A slow start from the Coventry Jets saw them succumb to a 20-13 loss in their first game of the season against the Nottingham Caesars.
A hot Sunday saw the Caesars starting brightly as the Jets bedded in rookies and shook the rust of from last year’s poor season, the Jets quickly found themselves down by 7 after a long pass was completed down the sideline and the Caesars were able to complete with a quick slant to #86 D.Merkelis. The Jets continued to struggle on offence and a slew of 3 and outs saw the defence continually under pressure in their own half, the defence refused to crack until the second quarter where the Caesers again were able to drive the length of the field before running in a 1 yard touchdown.
At this point the Jets started to rally and a long drive saw QB Dom Olney complete a 16 yard pass to Sam Hyde in the endzone, meaning the teams went into the half with the Caesars leading 14-7.
A poor start to the second half saw teams trading punts before LB Iain Coulton came up with a big interception to put the Jets in excellent field position. The Jets had the ensuing field goal blocked but on the next drive WR Raj Dhillon came up with a massive 83 yard catch and run in his first ever Jets game, unfortunately the Jets couldn’t make the PAT to tie the game up leaving things at 14-13.
Tensions were running high and the Caesars drove down the field converting a couple of 4th downs to keep the ball away from the Jets, at 4th and 15 with 2 minutes left on the clock, they converted the pass for a TD to WR Robbie Jones across the middle, the missed Pat meant the Jets were still within 7 points with 2 minutes and 3 timeouts left.
Sam Hyde and Dom Olney came up big on the drive with a completion and Olney’s running moved the ball downfield, a penalty saw the Jets 23 yards out with 4 chances for the game tying score. The Caesars buckled down on defence and with 4th and 23 to score the Jets threw deep to receiver Sam Hyde who completed the pass at the back of the endzone. Unfortunately he was ruled out of bounds despite a number of sideline observers from different teams claiming he got his foot down, regardless the game was called and the Caesars claimed their first victory of the season.
These teams will meet twice more this season and the Jets will be confident on the strength of their performance after the first quarter that they will be able to come out on top next time these teams meet.
Photo by James Harris Photography