Heading back to Farrall Oval to play the Westside Steelers, the Saints were keen to build on last week’s win against the Wolverines.
The Steelers won the coin toss and elected to defer to the Saints, whom chose to receive, giving Quarterback Scott Collins first dibs at putting points on the board.
In blustery conditions, Coach March instructed Collins to pound the rock giving Running Back Doug Stewart 5 consecutive carries for 57 yards and a touchdown on the first drive with the subsequent point after a success off the back of a dive.
With the wind pushing the ball all over the place, Kicker Chris Clarkson displaced a ball out of bounds initiating a flag, providing the Steelers with solid field position. Opting to fly the skies, the Steelers made no positive yards on their first drive, punting the ball away. However, a solid return by utility Gareth Weinbrecht put the Saints right back where they began. A few errant pass attempts later had the Saints at 4 and out, unable to capitalise on a golden opportunity.
After realising an air game was out of the question, the Steelers turned to their ground game. Another unsuccessful drive saw the Steelers punt for the second drive in a row. A few gaps in the Steelers front saw Luke Hegney return the ball for a massive 40-yard gain to put the Saints at the 23-yard line. Returning to the ground, Stewart was able to find a hole for his second touchdown. Point after no good as the ball flew out of the end-zone.
The second quarter was a mix of affairs as the Saints added another touchdown on a short pass to Hegney with the second point after rushed in by Stewart. A short field was provided to the Steelers only for rookie Defensive Back Ryan Gilks to steal it away with his second interception in as many games. Has the Saints ever had a better rookie to shore up their secondary in the last few years? Some may say not even close to the efforts Gilks has put up.
The first half ended with confusion as a fumble recovery by veteran David Olivieri allowed the offense to hit the field with less than 30 seconds to go. A completed pass to Clarkson within the field allowed the clock to hit zero before a timeout was called. Saints up 22-0.
The first drive of the second half began and ended with a bang provided by AJ Wright. After queuing up a sack earlier in the night, Wright created a fumble in the backefield with Mr Everywhere Clarkson jumping on for the recovery.
Starting from the Saints 42-yard line, Collins was finally able to spread the ball by air finding Hegney, Cameron Groenheide and rookie Deven Wake for a combine 44 yards to the Steelers 11-yard line. Coach March provided another opportunity for Collins to hit the end-zone by air but all four opportunities came up short.
Backed up and nowhere to go, the Steelers gave away a 5-yard penalty to push them back on their 6 allowing Clarkson a small space to create a sack resulting in a safety. The ensuing 45-yard kick-off was returned by Hegney for 33 yards. The Saints only needed one play as Clarkson bobbed and weaved for his first of two touchdowns of the night. Point after no good.
Unable to fire, the Steelers yet again gave up great field position to the Saints. Workhorses Stewart and Clarkson were taking a breather, allowing Wright to jump in behind Collins. Four carries later saw Wright add on a bruising 30 yards. Ready for more, Clarkson hit the field and punched in the final touchdown with the point after coming good on a slant to Wake. Final score Saints 38 to Steelers 0.
With wet and windy conditions all throughout the night, the passing game was always going to be a question mark for both teams. Although losing a few pieces during the game and not able to muster any points, the Steelers put up a good fight against the young Saints brigade.
Mixed results on the weekend as the Steelers Juniors put on a great showing defeating the Saints Juniors 24 to 18.
FINAL SCORE: Saints 38 – 0 Steelers
Most Saintly Performance – David “O2” Olivieri
Sponsored by Natural Choice Waterford
An undermanned Saints team saw Olivieri on both sides of the ball raking in multiple tackles, anchoring the offensive line and coming up with a fumble and recovery making O2 our Most Saintly Performer for Round 3.