The sun was shining as the Southampton Stags visited Langstone for a huge rivalry game, and it soon became apparent that both teams were going to put up an incredible fight. Portsmouth lost nine players to injuries, an accurate reflection on their valiant effort in the game.
The Stags weren’t alone in their visit: they brought along two squads of cheerleaders to rival the Portsmouth Phoenix who were fresh from their championship win the day before.
But on this occasion Southampton’s sideline was louder with their cheers echoing throughout Langstone campus and keeping their boys going.
The game started with no hesitation from Southampton and soon they were near Portsmouth’s end zone, but on the fourth down they opted for a field goal which was unsuccessful. However, they soon got the ball back and broke through Portsmouth’s defence to score the first touchdown of the game with no conversion.
Portsmouth’s Brook Ince scored one of his powerful running touchdowns in the second quarter, but Southampton had the same idea and soon they had another touchdown on the board, leaving the half-time score 12-6 to Southampton.
Southampton’s defence was denying Portsmouth the yards they needed to make big plays, making sure the wide-receivers couldn’t get their hands on the ball and the running backs couldn’t advance.
Portsmouth’s defence had stepped up since last week’s game against Reading but were no match for Southampton’s offence as they once more advanced down field and put another 7 points on the board after successfully converting their touchdown.
Quarterback Ben Clift was making daring runs with the ball throughout the game, some of which paid off and gained Portsmouth yards but at other times Southampton’s defence was quick to figure out who had the ball.
Portsmouth were gaining yards in the fourth quarter but it was apparent after the two-minute warning that they weren’t going to get the points they needed to win, and the game ended 19-6 to Southampton.
Portsmouth’s hopes of reaching the playoffs now hinge on three matches on 4th March and they will have the home-field advantage against bottom of the league Surrey Stingers.