The Coventry Jets ended their season on a low note as they crashed to a third straight defeat. The previously winless Merseyside Nighthawks came from behind to take a well deserved 25-14 victory back north. Joe Black, part of the 2008 National Championship Jets side, proved a thorn in the hosts’ side with two touchdowns as well as a vital late reception. John Maher and Harry Routledge both returned interceptions for scores and Black added an extra point kick to rub salt into the Jets’ wounds. Tony Perkins scored twice on the ground for Coventry but the hosts were well beaten.
The game started well enough for Head Coach Paul Rickhuss and his team, after a scoreless first quarter Perkins danced around defenders on his way to a 23 yard touchdown. Elliot Strong continued an impressive first season as a senior by booting the extra point for a 7-0 lead. Merseyside marched downfield as they caught a major break courtesy of a Jets’ penalty. Tim Parr took full advantage as he struck Black for a 50 yard touchdown. Coventry blocked the extra point kick, which they managed a further two times, as David Cowen, playing his final game, broke through the line and got in the way of James Tinsdale’s effort.
Coventry responded well but turned the ball over on downs as their drive stalled in Merseyside’s half. Three long plays saw the Nighthawks in scoring position as Parr hooked up with Black once more, this time from the one yard line, to break the plains of the goal line as time expired in the half. Merseyside moved into a 12-7 lead at the break as Rickhuss and his team attempted to regroup. The Jets took the ball to begin the third quarter but Routledge picked off a Joe Brammer pass and sped past several Coventry players on his way to a 45 yard interception return for a touchdown, extending the lead to 11 points.
Brammer bounced back well to connect with Sam Hyde and Alex Preece before Perkins crashed in from 20 yards out for his eighth score of the season, cutting the deficit to four points. Neither team could muster much more in the way of offence but Coventry had one last chance with three minutes to play. Brammer threw a 12 yard strike to Hyde which moved the Jets towards their opponents’ half but his next pass was picked off by Maher and the linebacker rumbled home from 40 yards out to seal the victory.
Coach Rickhuss, whilst not happy with the days performance, took solace in the fact that his young team is ahead of where he expected them to be. “When I took on the job my main aim was to make sure we had a team that could be competitive in a ten game season. As the year went on I began to think we had a shot at the playoffs so it’s been a disappointing way to finish but we have a very strong foundation to build upon.” With the season now over the Jets will focus upon recruitment and are looking for players to play both Flag and Kitted Football. They’re after anyone from the age of seven up as they aim to compete in all six disciplines. For details on how to become a part of the Coventry Jets visit their new website www.covjets.com or follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CoventryJets.