Two years from leaving the field losing away to Dumfries Hunters in 2019, the Steam finally had a match to play.
Head Coach, Darren Mitchell stated during the season that he had a lot of wrongs to put right and it was evident the team have put a lot of work in, despite the Coronavirus pandemic hampering the programme.
Both Steam and DC started off the game well, staying at 0-0 heading into the 2nd quarter but it was clear Steam were starting to press on. A great pass by debut QB Josh Adcock to Johnny Clarke who brought in his first-ever TD, a missed two-point conversion though. (Steam 6-0 DC).
DC were causing problems with their impressive defensive line but the Steam offence was starting to get into a rhythm, mixing up a great passing and running game, then the second TD arrived. Adcock and Clarke connecting again for their second TD of the day, also connecting on a two-point conversion, a great partnership has developed between these two. (Steam 14-0)
It was a great half for the Steam, but the game was by far from over.
Halftime Darlington Steam 14-0 DC Presidents
The 3rd quarter arrived and Steam controlled the pace, but DC have to be credited by making some excellent adjustments specifically on defence but with the Steam controlling the clock well, they were able to step on the gas and after a great throw over a stacked box, debut QB Luke Mansell connected with Chris Kilgour who dropped a gear and displayed the bursting speed he has by taking it to the house for his first touchdown. Another 2pt conversion by Johnny Clarke made it (Steam 22-0 DC).
Some excellent defensive play by the Steam, getting 14 sacks, some interceptions by Liam Wood, Jordan Thompson and Captain Rob Dowson kept setting up the offence in great positions. One particular interception led to Michael Healey running the ball to the one-yard line, stopped by the DC safety at the last second!! Healey then ran the ball in for his first Steam TD, and also ran the 2pt conversion in to make it (Steam 30-DC)
Steam sealed the game with a connection from Mansell to Clarke who claimed his hattrick of touchdowns on a great throw from the QB despite being smacked in the face by the DC defender. QB Mansell then ran on the 2pt conversion himself to seal the game.
Head Coach Darren Mitchell said, “Firstly, it was just great to be out there and seeing the lads put all their training into effect. It’s been so long, for everybody. I enjoyed seeing DC get back to playing again, I’ve got a good history with them and it was great to see them on the field with us.
The coaching staff and players have worked tirelessly over the lockdown and during the periods we’ve had permission to train. I can’t be any prouder of them. Overall, it’s taken around nine years to get to this point and we deserved this. We played well, it was an accomplished performance in my opinion, which showed the team unity and efforts to make the improvements in all three phases, both on and off the field.
We had a lot of rookies in there on Sunday and they played excellent, they have integrated into the team extremely well, down to the more experienced players and how welcoming the club is. This was a team win, in every way.
This is just the first win of many if we keep pushing on, we have Gateshead in a few weeks and we are looking forward to it. It will be a great game”.
Darren Mitchell (Head Coach)