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The Sydney Uni Lions maintained their enviable record against the UTS Gators with a 42-0 shutout win at Neptune Park over the weekend. Since UTS joined the GNSW in 1994, the Lions have put together an unbroken streak of 37 wins over their Broadway rivals and they were not about to let their hold over the Gators slip for this important clash.

The Lions imposed their will on the game early. Pressure from Devin Lagorio (#44), Bola Labulo (#53) and Scott Thompson (#38) on the Lions’ defensive line led to the Gators coughing up an early fumble to be recovered by linebacker Sean Jones (#99). Kiernan Dorney (#11) connected with slot receiver Victor Martin (#86) for a 15 yard touchdown pass and the Lions were on the board after only 6 plays.

The defence forced another three and out for the Gators and the offence drove methodically down the field for another score. Quarterback Dorney mixed in runs to fullback Alex Watson (#40) with completions to Justin Klein (#36) and Sam Darcy (#84), with Watson punching the ball into the end zone from 3 yards out to extend the lead to 13-0 after a missed PAT.

After the kick-off, the Lions defence again stifled the Gators within their first set of downs. Even though the Gators had tried to surprise the Lions by ditching the offence they had run all season in favour of a four wide receiver attack, the Lions took it all in their stride. The defence would restrict the Gators to only 29 net yards for the game in a dominating display.

The Lions’ offence continued to roll, this time Dorney making most of the yards on a 38 yard pass to wide receiver Brandon Ausley (#20) to get the ball down to the goal line. Alex Watson did the honours from close range to see the Lions move out to a 20-0 lead.

The Lions got the ball back for one more possession in the first half after Devin Lagorio’s effort was rewarded by getting his hand to an attempted pass by the Gator’s quarterback. The bail sailed high above the pack and linebacker Nicolai Hansen (#8) was the quickest to react to snare the interception. The offence showed good clock management to drive downfield and then score on the last play of the half to a well executed throw to wide receiver Josh Yerrell (#10). At half-time the Lions had the lead 26-0.

While the intensity may have dropped a notch or two in the second half, the Lions were never in danger of letting the Gators back into the game. After the Gators completed a pass from their punt formation on fourth down to get within striking distance, cornerback Suren Wickramasinghe (#28) defused the threat by playing his deep coverage well to pick off an interception after pressure from Lagorio had forced a hurried throw. Shifty running from Victor Martin and Andrew Smart (#29) got the Lions close, and wide receiver Sam Darcy (#84) finished the drive by running a precise pattern and diving low to hold a tough touchdown grab. With the PAT, the Lions were out of sight at 33-0.

The defence was rewarded for its strong game by driving the Gators’ quarterback into the end zone and securing a safety after blitz pressure from linebacker Steve Dabin (#45) cut off his escape. The Lions finished off the scoring soon after, with quarterback Joe Thompson (#1) finding Josh Yerrell for his second touchdown on a 25 yard pass play.

The Lions’ 42-0 win over the Gators completed a great day for Sydney Uni Gridiron, with the Sydney Uni Cubs (U19) winning 62-0 over the UTS Gators to complete the Uni whitewash.

The strong win over the Gators now means that the Lions head into this weekend’s clash against the only other undefeated team – the Northwestern Predators – with the #1 seeding for the playoffs on the line. The Lions will play the Predators at Pennant Hills Park, Britannia Street, Pennant Hills, kick-off at 7pm.¬†

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