Burnbrae plays host to top US football college touring team

Neil Baptie on his way to scoring Pirates' touchdown (pic by Duncan Gray, Duncolm Photography)
Neil Baptie on his way to scoring Pirates' touchdown (pic by Duncan Gray, Duncolm Photography)

Milngavie hosted top standard American football last weekend as East Kilbride Pirates took a touring American side at Burnbrae.

It’s the third successive year that the Pirates have played host to a touring NCAA Division III college team.

This year’s visitors, to West of Scotland Football Club’s rugby pitch, were the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags from California.

The tourists kicked off and immediately pinned the Pirates inside their own 10-yard line. From there EK gained just six yards before having to punt.

It subsequently took the Stags just one play to open the scoring. Quarterback Brenden Brown aired out a perfect spiral, hitting receiver Trey Smith in stride for a 46-yard touchdown.

Mitch Allan’s PAT (Point After Touchdown) was blocked, but the tone for the day had already been set and a procession of Stags touchdowns followed throughout the next two periods.

Geno Quaid and Victor Bunce added three TDs apiece with Will Buckstaff and Robby Weissenfels also on the scoresheet. Five of the PATs, four from Allan and one from Jackson Zeledon, were good with a further two blocked and one hitting the post.

As the half drew towards its conclusion, CMS had built up a huge 59-0 lead. When EK eventually stopped a drive, Zeledon’s 26-yard field goal attempt was unsuccessful.

The Pirates took over at their 20 and put together the best drive of the day. Two Neil Baptie–Kenny Muir completions gained 44 yards, and a pass to Stephen McCluskey added another 12. A Roughing the Passer call was tagged onto that play, taking the ball to the five-yard line.

From there, Baptie ran the ball home to put the Pirates on the scoreboard. Owen McCallum’s PAT was blocked, leaving the score as 59-6 at the interval.

After the restart, a running clock was invoked at the agreement of both head coaches. The Stags took their opening drive 49 yards on four plays before Brenden Brown carried the ball the final 11 yards to score and Allan duly converted.

Buckstaff notched his second TD of the day, with Allan’s conversion adding the final point of the contest.

Despite the heavy defeat, the day was enjoyed by the Pirates players and staff who will benefit from the experience of competing at a much higher level than usual.

The visiting coaches named Pirates’ receiver Kenny Muir as the Heroes Vodka Player of the Day. He had six catches for 75 yards in the game.