In one of the biggest rivalries in the BUAFL the Derby Braves (3-2) and the Loughborough Aces (5-0) clashed at 'The Cage' in Loughborough last weekend. This game would go a long way towards confirming one of the top seeds in the MAC division, with the loser potentially looking at a trip to the plate playoffs.
Loughborough won the toss and choose to receive. On the second play of the game, Ben Burslem managed to get outside the Derby defence and outpaced everyone for a 35 yard TD. Derby looked to reply early as they attempted to drive the ball with their 'slow and steady wins the race' approach of moving the chains a few yards at a time, but Loughborough were stopping them dead in every 3rd down situation. On Loughborough's second possession they managed to score again with Loughborough's key man Adam Hope powering through the middle of Derby's injury riddled defence. A PAT later and the score was 14-0 to Loughborough.
Derby realised at the end of the 1st quarter that Loughborough's defence was stopping their inside run, so they began to open up the field with their passing game, which has been successful this season with the pickup of American QB Joe Brammer. Derby began to gain a grip of the game in the 2nd quarter with dump offs to running back Marcus Francis, who was picking up 15 yards each time. Francis managed one of the plays of the game as he hurdled a cornerback to set Derby up on Loughborough's 35 yard line. Joe Brammer threw down the middle to an open Tom Singleton-Wells who shook his man and ran it in for a touchdown with less than 20 seconds left in the quarter.
At the half it was 14-7 to Loughborough with Derby to receive the ball at the start of the second half and would look to keep their momentum. Loughborough adjusted their defensive formation to accommodate for Derby's aerial offence and after 7 passing plays in a row Derby were stopped and were forced to punt from their 39.