Posted on 2009-12-26
AUSTEN COLLEGE TRIUMPHS OVER THE LORDS OF ROSINGS
The Austen College Regiment came from behind to triumph over their longtime rivals, the Rosings University Lords and win the Regency Bowl at packed Derbyshire Stadium by a score of 45-17.
The Lords, wearing their trademark orange and gold jerseys, jumped out to an early lead with a touchdown on a ten-yard dash by tailback John Willoughby. Austen quarterback William Darcy, known as "Mr. Offense" or the "ten-thousand yard man" for his career passing total, seemed bewildered in his initial attempts to pass. The Regiment, required by rules to wear white instead of their customary red shirts, managed to advance only thanks to the superb running of Richard Fitzwilliam and had to settle for a field goal by Edwin Bertram after an evident miscommunication between Darcy and his top receiver, Charles Bingley, who came into the game with over 5,000 career receiving yards.
In the second quarter, things continued to go badly for Austen, as a desperate pass from Darcy, pursued by Rosings' weighty defensive end William "Spud" Collins, was tipped by nose tackle Norman Gates, intercepted by defensive back George Wickham, and run back for a touchdown, in spite of valiant attempts by Darcy and Fitzwilliam to tackle him. Wickham and linebacker Johnny Thorpe were penalized for taunting the Austen fans and players with profanities during their touchdown celebration.
After a Phil Elton field goal put the Lords ahead 17-3, the Austen fans seemed rather dispirited, but their hopes were soon revived by kickoff returner Henry Tilney, who evaded several tackling attempts in a 101-yard return and then ran into the end zone for a two-point conversion. From that moment on, the Austen defense seemed to come to its own, as on the next drive defense captain Frederick Wentworth sacked Willie Elliot for a safety, after Tim Harville and Jimmy Benwick had stopped running attempts by Willoughby and Hank Crawford for losses. His teammates' play seemed to provide Darcy with more confidence, since he calmly directed Austen to a further Bertram field goal just before halftime.
In the second half, it was all Austen as Darcy finally showed his leadership quality and justified his reputation for offense production wherever he goes, cannonading a 53-yard pass to Bingley to put the Regiment into the lead. Thorpe and Wickham caused a penalty for unnecessary roughness by hitting Darcy after he had released the ball. The Austen defense continued its outstanding play when Wentworth knocked away two pass attempts from Elliot to Crawford and strong safety Garrett Knightley jumped in front of Frank Churchill for an interception. Rosings attempted to stop Austen from their goal, but Collins and Gates was turned into non-factors by the superb blocking of the offensive line, especially guard Leroy Hurst, and Wickham's repeated attempts to blindside Darcy on blitzes were stopped by Fitzwilliam. The drive was capped by Darcy himself with a four-yard run.
Suddenly behind by more than ten points, the Lords attempted to resort to trick plays, such as scrambles after fake handofffs by Elliot and wildcat passes by Willoughby and Crawford, but were ultimately unsuccessful as the Austen defense remained steady. "Once they felt they were losing the game, I was sure they would resort to all kinds of tricks," said Austen defensive coordinator Chris "Colonel" Brandon. "The story was for my boys not to get distracted and stay focused on the ball."
The fourth quarter provided a happy ending for Austen as the Regiment rallied again and again. After Darcy and Bingley connected successfully several times and Thorpe was called for pass interference for holding Tilney, Fitzwilliam found a gap in the Rosings defense and ran in from five yards out, with Wickham being dealt a devastating block by Darcy himself. Another successful strike from Darcy to Tilney and a Bertram field goal towards the end led to the final score of 45-17, with the Austen crowd going wild.
"This meant a lot to us," said Austen coach Ed Gardiner. "At halftime I had to have a little talk with Darcy and Bingley, but then they and Fitzwilliam showed they have everything it takes to be heroes in this game." Rosings coach Lewis DeBourgh refused to comment, but was heard to grumble that "Wickham got outsmarted by Austen's guys, Crawford couldn't rush worth anything, and Elliot had feet of clay."
FROM THE REPORTER'S UNPUBLISHED NOTES
After the game ended, Jane and Elizabeth Bennett, co-captains of the Austen cheerleading unit, the Muses, known for their exceptional dancing skill, both received proposals of marriage from Bingley and Darcy respectively. Jane responded to her proposal with an enthusiastic squeal and was carried off the field by her future husband. The answer by Elizabeth, a Dean's List scholar, was "William, go take a shower" (Darcy frowned at this) "and then come ask me again." (I missed the second proposal because I had to do post-game interviews, but several people told me they saw Elizabeth wearing an exquisite diamond ring, so I can figure what happened.) The young ladies' father, Professor Thomas Bennett, could not be reached for comment. (The department secretary, Ms. Hill, told me he was probably in the library somewhere.)The End