2003 Season

2003 Scottish Claymores Game by Game

Date Opponent Result Record Attendance
04/06/2003 (Sun) Berlin Thunder W, 62-31 1-0-0 14,894
04/13/2003 (Sun) Frankfurt Galaxy L, 17-13 1-1-0 11,104
04/19/2003 (Sat) @ Rhein Fire L, 34-17 1-2-0 43,985
04/27/2003 (Sun) @ Berlin Thunder W, 34-17 2-2-0 10,413
05/04/2003 (Sun) Barcelona Dragons L, 17-10 2-3-0 8,783
05/10/2003 (Sat) @ Frankfurt Galaxy L, 33-27 OT 2-4-0 22,324
05/18/2003 (Sun) Rhein Fire W, 33-0 3-4-0 8,279
05/24/2003 (Sat) @ Amsterdam Admirals W, 31-20 4-4-0 11,259
05/31/2003 (Sat) @ Barcelona Dragons W, 45-7 5-4-0 8,247
06/08/2003 (Sun) Amsterdam Admirals W, 31-14 6-4-0 10,497

2003 Scottish Claymores Roster

No Surname Firstname Position Height Weight Birth College How Acquired
90BinghamTJDE6-326728/05/1977Ouachita BaptistNFL Kansas City
69BlandJustinT 6-634511/02/1980MissouriNFL Oakland
21BlenmanRowelleDB5-920531/12/1967HarperNational England
92Bolling Nate DT6-428710/01/1979Wake ForestNFL Baltimore
82BrightAnthonyWR6-117028/03/1977Valencia CCNFL Houston
63BroylesJamesOG6-431218/08/1978SW Missouri StateNFL St. Louis
26Carter DyshodDC5-1019718/06/1978Kansas StateNFL New England
22CherryJ'JuanCB5-1120028/10/1976Arizona StateFA-03
64CostaDavidG6-530708/09/1978WisconsinNFL Pittsburgh
81CouperScottWR6-017006/01/1970StrathclydeNational Scotland
54DurdeAdenLB6-123710/07/1979NANational England
91FlickingerRobertDE6-424521/11/1971GeorgetownNational England
57HareStuartLB6-122020/05/1980NANational Scotland
28HarperDeveronDB5-1118715/11/1977Notre DameD2-03
8HartRobK5-1017104/11/1974Murray StateNational England
33HicksMauriceRB5-1020022/07/1978North Carolina A&TNFL Chicago
30HutchinsonStephenRB5-1122612/12/1970MiddlesexNational England
43Jackson BobbyS6-021603/10/1979IllinoisNFL Green Bay
66JohnsonJoeT 6-431013/09/1980Central MissouriNFL Dallas
85KentRashodTE6-627507/06/1980RutgersNFL Houston
58KeysIsaacLBO6-426506/06/1978MorehouseNFL Green Bay
97LandryMichaelDE6-326712/01/1978Southern U.NFL Kansas City
94LockhartRadellDL6-227211/05/1979Catawba D10-03
20MalanMikeFB5-1123508/04/1980BrownNFL New England
16McCreadyScottWR6-020001/02/1977South FloridaNFL New England
80MinardiJohnWR6-119019/10/1979ColoradoNFL Houston
67MooreBrandonG6-329526/04/1980IllinoisNFL NY Jets
1NallCraigQB6-322821/04/1979NorthWestern (La) StateNFL Green Bay
46NicolsonJeffTE6-623826/06/1980NapierNational Scotland
95PetersonDeVonteDL6-228501/04/1978Catawba D11-03
50PetterssonJensLB6-223526/06/1976Wisconsin-PlattevilleNational Sweden
59RobinsonDarnellLB5-1122716/03/1978Oregon StateD19-03
44RobinsonRobbieS 5-1120007/12/1978ColoradoNFL St. Louis
23Rogers RonaldDB5-1018012/07/1978Western MichiganD5-03
25RoothsJamesDB5-1121009/11/1976Shepherd CollegeNFL Tampa Bay
70SandlinKennyOC6-231312/01/1978ArkansasNFL Minnesota
68ScukanecJasonOC6-230417/12/1978Brigham YoungNFL Tampa Bay
86ShepherdEdellWR6-117518/05/1980San Jose StateNFL Chicago
24SimontonKennethRB5-719407/06/1979Oregon StateNFL Buffalo
14StaffordShaneQB6-221514/03/1976ConnecticutNFL New England
9StemkeKevinP6-218723/11/1978WisconsinNFL Miami
87TraffordRodneyTE6-325021/11/1978South CarolinaNFL New England
53WadleyShannonLB6-122812/12/1976South CarolinaFA-03

2003 Scottish Claymores Statistics

Passing Att Cmp Pct Yds Avg Lg TD TD% Int Int% Sack Loss Rating
Craig Nall 258 151 58.5 2050 7.95 52 18 7.0 7 2.7 13 66 95.9
Shane Stafford 78 47 60.3 589 7.55 33t 8 10.3 6 7.7 1 10 85.9
Rodney Trafford 1 0 0.0 0 0.00 0 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0 39.6
TOTALS 337 198 58.8 2639 7.83 52 26 7.7 13 3.9 14 76 93.3
Rushing Att Yds Avg TD Lg
Ken Simonton 162 871 5.4 8 70
Maurice Hicks 74 546 7.4 4 93t
Mike Malan 17 106 6.2 0 17
Craig Nall 15 41 2.7 0 13
Shane Stafford 12 28 2.3 0 17
Stephen Hutchinson 3 12 4.0 0 5
John Minardi 1 2 2.0 0 2
TOTALS 284 1606 5.7 12 93t
Receiving Rec Yds Avg TD Lg
Ken Simonton 39 382 9.8 2 40
Edell Shepherd 29 518 17.9 4 49
John Minardi 29 470 16.2 5 34t
Mike Malan 25 241 9.6 4 34t
Scott McCready 23 337 14.7 3 52
Rodney Trafford 18 223 12.4 1 24
Anthony Bright 12 224 18.7 3 33t
Rashod Kent 9 92 10.2 1 24
Scott Couper 7 87 12.4 2 35
Maurice Hicks 6 56 9.3 1 18
Stephen Hutchinson 1 9 9.0 0 9
TOTALS 198 2639 13.3 26 52
Kickoff Returns Num Yds Avg FC TD Lg
James Rooths 12 285 23.8 0 0 47
Ken Simonton 6 221 36.8 0 0 66
Maurice Hicks 7 126 18.0 0 0 23
Jermaine Chatman 3 94 31.3 0 0 42
Anthony Bright 3 43 14.3 0 0 22
Scott McCready 1 34 34.0 0 0 34
Jens Pettersson 1 7 7.0 0 0 7
Nate Bolling 1 0 0.0 0 0 0
TOTALS 34 810 23.8 0 0 66
Punt Returns Num Yds Avg FC TD Lg
Ken Simonton 20 199 9.9 3 0 19
Ronald Rogers 2 12 6.0 0 0 12
James Rooths 4 6 1.5 0 0 6
TOTALS 26 217 8.3 3 0 19
Punting Punts Yds Avg Lg TB In20 Blk Ret Yds Net
Kevin Stemke 35 1382 39.5 54 4 10 0 21 133 33.4
TOTALS 35 1382 39.5 54 4 10 0 21 133 33.4
Kicking PAT FG 0-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+ Lg Pts
Rob Hart 37/38 9/13 1/13/45/80/00/035 64
Brian Holmes 0/0 1/5 0/00/01/30/00/237 3
TOTALS 37/38 10/18 1/1 3/4 6/11 0/0 0/0 37 67
Defense Sacks Loss Ints Yds Avg TDs Lg
T.J. Bingham 7.0 -- 0 0 0 0 0
Nate Bolling 1.5 -- 0 0 0 0 0
Dyshod Carter 0.0 -- 1 7 7.0 0 7
Robert Flickinger 3.0 -- 0 0 0 0 0
Deveron Harper 0.0 -- 2 17 8.5 0 17
Yubrenal Isabelle 1.0 -- 0 0 0 0 0
Michael Landry 6.5 -- 0 0 0 0 0
Radell Lockhart 6.0 -- 1 4 4.0 0 4
Devonte Peterson 1.0 -- 0 0 0 0 0
Jens Pettersson 0.0 -- 1 0 0.0 0 0
Darnell Robinson 2.0 -- 0 0 0 0 0
Robbie Robinson 0.0 -- 2 50 25.0 0 49
Ronald Rogers 0.0 -- 1 14 14.0 0 14
James Rooths 1.0 -- 0 0 0 0 0
Chris Ward 2.0 -- 0 0 0 0 0
Team 1.0 -- 0 0 0 0 0
TOTALS 32.0 0.0 8 92 11.5 0 49

2003 NFL Europe League Standings

Team W L T Pct PF PA Home Away
Frankfurt Galaxy 6 4 0 .600 252 182 4-1-0 2-3-0
Rhein Fire 6 4 0 .600 189 188 4-1-0 2-3-0
Scottish Claymores 6 4 0 .600 303 190 3-2-0 3-2-0
Barcelona Dragons 5 5 0 .500 150 221 2-3-0 3-2-0
Amsterdam Admirals 4 6 0 .400 230 273 2-3-0 2-3-0
Berlin Thunder 3 7 0 .300 248 318 2-3-0 1-4-0

Claymores come out firing, set records with 62-31 win over Berlin

Team records were not the only ones to fall on the day. Running back Ken Simonton, allocated from the Buffalo Bills and wearing number 24 instead of his usual 35, set a new team mark and tied a league record with four touchdowns scored on the day, all coming on the ground.

Ken Simonton reaches the endzone on one of his four trips
He scored on runs on 11, five, three and five yards on the day. Simonton’s backfield mate Maurice Hicks wasn’t going to be outdone, setting an NFLE mark of his own with a touchdown run of 93 yards to cap the day’s scoring late in the fourth quarter, besting the previous record of 90 yards set by the Rhein Fire’s Jamal Robertson last season against Frankfurt. Hicks’ record-setter came after he had already galloped into the end zone on a run of 32 yards in the third period.

The game got off to an inauspicious start as Thunder starting quarterback Henry Burris connected with WR Pierre Brown on a 47-yard pass down the right sideline after drawing in the defense with a play-action fake. Linebacker Darnell Robinson’s sack of Burris helped the Claymores to stop Berlin short of the goal line and force a 25-yard Axel Kruse field goal, which put the Thunder ahead 3-0.

Scott Couper made his comeback with this 35 yard grab
The Claymores answered straightaway however, with starting QB Craig Nall leading the charges on a seven-play 74-yard touchdown drive which was capped by Simonton’s first score of the day, an 11-yard run on a beautiful draw play. The lead was short-lived and the back-and-forth first half was well underway when Berlin answered back with a 20-yard pass from Burris to German national Jörg Heckenbach to put the Thunder back in the lead. Nall led the Claymores’ answer, both with his arm and his legs, running for a first down with an eight-yard scamper, and also connecting twice on long passing plays to Houston Texans-allocated receiver John Minardi. Minardi found an opening down the left seam, and made a fantastic fingertip catch to score for 34 yards out. The first quarter ended with the Claymores on top 14-10.

Burris and the Thunder responded with a touchdown drive, capped off by Burris’ 12-yard scramble into the right side of the end zone. Shane Stafford took over the reins of the Claymores offense for the second quarter and led the team on a scoring drive, topped by Simonton’s second score, a five-yard run around on another draw. A key to the drive was Stafford’s conversion on a fourth-and-inches with a two-yard gain on a quarterback sneak. The Claymores lead stood at 21-17 when the first punt of the day came, a Berlin boot with 6:12 left on the second quarter clock. The next two Claymores possessions ended in disaster with back-to-back interceptions of Stafford by Thunder defenders. The first came on a tipped pass when Berlin linebacker Jamal White picked off the ball, which led directly to a Thunder score, a 25-yard pass from Berlin QB Phil Stambaugh to Brown. Stafford’s next pass was also picked off, but this one was returned 38 yards for six points by cornerback Travis Coleman, giving Berlin their largest lead of the day, 31-21. Stafford was not discouraged by the turnovers, though, and led the hometown boys on a scoring drive to cut the lead to three. Returning receiver Scott McCready made his presence known with a 26-yard scoring catch to make it 31-28.

That was the score going into the locker room for halftime, and whatever defensive coordinator Ray Woodard said to his team must have worked. The 28 points that Berlin carried with them into halftime would be what they would have on the board at the end of the day. The Claymores offense continued on their hot streak, with Nall returning to quarterback the team down the field for a game-tying 32-yard field goal from the bare-footed Rob Hart. The kick marked Hart’s 13th consecutive successful field goal try, putting him just one shy of tying the league mark. Berlin moved down the field again in their first drive of the third quarter, but the defensive front of the Claymores came up big, stopping the Thunder’s charge at the 34. Berlin was forced to settle for a 52-yard field goal try, which was missed short by J.R. Jenkins. Nall took fast advantage of the good field position, hitting Scottish legend Scott Couper down the right side for a 35 yard gain to set up a 37-yard field goal by Brian Holmes, putting the Claymores ahead for good at 34-31.

Maurice Hicks broke several tackles on his way to a league record 93 yard touchdownrun
The Claymores defense then really began to show its muscle when cornerback Deveron Harper stripped Brown of the ball and long-time Claymores defensive end Robert Flickinger pounced on the loose ball at the Berlin 35. Nall and receiver Edell Shepherd keyed the ensuing drive, first with a 21-yard gain on a pass down the left side, and on the next play when Shepherd drew a pass interference call on a beaten Thunder defender, giving the Claymores first and goal at the Berlin three. Simonton did what he obviously does best from there, and punched the ball into the end zone for his third score of the day, tying a Claymores team record for most touchdowns in a single game. Strong safety Robbie Robinson continued the Claymores defensive turnaround when he picked off a screen pass that had been tipped into the air by Thunder runner Sedrick Irvin. The score turned immediately into points for the Scottish side as Hicks took a handoff and ran 32 yards to pay dirt on the first play of the Claymores’ possession, pushing the lead to 48-31, breaking the Claymores and NFLE mark for most points in a season-opener, set at 45 by the 2002 Claymores.

Robbie Robinson wasn’t quite finished, as he picked off a Stambaugh effort near midfield early in the fourth quarter and almost took it all the way, before being tackled at the Berlin five-yard line. Everyone in the building knew what was coming next, and Simonton didn’t disappoint as he pushed his way into the end zone and into the record books with a five-yard run, his fourth of the contest. The Claymores defense made two more defensive stands, stopping the Thunder twice inside Claymores territory. The first of the two drives was halted by two sacks from second-year Claymore defensive end Radell Lockhart. The defense stopped the Thunder’s progress at the three-yard line on their next possession after Stambaugh had engineered a drive built on short passes. Just three plays later, Hicks was burning up the sideline and outlasted a desperate attempt by Coleman to bring him down near the 20, but fought his way to the 93-yard historic score. The run put Hicks in the NFLE history books, vaulted the Claymores into the league’s top spot for points in a game, and brought the scoreboard to its resting point of 62-31.
The win marks the Claymores’ fifth consecutive opening day victory, and brings their record to 7-2 in week ones in their history. This victory is one that no one who was at Hampden on this spring afternoon will soon forget, and the team looks to carry over its performance to next week when the 1-0 Frankfurt Galaxy come to Glasgow. It’s too early for any World Bowl dreams, but if Sunday was any indicator, Hampden definitely looks to be the home of something special in 2003.

Claymores Drop a Close One to Galaxy, 17-13

11,104 fans left Hampden Park disappointed Sunday afternoon after the Claymores were beaten in their week two match-up with the Frankfurt Galaxy 17-13. The game was hard-fought on both sides, and the keys to the Galaxy victory proved to be four Claymores turnovers and untimely penalties.

Anthony Bright holds on to his first touchdown pass of the day
The game wasn’t pretty on either side, with both teams missing two field goals and combining for 27 penalties for 213 yards. Frankfurt was able to stay away from the turnover bug, and rode that wave to a win to push them to 2-0 and the top of the NFLE standings. The Galaxy turned one of the turnovers directly into a touchdown and their other two scoring drives were prolonged by Claymores penalties. The Claymores drop to 1-1, and enter a four-way tie for second place in the league standings, a sobering result following last week’s high-flying opener. Frankfurt free safety Rashidi Barnes was the man to enter the league record books this Sunday at Hampden. Barnes tied a league mark with three interceptions; two of Shane Stafford and one off of Claymores’ starting quarterback Craig Nall.

Week two’s contest started out much like the season-opener, with both teams striking quickly in the first quarter. Nall led the team down the field for a score on their opening drive for the second straight week. The drive was keyed by a third down conversion on a hook and lateral play which saw Edell Shepherd catch the pass 10 yards down the field, and pitch it back to fullback Mike Malan, who picked up 21 more before being tackled by his facemask. Nall later fired a strike to Houston Texans-allocated wide receiver Anthony Bright to open the scoring with a 22-yard touchdown. The defense initially stopped the Galaxy on the ensuing drive, but punt returner James Rooths muffed the punt, leading to a 25-yard equalizing touchdown pass from former Claymores quarterback James Brown to James Lester.

Scott McCready led Claymores receivers with 78 yards
The second quarter was a seesaw battle, featuring defense and penalties on both sides. Both offenses struggled to get anything going and the Claymores turned the ball over twice and missed a field goal, but found themselves in a 7-7 tie going into halftime. Shane Stafford, playing the second quarter for the Claymores as was Dahlquist’s plan, threw an interception on his first attempt. The pass wasn’t far off target and it caromed off the hands of Scott McCready into the waiting mitts of Barnes. Brian Holmes’ 37-yard field goal attempt was ruled wide right, although it appeared to hook over the right upright. Galaxy kicker Ralf Kleinmann missed a 28-yard field goal try wide right, giving the Claymores a chance to take the lead. The offense couldn’t take advantage, as Stafford threw his second interception of the day, again Barnes picking it off, again on a tipped ball, this time hopping off of Bright. The Claymores defense wouldn’t allow the Galaxy to move, though, and the halftime deadlock was in place. Sacks by Michael Landry, Rooths, and T.J. Bingham highlighted the defensive effort in the second period.

The Galaxy opened the third quarter with a three-point scoring drive, as Quinn Gray quarterbacked them down the field for a 38-yard Jon Hilbert field goal. The drive was kept alive by a questionable roughing the passer penalty flagged against Landry. The Claymores drove down the field to answer the Galaxy score, but the drive stalled at the 17, and Holmes’ 35-yard field goal try sailed wide right. The teams traded punts, and then the Galaxy drove down the field to extend their lead to 17-7, just after the start of the fourth quarter on a two-yard run by running back Jonas Lewis. Long passes from Quinn Gray to Robert Baker of 35 and 23 yards were key plays on the drive.

Mike Malan fights for extra yardage on a hook and ladder play
After the Claymores were forced to punt on their opening fourth quarter possession, the Galaxy drove down for what looked like it would be the game-clinching touchdown. But the defense held, and forced a 40-yard field try, which Hilbert missed and gave the Claymores a glimmer of hope. Barnes picked off Nall three plays later to tie the record, and it appeared Frankfurt would just run out the clock. The Scottish defense refused to quit, though, and Lockhart ripped the ball out of Robert Gillespie’s hands. Linebacker Darnell Robinson was right there to pounce on the ball, and the Claymores had hope again. Nall led the team on a scoring drive, which was capped by former basketball player Rashod Kent showing off his leaping ability and grabbing a three-yard touchdown reception. The extra point failed, after a botched hold, and the lead was cut to 17-13. The Claymores last hope ran out when Galaxy punter Tim Morgan leapt high into the air and pulled down the ensuing onsides kick attempt.

The game was certainly disappointing, and not a pretty sight for anyone watching. Turnovers told the story, but the Claymores can leave with a positive feeling about the way their defense played. They forced a turnover and were disruptive in the backfield, causing four sacks. Bear in mind, this is just one game and the team will move forward to next week’s game at Rhein. That will be a match-up of two 1-1 teams, and either team could be at the top of the league standings by this time next Sunday.

Claymores Defeated at Rhein, 34-17

The Scottish Claymores made their first road trip of the 2003 season, and their history of trouble at Rhein continues. The Fire defeated the Claymores 34-17, dropping the Claymores to 1-2 three games into the campaign. The loss marked the sixth straight loss for the Claymores at Rhein, this in their first visit to the Arena AufSchalke in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. The Arena’s retractable roof was open for the game and so was the Fire’s running game. League leading rusher Autry Denson ran for 158 yards, his second consecutive 100-yard game, and Frank Moreau added 98 yards of his own to key the Rhein victory. Turnovers and penalties again hurt the Claymores effort, as there were two more interceptions thrown and some crucial, drive-killing flags. The Claymores offense sputtered early, woke up and came on later in the game, but it was too little, too late as Rhein came out on top

Scott McCready goes over for a Claymores touchdown
The first quarter was not a good one for the Scotland side. The Claymores offense came out flat, and the defense was hit for some big plays early. Neither team moved the ball on their first possessions, marking the first time the Claymores have not produced a touchdown on their opening drive in their three games this year. Rhein opened the scoring when QB Nick Rolovich hit WR Kendall Newson down the right sideline for a 33-yard touchdown to go on top 7-0. After the second consecutive three-and-out for the Scotland, Rhein’s drive ended with a botched field goal attempt, giving the ball back to the Claymores at the 19. The Claymores were stopped again after just three plays on offense, and the quarter came to a close with Rhein leading 7-0, and the Claymores putting up just 18 yards of offense.

Mike Malan fights for extra yardage
The tide briefly turned at the open of the second period when Denson muffed a punt on the first play of the quarter, with Claymores fullback Mike Malan jumping on the loose ball at the Rhein 20. The drive stalled at the two-yard line, and Rob Hart hit a 20-yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-3. It was Hart’s 14th consecutive made field goal, tying his personal career best and the second longest streak in NFLE history. Chris Greisen came in to quarterback the Fire’s response, and led them on an efficient 10-play, 59-yard scoring drive. Greisen found receiver Charlie Adams crossing the field and hit him for a 13-yard touchdown to give Rhein an 11-point lead at 14-3. Stafford put together the first back-to-back first downs of the day for the Claymores, but the turnover bug bit him for the third straight week, as he overthrew John Minardi and was picked off by Fire cornerback Tony Lukins. The Fire drove down the field on the legs of Denson, including a 32-yard run, and Greisen found Adams in the end zone for a one-yard score with :05 left in the half. The point after failed, and the two teams went into the break with Rhein leading 20-3.

The third quarter began well for the Claymores when cornerback Bo Rogers picked off Rolovich as the Fire attempted a long pass to break the game open. Rogers grabbed the ball at the eight-yard line and returned it to the 26. Nall led the team down the field, but the drive stalled at the 38-yard line. Dahlquist called for the four-point field goal team, and Brian Holmes’ 56-yard attempt was just wide to the left. The try would have tied a league record for longest field goal and had the distance, but sailed outside of the upright. The Fire ran the ball down the field, with Frank Moreau breaking some good-sized runs behind the Rhein offensive line. The Claymores defense stiffened, though, and Todd France’s 38-yard field goal missed to the right. The Claymores couldn’t move the ball again, and the third quarter concluded with Rhein on top 20-3, and driving deep in Scottish territory.

Ken Simonton looks to go in for his score
The fourth quarter opened with Denson closing out a very impressive drive with a three-yard touchdown run through the Claymores’ defensive line. He carried the ball seven times on the scoring march for 71 yards, putting him over the century mark on the day. When Ingo Anderbrugge added the point after, Rhein was in command with a 27-3 lead, with just over 14 minutes to go in the game. The Claymores drove down the field quickly and cut the lead to 27-10 with Ken Simonton’s league-leading fifth rushing touchdown of the season on a five-yard plunge. The drive was keyed by passes from Nall to Scott McCready and Minardi, as well as Rhein’s third personal foul penalty of the night. Rob Hart’s record-extending 131st consecutive PAT made the difference 17 points. The defense held, and the Claymores were off on another scoring drive. Nall completed two passes for 39 yards, including a 28-yard strike to Edell Shepherd, but left the game with an injured ankle. Stafford came on in relief, and continued moving the team down the field. He completed passes to McCready and running back Maurice Hicks to move the team inside the Fire five. New England Patriots teammates Stafford and McCready connected on a one-yard touchdown pass to make the score 27-17 with 2:21 left in the game. The Fire recovered Holmes’ onside kick, but the Claymores defense was able to stop Rhein, and Scotland was able to get the ball back by using timeouts to force a punt. Stafford moved the Claymores down for another possible score with a series of short passes to Malan and Simonton, but the rally was snuffed out when Fire safety Abdual Howard intercepted a heave toward the end zone and returned 93 yards for a Rhein touchdown. The PAT with no time left on the clock gave Rhein the win 34-17.

Claymores Get Back on Winning Track, Beat Thunder 34-17

The Scottish Claymores traveled to Berlin and got back on the winning track, defeating the Thunder 34-17 in a re-match of their Opening Day shootout.

Ken Simonton receives close attention from two Berlin defenders
This meeting at in front of 10,413 fans at historic Olympic Stadium wasn’t quite as high scoring as their 62-31 win in the opener, but was equally as dominating. Quarterback Craig Nall threw for 238 yards and three touchdowns and Ken Simonton powered the offense on the ground, running for 140 yards on 21 carries with both a rushing and receiving touchdown. The Claymores shut out the Thunder in the second half once again, and rode that defensive wave home to victory. Four sacks and an interception by the defensive line keyed the defensive effort.

The first quarter saw little defense played by either side, much like their first meeting, and both teams marched down the field with scores on their opening drives. Berlin took the opening kickoff and broke on top on the legs of running back David Allen. Allen highlighted the drive with a 30-yard run and scored on a 23-yard screen pass from Thunder quarterback Henry Burris. The Claymores were quick to answer, though, and knotted the game on Ken Simonton’s league-leading sixth touchdown on the season, five of them coming at the hands of Berlin. The drive was keyed by a 35-yard pass from Nall to receiver Edell Shepherd. Simonton found the end zone just two plays later as he broke through the right side of the line for a 29-yard scamper. The score marked the third time in four games that the 2003 Claymores have reached the end zone on their first drive of the game. The Claymores shut down the Berlin offense on their next possession, and the offense gave the Scottish side the lead for the first time with their ensuing touchdown romp. Nall and fullback Mike Malan teamed to lead the team down the field, with Malan twice picking up first downs on catches out of the backfield. Simonton ran for 23 yards on a draw play, and then Nall hit Anthony Bright from 10 yards out on a slant, to put the Claymores up 14-7, which is where we stood after 15 minutes.

Maurice Hicks fights for extra yardage
Berlin cut into the lead behind quarterback Phil Stambaugh on their first drive of the second quarter. Stambaugh and receiver Kirk Rogers connected twice and a fourth-and-inches quarterback sneak led to a 26-yard Axel Kruse field goal, cutting the lead to 14-10. Malan and running back Maurice Hicks led the Claymores down for a field goal of their own. Rob Hart connected from 31, putting the lead back to seven, and setting a new personal best with his 15th straight made field goal, dating back to 2001. Allen brought the Thunder even right away, counter-acting the Claymores’ attempt at a high, short kickoff with a 74-yard kickoff return to tie the score at 17 apiece. The Claymores made a bit of noise on special teams themselves minutes later when linebacker Jens Pettersson jarred the ball loose from Calvin Coleman on a punt return, and Yubrenal Isabelle hopped on the loose pigskin at the 13-yard line. Berlin’s defense held firm, though, and Hart’s 28-yard field goal was the only points the Claymores could muster out of the opportunity. Michael Landry’s second sack of the season killed any hopes of a Berlin score before the break, and the Claymores took their first halftime lead of the season, going into the locker room on top 20-17.

The Claymores came out firing in the second half. Cornerback Jermaine Chatman, returning his first kickoff of the season, brought the opening boot out 42 yards to give the Claymores the ball at the Berlin 49. Simonton converted on a fourth-and-short play on a toss around the right and Nall hit Minardi on a 15-yard pass to generate another first down. Nall then found Simonton coming out of the backfield, and the Buffalo Bills allocated runner scored his first receiving touchdown in a Claymores’ uniform from 23 yards out. The score stood at 27-17 less than five minutes into the third quarter. Defensive end Radell Lockhart came up big on the next drive as an attempted screen from Burris to Sedrick Irvin skipped off Irvin’s hands and into the waiting mitts of Lockhart. Nall was victimized by a tipped ball turning into an interception just two plays later as Berlin corner Jeff Harris caught a ball tipped by Scott Couper. The Thunder drove down and J.R. Jenkins hit a 50-yard, four-point field goal that would have cut the lead to six, but time had expired on the play clock before the kick. Thunder coach Peter Vaas chose to punt rather than try a 55-yarder, and the Claymores took over at the 21, four points the richer. The Claymores couldn’t produce on their next drive, and the third period came to a close with the Claymores on top by 10, 27-17.

Ken Simonton leaps into the endzone for his second score
The fourth quarter opened in uneventful fashion as the teams traded punts, Berlin kicking twice and the Claymores punting once in the first five minutes of the period. Landry dropped Stambaugh for the second time on the day, contributing to one of those punts. The Claymores broke the game wide open, driving down the field quickly, going 94 yards on seven plays in 3:54. Nall hit Scott McCready twice for 71 yards, including a 51-yard gain on play action to open the drive. The drive was capped with Nall’s third touchdown pass of the day, this one coming from 11 yards to Shepherd. Defensive linemen Robert Flickinger and DeVonte Peterson snuffed out any Berlin hopes of a comeback with sacks of Burris on the next possession. The Claymores ran out the clock, and evened their mark on the season. The win pulls the Claymores into a third place tie with Rhein and Amsterdam, and just one game out of first place at 2-2.

Claymores Fall in the Rain, Lose 17-10 to Dragons

The Scottish Claymores and F.C. Barcelona Dragons slugged their way to an ugly result, both on the field and on the scoreboard, in a steady rain on Sunday at Glasgow’s Hampden Park. The Dragons left Scotland with a hard-fought 17-10 victory, keyed mainly by their defense and the Claymores’ trouble with penalties. The Dragons move to 4-1 and first place in the NFL Europe League standings, while the Claymores fall to 2-3 and must rebound with tough tests against Frankfurt and Rhein in the next two weeks.

Rashod Kent, after making a reception, outruns the Barcelona defence
Rain fell on the Claymores for the first time at a home game this season, and they didn’t handle it well in the first quarter. The receivers had trouble catching passes, but the team’s real troubles were from too many penalties. The Claymores were penalties for six times for 45 yards, helping to keep them off the scoreboard in the opening frame. The Dragons had no such early trouble, as quarterback Seth Burford was able to lead them down the field for a touchdown on their opening drive. Burford ran for 10 yards and then hit receiver Sean Morey with a 54-yard pass to key the drive. The score came on a seven-yard pass to tight end Matt Cercone to put the Dragons ahead 7-0. The Claymores had success moving the ball later in the first, but were held out of the end zone by five penalties on one drive. Passes from Craig Nall to Anthony Bright and Ken Simonton gave the team the ball inside the five, but an offensive pass interference call negated what would have been a tying touchdown. The drive was halted at the 14, and Rob Hart pushed a 32-yard field goal wide right. Hart’s miss was his first in 17 tries, dating back to week nine of the 2001 season.

Sean Morey hauls in a 54 yard reception from QB Seth Burford
The second quarter opened with the Dragons’ running attack taking control. Burford scrambled for 39 yards into Claymores territory, and later picked up a first down at the two-yard line with his legs. Running back Jeff Chaney scored from two yards out, and Jesus Angoy’s PAT put Barcelona ahead 14-0 with 10:38 to play in the first half. The Claymores appeared to be driving back for an answering score on the legs of Simonton, but the Dragons’ defense held, with some help from more Claymores penalties, and the Claymores missed another field goal, this one coming from 36 yards out. The Claymores defense held the Dragons, and the offense was poised to put some points up before halftime. Nall moved the offense down the field, but a sack by Barcelona cornerback Marcus Smith jarred the ball loose, and Smith recovered it. The Dragons ran out the clock and carried their two-touchdown lead into the locker room.
The Claymores couldn’t get a good grip on the ball in the opening moments of the third quarter. Simonton fumbled on the first play, but recovered the ball. Nall wasn’t so lucky on the next play, as his pass was intercepted by Dragon corner Jason Waters. The Dragons were only able to convert the turnover into three points, as the Claymores defense held them to a 20-yard field goal by Angoy. The teams traded punts, but the Claymores were in the process of driving at the end of the third quarter, with Barcelona leading 17-0. Simonton reached 100 yards rushing late in the period, his second consecutive 100-yard game.

Scott Couper diving towards the endzone for his first score of the year
Mental errors carried over into the fourth quarter. An unnecessary roughness call on the Claymores nearly killed the drive, but a personal foul on Barcelona kept hope alive for the Scottish offense. The drive stalled at the 10-yard line, and Hart was called on to get the team on the board, but the bare-footed kicker missed his third kick of the day, this one from 28 yards, and the game still stood at 17-0. After a defensive hold, the offense came to life and quickly drove down the field, keyed by a 40-yard gain by Simonton after snaring a pass from Nall. Nall then found Scottish national Scott Couper with an eight-yard touchdown pass to close the gap on the scoreboard to 17-7 with just under eight minutes remaining. The touchdown was Couper’s 11th in his career and his first since his “finale” in week 10 at Rhein in 2001. Another stop by the defense gave the offense a shot to cut into the Dragons’ lead. Some short passes from Nall and a 19-yard run from Maurice Hicks moved the Claymores into field goal range, and Hart was good from 31 yards out after the drive stalled to cut the lead to seven with 2:45 to go in the fourth quarter. The defense used their final timeout and the two-minute warning and stopped the Dragons on three plays to give the ball back to the offense with 56 ticks on the clock and a chance to force overtime. Nall hit Bright with his first pass, and the end zone was just 38 yards away. Dragons linebacker Tito Rodriguez sealed the deal, however with an interception on fourth down a few plays later, and Barcelona left happy with a 17-10 win.

The gray, rainy skies seemed to have the offense in a fog for most of the opening three quarters. The brightest star for the Claymores on the day again proved to be Simonton, who finished with 108 rushing yards, 97 yards receiving on eight catches, and 66 yards on five punt returns. The halfway point of the season is here, and the Claymores find it at 2-3, but just one game out of behind second place Frankfurt and Rhein, their next two opponents, must-win games for the Claymores.

Claymores drop heartbreaker at Frankfurt, 33-27 in overtime

The Scottish Claymores traveled to Germany for the third time this season to face the always-tough Frankfurt Galaxy in a crucial game to both teams’ World Bowl hopes. The game was an exciting back-and-forth battle, but as Claymores coach Gene Dahlquist put it, “It was a good game by both teams, but the bad guys won.” The Galaxy came from behind to send the Claymores home with a 33-27 loss in overtime

Ken Simonton breaks loose
What started as a promising evening for the boys from Scotland turned into a disappointing defeat that puts them in a precarious spot to get to June’s championship game at Hampden Park. The Claymores won the coin toss and took the ball running in the first quarter.

For the fourth time in six games this season, the Claymores found the end zone on their first possession of the game. Running back Maurice Hicks took a handoff on a reverse after lining up in the slot and scampered 58 yards after avoiding a tackle in the backfield for a touchdown. Rob Hart’s 138th straight made extra point gave the Claymores a 7-0 lead just two and a half minutes into the game.

The defense was obviously charged up by the offense’s explosion and stuffed the Galaxy on four plays to get the ball back, led by safety Bobby Jackson’s tackle of Jonas Lewis for a loss on fourth down. The offense produced another quick score when they got the ball back with Ken Simonton scoring his league-leading eighth touchdown of the year. This one came on a swing pass from Craig Nall, good for 37 yards, putting the Claymores ahead 14-0 with just over eight minutes to go in the first.

The teams then traded punts and the first quarter ended with the Claymores on top of the Galaxy 14-0. The defense made their presence felt again early in the second quarter. Defensive end T.J. Bingham forced his third fumble of the season when he blew through the offensive line and hit James Brown as he tried to hand the ball off. Linebacker Isaac Keys jumped on the ball to give the Claymores the ball.

Maurice Hicks looks to go over the top for extra yardage
Shane Stafford took over for the second quarter for the Claymores, but his first series was ineffective and the Scotsmen were forced to punt. New Galaxy quarterback Quinn Gray led Frankfurt down the field with a steady mix of run and pass plays. Gray hit Robert Baker on a crossing route and Baker eluded a tackle and zipped into the end zone for a 44-yard score. Galaxy kicker Jon Hilbert’s PAT was missed wide right, keeping the Claymores’ lead at eight, 14-6.

Stafford led the Claymores on a scoring drive of his own to answer and extend the lead. Stafford hit receiver Edell Shepherd twice for 42 yards and Simonton picked up some tough yards running up the middle to get the Claymores into the red zone. Stafford then hit fellow New England Patriots allocate Scott McCready on a fade pattern for a five-yard touchdown pass. The lead was pushed to 15 with the Claymores up 21-6, which would be the score at the halftime break.

The third quarter was not as promising for the Claymores, as the turnover bug returned to the offense. Nall hit Shepherd for a 49-yard gain down the left sideline on their after freezing the defense with a pump fake. The drive was killed a few plays later when German national defensive end Daniel Benetka grabbed a batted ball for a Galaxy interception.

James Brown led Frankfurt down the field with a six-minute, 65-yard drive to cut into the lead. The drive was topped with a pass from Brown to tight end Josh Whitman to cut the lead to 21-13. Nall was picked off again on a tipped pass, this time by safety Calvin Spears, giving the Galaxy the ball deep in Claymores territory. A defensive stand and a missed 34-yard field goal by Hilbert kept the Claymores’ lead at eight, 21-13 after 45 minutes of play.

The Claymores moved the ball into scoring range early in the fourth quarter after Scott McCready found some open space in the Galaxy secondary and Nall hit him for a 44-yard gain to the 29. The drive stalled at the 21, forcing a field goal try from Rob Hart. The usually automatic kicker pulled this 39-yard attempt to the left, leaving the game as a one-score affair.

The Galaxy changed that on their next possession, though, as they drove down the field 71 yards in six minutes with Brown finding Lester on a six-yard touchdown pass. Jonas Lewis took the ball on a sweep around the left end and plunged in for a two-point conversion to tie the score at 21.

Scott McCready fights past a Galaxy defender for extra yardage
Simonton answered back with a big gain of his own, running 70 yards down the right sideline before Chris Pointer dragged him down from behind at the Galaxy 15. Simonton’s long run pushed him over the 100-yard mark for the third consecutive game, the first time any Claymore had ever done that and just the third time in league history. Nall made sure this drive would not come up empty, and he found John Minardi in the end zone on the very next play. Hart’s first missed PAT in 141 career tries meant the Claymores were on top by just six, 27-21.

The Claymores defense held, but the offense was stopped just out of field goal range to force a punt and give the ball back to Frankfurt. Frankfurt’s Gray led the Galaxy down the field to complete their comeback. He hit four different receivers on the drive and found Lester for his second TD grab of the game from 13 yards out. A botched hold by punter Tim Morgan kept the score tied at 27-27, as Ralf Kleinmann was not able to kick the winning PAT.

Nall’s Hail Mary pass was knocked down and the regulation clock expired, bringing on the first overtime game of the 2003 NFL Europe season. The Claymores won the coin toss for the overtime, but were unable to move the ball and were forced to punt.

The Galaxy got the ball at their own 33, and the game became a sudden death contest by NFLE rules. Quinn Gray hit Lester for a 14-yard gain to midfield. After a five-yard run by Lewis, Gray completed his heroics as he hit Lester again on the winning score. Lester maneuvered through the Claymores secondary for a 45-yard game-winning touchdown, his third of the game, and the Claymores’ German jinx has returned.

Claymores Douse the Fire, 33-0

The Scottish Claymores showed Sunday what the hometown fans have been looking for since the season opener with a 33-0 drubbing of the Rhein Fire on the sloppy field at Hampden Park. The Claymores ran their record to 3-4 and just one game out of a World Bowl position.

Ken Simonton evades the Fire defense
The shutout was the first in NFL Europe this season and the first time in the history of the Rhein Fire that they have been blanked. Sunday marked just the third time that the Claymores defense has pitched a shutout, with this one being the largest margin.

The Claymores were able to keep a grip on the football, using their practice and game experience in the rain to their advantage, and rung up a most needed victory for their dreams of reaching the World Bowl next month. Defensive end Radell Lockhart collected game MVP honors for the Claymores, but the entire defense came together to put the clamps on a Fire team that had scored 34 points against Scotland last month in Germany.

The slippery elements in Glasgow came to the Claymores’ aid as they jumped on top early with a defensive score. After a Kevin Stemke punt was downed at the eight-yard line, Fire quarterback mishandled the snap on the first play and fumbled out of the back of the end zone. Claymores strong safety Robbie Robinson was credited with the safety and the Scotsmen were ahead 2-0 less than two minutes into the game.

The Claymores offense then took the ball on the ensuing drive and moved down the field behind Craig Nall’s passing. He found John Minardi twice on the drive, including a 23-yard touchdown strike on a crossing pattern. Rob Hart’s extra point put the Claymores on top 9-0 with 10:09 to play in the first period. The Fire tried to mount a scoring drive of their own, but the Claymores held and forced a 43-yard field goal try, which Todd France pushed wide right. The first quarter came to a close with the Claymores on top 9-0.

Texans receiver John Minardi catches a TD against Rhein
The second quarter was a defensive showcase for the Claymores as the defense scored for the second time on the day. The two slugged back and forth with only minimal gains in the ground game. T.J. Bingham greeted Rhein back-up quarterback Chris Greisen to the game with a sack, good for a loss of 10. The defensive line dropped Fire runners at or behind the line of scrimmage four times in the second period. The Claymores used their advantage in the field position battle to extend their lead.

After Stemke dropped a punt inside the ten for the third time on the day, the defense held the Fire to no gain for two plays, setting up a passing down. Greisen dropped back to pass and then dropped the ball as he cocked his arm to throw. Defensive tackle DeVonte Peterson jumped on the loose ball in the end zone for a touchdown and a 16-0 lead. Cornerback Deveron Harper snuffed Rhein’s attempt at a rally with an interception of Greisen on an attempted deep pass at the Claymores 32-yard line. Rather than trying anything risky in the rain, the Claymores ran out the clock and headed to the locker room at halftime with a 16-0 advantage. The Claymores pushed on with a successful third period, led again by their defense and special teams. James Rooths broke through to block a Jay Taylor punt on the Fire’s first possession of the second half.

The Claymores got the ball at the Fire 12, but were unable to punch it in to the end zone. Hart converted a 27-yard field goal attempt to extend the lead to 19-0 with 11:38 to go in the third.

The Claymores’ defensive line pressured Rolovich into some hurried throws and a couple of three-and-out possessions. The Fire’s punting woes continued as a low snap forced Taylor to try and run for a first down, only to be stopped short. The Claymores took over at the 32, and Nall wouldn’t be held out of the end zone again. He found Edell Shepherd on the third play of the drive for 29 yards down the left sideline to push the lead to 26-0 with just under five minutes to play in the period. The defense held once more for a punt and the third period ended with the Claymores on top 26-0.

TJ Bingham makes his presence felt
The offense piled on the points and the defense stayed strong through the fourth quarter. As the rain continued to pour from the sky, Stafford returned at quarterback for the Claymores and added points to the scoreboard. Stafford hit Anthony Bright for a 33-yard touchdown pass down the right side, Bright’s third scoring catch of the year. With just 3:10 left on the clock, the defense would need one more stand to keep the shutout alive. Rhein drove down the field trying to crack the score sheet with Greisen connecting on some intermediate passes. Linebacker Jens Pettersson stepped in front of a Greisen offering in the end zone and picked off the ball with just five seconds remaining on the clock.

The Claymores knelt on the ball and the shutout was secure at 33-0. The Claymores will head to Amsterdam next weekend with their World Bowl hopes still alive. The game will feature a pair of 3-4 teams coming off wins and battling to stay in the hunt for the championship. The team must be ready for a raucous crowd at the Amsterdam ArenA next Saturday, and if today was any indication, everyone is in for an interesting weekend.

Claymores Stay Alive, Defeat Admirals 31-20

The Scottish Claymores and Amsterdam Admirals locked up in a high-flying offensive shootout Saturday night at the Amsterdam ArenA. The game saw Claymores’ QB Craig Nall and Amsterdam signal-caller Shaun Hill each throw for more than 300 yards, the first such performances in the NFL Europe League this season. Nall completed 71% of his passes and threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns, including two to fullback Mike Malan to lead the Scottish side to a 31-20 victory. The win vaults the Claymores back to the .500 mark at 4-4 and keeps them in the thick of the World Bowl chase.

Rod Trafford scores his game winning touchdown
The Claymores picked up where they left off last Sunday in the first quarter. The defense, keyed by defensive tackle Michael Landry, forced a punt on the Admirals’ first possession. Landry stopped Tellis Redmon in the backfield on the game’s first play from scrimmage, tipped a Shaun Hill pass a few plays later, and then sacked Hill for a loss of 10 to help kill the Amsterdam drive. The offense moved down the field 89 with efficiency in eight plays. Ken Simonton and Maurice Hicks each had solid runs through the Admiral defense, but another member of the backfield found put the points on the board. Fullback Mike Malan came out of the backfield to take a Craig Nall pass 34 yards for his first touchdown of the season. Rob Hart’s PAT put the Claymores ahead 7-0 with 5:44 left in the opening quarter. The defense held Amsterdam to three plays and out, bringing the offense back to add to the lead. Nall completed passes to Houston Texans allocated Rashod Kent and Anthony Bright, and Simonton’s 15-yard run had the Claymores on top 7-0 and driving at the end of the first quarter.

Mike Malan lands after catching his second touchdown of the evening
The offense cashed in early in the second period, scoring another touchdown just two plays in. Nall threw a screen pass to Edell Shepherd, and the speedy receiver followed his blockers down to the one-yard line for a 30-yard gain. Simonton took a toss around the right end and scooted into the end zone for his league-leading ninth touchdown of the season, his seventh on the ground. The Claymores were ahead 14-0 just 20 seconds into the second quarter. The Admirals mustered a scoring drive to end the Claymores’ five-quarter shutout streak. Hill led Amsterdam down the field, but some untimely drops ended their play for the end zone, and they were forced to settle for a 39-yard Joe O’Donnell field goal, cutting the score to 14-3 with 8:51 to play in the opening half. After another defensive stop, the Claymores added to their lead, paced by Nall’s right arm. Nall completed five-of-five pass attempts on the scoring drive for 61 yards, including a three-yard toss to Malan for his second TD of the day. Hill engineered an answering drive for Amsterdam, leading them through Scottish territory with some efficient intermediate passes. The drive was capped with a 12-yard toss to Justin Skaggs in the end zone to cut the Claymore lead to 21-10 with 1:18 to go before halftime. Nall came back with his own two-minute drive, bringing the Claymores into scoring position with passes to Kent and John Minardi. The Admirals held the Claymores out of the end zone, but Rob Hart’s 28-yard field goal sent the team into the locker room with the Claymores on top 24-10.

After piling up the points in the first half, the two teams seemed to avoid scoring in the third quarter. The Claymores moved the ball to open the half, but their drive was snuffed at the 23-yard line. Brian Holmes came on to attempt a 40-yard field goal, but holder Shane Stafford had looked away when the snap was made, and the ball was turned over to the Admirals. Landry dropped Hill on the next possession, his second sack of the night, to run his team-leading total to 5.5 for the season. The Claymores got the ball back and drove into Amsterdam territory again, only to turn the ball over. Minardi caught a pass from Nall for a would-be first down, but fumbled the ball at the Admirals’ 16 while fighting for extra yards. Hill moved the Admirals down the field again, but cornerback Deveron Harper picked him off at the one-yard line. The interception was Harper’s second of the year, and his second in as many weeks. The third quarter came to a close with the score still 24-10 in favor of the visitors.

Ken Simonton tied the Claymores record for most rushing touchdowns in a season against Amsterdam
Hill took the Admirals down the field for the first score of the second half to open the fourth quarter. Their seven-play, 56-yard drive took just 3:19 and cut the Claymores’ lead in half to 24-17. Hill hit league-leading receiver Matthew Hatchette twice for gains of 20 and 24 yards, and capped the drive by finding tight end Ryan Collins for a one-yard touchdown toss on third-and-goal, making it a one-possession game with 11:07 to play. After a three-and-out by the Claymores offense, Hill led another drive down the field spreading the ball to five different receivers. The Claymores defense held inside the red zone, and Silvio Diliberto’s 26-yard field goal cut the lead to 24-20 with 4:40 to play. Nall brought the Claymores back down the field to put the game out of reach. Key runs by Simonton and passes from Nall to tight end Rod Trafford moved the team into the end zone. Trafford grabbed two passes, a tremendous 24-yard catch with a hand in his face and a five-yarder in the end zone to make the score 31-20 with less than two minutes to play. Dyshod Carter’s interception of Hill with 42 seconds to play iced the game and the Claymores emerged victorious 31-20.

The Claymores will travel to Barcelona next week carrying their first two-game winning streak of the season. The Dragons are just one game ahead of the Claymores at 5-3 and are smarting following a 47-13 drubbing at the hands of the Frankfurt Galaxy, who now sit at the top of the table. Once again, the Claymores will find themselves in the middle of a heated battle with both teams needing a crucial victory for their World Bowl aspirations. Next Saturday night should be a hot one in Barcelona, and that will have nothing to do with the Spanish sun.

Claymores Slay Dragons 45-7; World Bowl Still In Sight

The Claymores shot out of the gate on both sides of the ball in this crucial game. The offense took the opening kickoff and drove 74 yards on just seven plays to take a 7-0 lead. Quarterback Craig Nall completed all five of his pass attempts on the opening drive, hitting five different receivers en route to the score. Running back Maurice Hicks was the one to find the end zone, taking a shovel pass from Nall and fighting through the Dragon defense for eight yards and a touchdown, his fourth score of the season.

John Minardi struggles to hold on to what would have been his third TD of the game. He leads the Claymores with 5 TD receptions on the season
The defense was not to be outdone, though, and they forced a three-and-out with two sacks of Barcelona passer Seth Burford. Defensive ends T.J. Bingham and Radell Lockhart dropped Burford on successive plays to force a punt.

The offense picked up where it had left off a few minutes before and drove right back down the field for another score. Two Dragons penalties and a few runs from league-leading rusher Ken Simonton moved the chains, but it was Nall’s arm that put the Claymores back in the end zone. He finally misfired on his seventh attempt of the day, but his eighth was a perfect toss over the Dragon secondary into the hands of a leaping John Minardi. The 24-yard reception was Minardi’s fourth TD catch of the season, tops on the team.

The defense forced another punt to put the ball back in the hands of the blazing offense. The Claymores moved into Barcelona territory as the first quarter concluded with the Scottish side on top 14-0. The first quarter was truly a one-sided affair, with the Claymores outgaining the Dragons 168-3 in total offense.

Maurice Hicks led the Claymores with 74 yards
The second quarter opened the same way as the first with the Claymores jumping on the scoreboard again. Nall’s swing pass to Simonton on the first play of the period gained 31 yards and moved the team inside the red zone again. Hicks reached the end zone for the second time on the day two plays later with a two-yard plunge through the right side of the offensive line. Rob Hart’s third PAT of the day gave the Claymores a 21-0 lead with more than 13 minutes to play before halftime.

Another Barcelona three-and-out gave the ball back to the Claymores offense, which didn’t disappoint. Shane Stafford came in at quarterback and led a 95-yard scoring march. Effective runs by Hicks and Simonton helped move the ball down the field quickly, and Stafford’s big gainer on the drive came on an 18-yard strike to Anthony Bright. As Stafford was flushed from the pocket deep in Dragon ground, he scrambled and found Scott Couper in the back left corner of the end zone. Couper grabbed his 100th career reception and put the team ahead 28-0 in the process. The Scottish national joined Yo Murphy as the only Claymores in the 100-catch club, and became just the seventh player in NFLE history reach that plateau.

Ken Simonton added to his yardage total
Lockhart’s second sack of the day helped to force the sixth Nick Murphy punt of the half, and the Claymores weren’t done scoring. Stafford scrambled for 17 yards down to the 29 on the drive’s first play, and then fired a strike to Minardi two plays later to make the score 35-0 with just :23 left on the clock. The teams went to the locker room with the Claymores having outgained Barcelona 338-7 in offensive yardage in a completely one-sided performance.

The defense kept up the dominance to open the second half. Lockhart set a Claymores record with his third sack of the evening, and Chris Ward followed that up with his 14th career sack, adding to his team mark.

Nall returned at the helm of the offense and led them back to the end zone. A 24-yard pass to Edell Shepherd moved the ball down to the three, and Simonton added to his league-leading scoring total with his eighth rushing score, his 10th touchdown overall on the campaign. The three-yard run made the score 42-0 with eight minutes remaining in the third.

The Dragons put together a drive and moved inside the red zone on their next possession. Sacks by Michael Landry and Robert Flickinger on third and fourth downs held the home side off the scoreboard again. The quarter ran out with the Claymores in possession of the ball and a commanding 42-point lead.

Chris Ward signals his feelings
The Claymores moved into Barcelona ground again to start the fourth quarter. Hicks carried the bulk of the load on the drive and Stafford nearly hit Minardi for his third touchdown of the day. The ball was jarred loose from his hands in the end zone, though, and the team settled for a 36-yard Rob Hart field goal to move the margin to 45 points with 12 minutes remaining.

Burford moved the Dragons down the field once again, but was once again thwarted at the doorstep. A fourth down pass to Gabe Crecion inside the five-yard line fell incomplete and the Claymores took possession with the clean sheet still a possibility. After the Claymores punted, Chris Finlen quarterbacked the Dragons down the field into scoring position. He found Zek Parker for a 27-yard touchdown with just 1:26 to play to put the Dragons on the scoreboard for the first time. The Claymores then ran out the clock to make the final score 45-7.

The win was the third in a row for the Claymores to bring their record to 5-4 heading into next weekend’s finale against Amsterdam. With some help from the Frankfurt Galaxy tomorrow in the Deutschland Derby, the Claymores will hold their World Bowl destiny in their hands heading into the Hampden Park showdown. Regardless of tomorrow’s result, the World Bowl dream is still alive and this warm Spanish evening will not be one soon forgotten by the Scottish supporters.

Claymores Go Out On Top, Beat Admirals 31-14

The Scottish Claymores and Amsterdam Admirals closed out the 2003 NFL Europe season with the Claymores besting the visiting Dutchmen 31-14 in a driving rain at Glasgow’s Hampden Park. The Claymores’ record-setting offense put up their fourth straight 30-point game and fifth of the season. Defensive back Rowelle Blenman, the league’s all-time leader in games played, put on the Claymores uniform for the last time and left the field a winner after receiving a Gatorade bath from his teammates.

Mike Malan scored twice against the Admirals
The Scottish Claymores and Amsterdam Admirals closed out the 2003 NFL Europe season with the Claymores besting the visiting Dutchmen 31-14 in a driving rain at Glasgow’s Hampden Park. The Claymores’ record-setting offense put up their fourth straight 30-point game and fifth of the season. Defensive back Rowelle Blenman, the league’s all-time leader in games played, put on the Claymores uniform for the last time and left the field a winner after receiving a Gatorade bath from his teammates.

Although both teams were out of World Bowl contention, they both came out gunning. After the Claymores defense held the Admirals on a fourth down at the Claymores 31, Craig Nall led a five-play scoring drive that culminated in a 20-yard score on a shovel pass from Nall to fullback Mike Malan. Ken Simonton gained the league rushing title on his first run of the day when he picked up 11 yards. He came into the game trailing Rhein Fire runner Autry Denson for the lead by just six yards. The touchdown for the Claymores was the third week in a row that they scored on their first possession and the seventh time in 10 games this season.

Edell Shepherd celebrates one of his two touchdowns
The Admirals weren’t to be outdone though, and they answered with their own five-play touchdown march. Tellis Redmon scored on a two-yard run to level the score at 7-7 with 4:23 to play in the first quarter. The Amsterdam drive was keyed by a 31-yard pass from Hill to league-leading receiver Matthew Hatchette to put the ball inside the 20. A Claymores 33-yard field goal attempt failed and the first period ended with the score knotted at 7-7.

Linebacker Darnell Robinson snuffed out an early second quarter Amsterdam drive with a sack of Hill at the Claymores 40 on fourth down. Shane Stafford came on at quarterback for the Claymores and led a marathon 13-play, 60-yard touchdown drive. Two fourth down conversions paced the drive and Stafford hit Malan with the same shovel pass that Nall used in the first for a four-yard touchdown. The score was Malan’s fourth of the season, all coming on passes. The Claymores took a 14-7 lead with 3:41 to go before halftime.

Defensive end Chris Ward almost single-handedly stopped the Admirals next drive when he batted down a Hill pass attempt and then sacked Hill on third down to extend his team-record to 14.5 for his career. The Claymores push for a late score was halted and the teams headed to the locker rooms with the home team on top 14-7.

By beating Amsterdam, the Claymores got their hands on the Enterprise Cup
The Claymores offense came out on fire in the second half once again, aided by Jermaine Chatman’s 32-yard kickoff return to the 43-yard line. Six plays later, the Scots were in the end zone again. Nall threw his second touchdown pass of the day, this one coming from 15 yards to Edell Shepherd, his third scoring catch of the season.

The Claymores’ lead grew to 21-7 with 11:44 to play in the third quarter. After the teams took turns punting the ball, Nall was intercepted for the first time in four games when Rashod Kent slipped down and former Claymore Keon Moore stepped in front of the ball, returning it to the Claymores’ 10-yard line.

Redmon scored his second touchdown of the day on the next play, running it up the middle into the end zone. The lead was sliced to 21-14 with just over four minutes to go in the third period. Moore wasn’t finished causing trouble for his old team as he stripped the ball from Malan deep in Admirals territory. Amsterdam took possession at the 10, and the third period ended with the Claymores ahead 21-14.

The Claymores forced a turnover in the fourth quarter with T.J. Bingham jumping on a fumble at the Admirals 17. The offense couldn’t move the ball though, and Rob Hart came on to kick a 32-yard field goal to push the lead to 24-14 7:51 left in the game. Bingham dropped Hill for the second time on the day and took over the team-lead with seven sacks on the season.

Rowelle Blenman is on the receiving end of the Gatorade bucket after his final game as a Claymore
Simonton took over the on the Claymores next drive, carrying the ball six straight times and pushing over the 100-yard mark for the fourth time on the season. Just after the two-minute warning, Stafford threw a fourth down pass over the middle into the waiting arms of Shepherd for his second touchdown of the day. The 29-yard score closed the scoring on the day with the Claymores defeating the Admirals 31-14.

The Claymores win brought their record to 6-4 and gives the team their first ever four-game winning streak. They finished in a three-way tie with Rhein and Frankfurt at the top of the league standings, but are edged out of the World Bowl on tiebreakers.

The season was still a rousing success, with the offense putting up record numbers of 4,169 yards on the season, besting the previous record by more than 200 yards. Simonton won the rushing crown with 871 yards rushing and racked up 1,253 of total offense, also best in the league. 2003 will definitely be a year to remember for all Claymores supporters.