Portsmouth Dreadnoughts demonstrate their class against Berkshire Renegades
Portsmouth Dreadnoughts fought back from behind to win their first game of the season in a close tie at Berkshire Renegades.
The newly-promoted division one side went down by two touchdowns in the first half but were able to keep their cool and fight back to win, writes Ellie Pilmoor.
The victory means they are 1-1 in their first two games after they lost their opener at Solent Thrashers.
Head coach Luke Head-Rapson said silly penalties gave Berkshire the upper hand in the opening drives and his side needed to be more disciplined in future fixtures.
He said: ‘We had a big period in the first half where we shot ourselves in the foot a couple times, going 14 points behind and giving away stupid penalties.
‘Discipline is going to be a big thing for us this season. We gave away multiple first downs with stupid mistakes.
‘But we managed to get control of the game and I am pleased with the overall performance.’
The Renegades went ahead early on in the first quarter with a run from the two-yard line and converting the extra point to take a 7-0 lead.
They doubled their tally in the second quarter, again with a run from two yards out.
There was still time in the half for the Dreadnoughts to hit back though.
Running back Ash Martin ran 44 yards for a touchdown and kicker George Evans scored the extra point.
Then, quarterback Stu Rees threw the ball 24 yards to wide receiver Benny Debrah for a touchdown. Evans’ kick drew the teams level.
After the break, the Dreadnoughts came out firing. Rees’ throw 13 yards downfield to Dom Howes found the endzone and Thomas Usai ran the ball in for an extra two points to make the scoreline 22-14.
With Renegades forced to punt on their next drive, the visitors’ offence were back on the field.
A 46-yard pass from Rees to wide receiver Bradley Whiteman was their fourth touchdown and Evans converted the kick.
The next drive saw the hosts’ quarterback get ejected from the game for his second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
But their back-up quarterback stepped up and, after faking a hand-off twice, the ball was passed to the wide receiver who threw it downfield for a touchdown. They scored the extra point to make it 29-21.
With the game coming to a close, wide receiver Stephen Kargbo scored a touchdown and Evans’ kick gave the Dreadnoughts a 15 point lead.
In the next play, the Renegades found themselves on the two-yard line and ran it into the endzone.
When attempting to get the extra two points, the ball was intercepted by Dreadnoughts’ Josh Reilly who ran 91 yards for two extra points.
Head-Rapson added: ‘I am happy about the performance over the first two games. We could have been better against Solent but we showed what we are capable of against Berkshire.
‘Our goal this season is to try to stay up. If we can win games at home, that will be a big thing for us. It’ll be tough but every team in this division is capable of winning any game so it’s wide open.’
The Dreadnoughts face Hertfordshire Cheetahs away this Sunday.