, a botched snap recovered by Exeter meant that Leeds’ offensive drive came to an abrupt end, and Exeter took over possession.
Up two scores, the Demons decided to stretch out their passing game muscles. Two dropped passes by Alex Briggs and Will Straughan was not a good start. However, Brown was finally able to connect with Sean Mitchener and Alex Briggs for consecutive first downs before hitting Briggs again in the end zone for the score.
Another failed two point conversion put the scores: Exeter 21 – 6 Leeds Carnegie.
The two teams then traded turnovers as Leeds were once again held to a three and out but responded by picking off Brown, and the Exeter D countered with a turnover of their own, forcing a fumble that was recovered by defensive end, James Lee.
Exeter continued their pulverising offensive attack on the hosts with punishing runs from Ollie Tribe and Finlay Brown put the Demons in the red zone again. However, on third and goal, the Demons were unable to punch the ball in for the score and were forced to settle for another field goal to end the quarter 24-6 heading into the fourth.
Desperate times called for desperate measures as the onslaught continued for the hosts who, after surviving a goal line stand, immediately gave the ball back to the visitors as quarterback Aliko Mwambingu was picked off by Exeter’s middle linebacker; Keenan Doble. However, Exeter were once again held to only three points as they failed to break the end zone, taking the score to 27-6.
Three scores up in the fourth quarter, the Demons started repping in some second string players and resting their starters and ailing.
It was no doubt then that Leeds were able to make some yardage back and capped off an 8 play, 40 yard drive with a touchdown pass from Mwambingu to receiver Connor Graham-Kingdom. Carnegie were also able to tack on two points as Tim Cox rumbled over the line for the conversion.
With such little time left on the clock, the Demons only needed to convert one first down before running out the clock and sealing the win;
Final Score: Exeter Demons 27 – 14 Leeds Carnegie.
This victory makes the 2013/14 Exeter Demons the most successful team in the clubs 5 year history as they progress one step closer to the final.
Exeter are now set to play divisional rivals, the Swansea Titans this weekend in the semi-final, a rematch of their game earlier in the season where the Titans managed to hold on for a 48-40 victory over the Demons.
Pictures Courtesy of: Donna Whitaker