Purkiss in fine form for Dreadnoughts
Portsmouth Dreadnoughts head coach Luke Head-Rapson praised his team as they got back to winning ways.
He particularly commended the defensive backs for their efforts as his side beat Maidstone Pumas 26-0 in their first home game of the SFC South 2 campaign.
The Dreadnoughts started the match, at Hooks Lane in Havant, with confidence and pulled ahead easily in the first half with four touchdowns.
A quieter second half saw neither team make the endzone but Head-Rapson was still pleased with the display.
He said: ‘I am happy with the result, although there are things we can improve on.
‘I was not happy with the second-half performance, the offence were stalling.
‘We scored more points on defence than we did offence which was nice but shouldn’t really happen.
‘Maidstone put us in our place as the second half went on.’
The Dreadnoughts started the game with a touchdown as linebacker Murat Gumus intercepted the ball and ran 45 yards into the endzone.
The kick for the extra point went wide, leaving the Dreadnoughts 6-0 up.
With the defence now on the pitch, defensive tackle Thomas Usai forced Maidstone to fumble and the ball was recovered by linebacker George Evans.
On the next drive, running back Matt Hales ran 20 yards to get the Dreadnoughts’ second touchdown of the game, making it 12-0.
As the second quarter got under way, a long charge from running back Will Purkiss gave the Dreadnoughts their third touchdown – putting them ahead 18-0.
And with the half drawing to an end, defensive back Joe Clulow intercepted a Maidstone pass and returned the ball to the endzone from 30 yards for a 24-0 lead.
After the restart, Maidstone started to show some promise and sacked quarterback Stu Rees several times as the offence failed to make yards.
But for all their efforts, the Pumas were unable to turn plays into points.
In the final quarter, the Dreadnoughts added to their tally.
Trying to play away from their own endzone, Maidstone fumbled and their quarterback jumped on it to stop the hosts scoring a touchdown.
It saw the Dreadnoughts get a safety and two points, ending the game 26-0.
It is the first time this season the Dreadnoughts have kept a clean sheet.
Head-Rapson added: ‘Our defensive backs were excellent.
‘As a group, they were great. They gave us great coverage and multiple interceptions.’
‘Will Purkiss was absolutely fantastic, too. The offence ran through him.
‘He was outstanding and the best player on the field by a margin.’
The Dreadnoughts have a three-week break before facing Berkshire Renegades at Hooks Lane on June 11.
With free entry, Head-Rapson is hoping to see a bumper crowd.
He said: ‘It was brilliant playing in front of our fans.
‘The whole atmosphere was great and we want to build on that support.’