Cardinals get season off to flying start

THE Ipswich Cardinals got their 2007 season off to a fantastic start at the weekend with an emphatic 20-2 win against the Kent Exiles in Crockenhill. After trading possession in the early going, Cardinals safety Ian Goddard intercepted a pass from Kent quarterback Joel Grundy.

THE Ipswich Cardinals got their 2007 season off to a fantastic start at the weekend with an emphatic 20-2 win against the Kent Exiles in Crockenhill.

After trading possession in the early going, Cardinals safety Ian Goddard intercepted a pass from Kent quarterback Joel Grundy. That led to the first of the Cardinals three touchdowns, a long pass from QB Chris Jackson to his favourite target Byron Washington that filled an already excited Ipswich sideline with confidence and hope.

Adam Vander Zanden kicked the extra point attempt neatly through the posts for a seven-point advantage and the hosts knew this game was never going to be an easy home opener.

The first half progressed with Kent attempting to run the ball, utilising the slight but shifty Stewart Muir, and Ipswich looking to expand the game with a mix of rushes and passes. As both sides traded fumbles, it became apparent the team that made the least mistakes would hold the advantage.

The Cardinals created a chance to extend their lead before halftime but an attempted 29-yard field goal kick was blocked by the on rushing Exiles defensive front. With time running out in the half, Kent passed on every down in an effort to move up the field in large chunks. Receiver Sean Starwind caught a Grundy pass and headed upfield before being met by a host of hungry Ipswich tacklers, who blasted the ball out of his grasp.

That turnover led to a crucial score for Ipswich, as Jackson again connected with Washington, this time from 12 yards. Vander Zanden dissected the uprights and a massive psychological blow for the visitors saw them increase their lead to 14 unanswered points at the halftime interval.

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The talk from head coach James Mitchell and his assistants Sandy Francis and Miles Innes at the break involved continued concentration and application and the necessity to try and stamp out the errors that were proving the difference between the two competitive sides.

In the third quarter, it was the visitors again that increased their advantage when makeshift running back Daryl Seabridge ploughed his way into the endzone. His six-yard touchdown run was set up nicely by an 18- yard catch straight into the heart of the Exiles defense. Whilst attempting the extra point attempt after the rushing score, it was Kent that finally got themselves on the scoreboard when a poor Cardinals snap flew right over the heads of both holder and kicker, only to be recovered by the hosts, who herded upfield, advancing the ball into the Cardinals endzone for a tw0-point score.

That play buoyed the hosts but, try as they might, the Ipswich defense continuously denied them.

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