A dominant display on both sides of the ball led the Wembley Stallions to a three-score lead at half time and with a solid defence, they never looked like losing, as they beat the Colchester Gladiators 32-6.
The Stallions chose to kick-off in the 1st and 2nd half to ensure wind advantage at the end of the game. This gave the home side’s defence an early chance to stretch their legs, as sacks from Luke Streeter, Martin Dwamena, Paul Fergus and Andis Mema kept the Gladiators at minimal gains. The Stallions’ offence suffered a quick three-and-out, but were not off the field for long after another sack from Streeter and Dwamena prevented the away side from getting any momentum.
Wembley started moving the ball with runs from Geraldas Kastauna and Carl James and a catch by Granit Uka quickly put the Stallions inside the red zone. A penalty on the next play wiped away a touchdown, but the home side were not deterred as Junior Price passed the ball to Nick Glenday in the end zone for his fourth touchdown catch of the season. A low snap meant the kick couldn’t get away on the extras, putting the score at 6-0 as time expired on the 1st quarter.
The Gladiators were kept to a quick three-and-out and another sack this time from Joe Bines and Chris Middlemas. The pressure upfront took its toll as a high snap stopped the punt from being completed, giving the Stallions excellent field position inside the 10-yard line. Kastauna found the end zone with a rushing touchdown. The extras were added by Glenday to put the score at 13-0.
An unsportsmanlike penalty gave Colchester their first venture into Stallions’ territory however, the drive quickly stalled with tackles from Dwamena, Middlemas and Brett Parnham. Whilst Wembley moved the ball with ease with more runs from Kastauna and James to put the home side back inside the red zone. A back pass to Kastauna and good blocking on the line led to another touchdown, another low snap prevented the extras, putting the score at 19-0.
Colchester couldn’t gain any momentum to get a foot hold in the game, even after a fumble from a punt gave the Gladiators procession at the Stallions’ four-yard line. Pressure from Streeter and tackles from Duncan McAslan and Pietro Pastorelli, followed by Glenn Trafford-Smith blocking a pass prevented the away side from taking advantage as time expired on the 2nd quarter.
Wembley set to kick-off for the third quarter, completed an onside kick recovered by Fraser. However, the Stallions didn’t take advantage of the short field and suffered a quick three-and-out. Tackles from Dwamena, Luke Johnson and Mema kept the pressure on Colchester and another high snap on fourth down put the home side at the Gladiators’ seven-yard line. The away side’ defence prevented any gains from running back Chaki Smith, but were unable to stop Lawrence Wild, now in at quarterback, from getting into the end zone. The kick hit the post to put the score at 25-0.
The Gladiators started to move the ball on their next drive as they started to bring in the option play to create some space. Colchester ran and passed the ball down field, finishing with a rushing touchdown. Going for a two-point conversion, Dylan Flanagan prevented the completion to keep the score at 25-6.
Colchester tried an onside kick, but Phabhat Gurung was alert and put the Stallions back in possession. The home side again couldn’t take advantage of the short field, putting the Gladiators back on near midfield. The away side kept with the option play as the quarterback used his legs and arm to put Colchester into the red zone. Johnson ended the drive, intercepting the ball in the end zone. The Stallions brought fresh legs on by mixing up the running plays between Chris Sinclair and Kastauna and catches by Glenday and James put Wembley back in the red zone. A hand off to Clark Gardener nearly ended as a fumble, but Gardener stuck with the play and ran in for his first Stallions’ touchdown. Glenday added the extras to end the game at 32-6.
The Stallions now have a winning record at 4-3 and a real shot at the playoffs. But next up is the unbeaten Cambridgeshire Cats, who will be looking to get the double over Wembley.