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THE Croydon Rangers have slumped to their third loss of the Gridiron Victoria season, marking the first time in the club’s 30-year history it has started with an 0-3 record.
For much of the day, the contest against the Western Crusaders was going well.
Quarterback Mark Ursu connected with Josh Petracca on a deep touchdown pass and club champion Steve Churchill added one at ground level.
However, in the dying minutes of the match, the Crusaders blocked a fieldgoal attempt with the scores level and scampered the length of the field to score an incredible touchdown and steal the victory 19-12.
The Rangers now prepare for the Rivalry Bowl against the Berwick Miners in Endeavor Hills this Saturday, a match-up between the two oldest gridiron clubs in the state.
AMERICAN football returned to Croydons Springfield Reserve on Saturday as the Croydon Rangers hosted the Geelong Buccaneers in week two of the Gridiron Victoria season.
Under sunny skies, with a large crowd in attendance, the match started at a furious pace with the Buccaneers drawing first blood after a short touchdown run by Daniel Barnett, the first of three scores he would have for the afternoon.
The Rangers defence rebounded quickly, with veteran Tom Kinloch forcing a quarterback fumble and linesman Taylor Gist pouncing on the loose ball for the touchdown.
Offensively, the Rangers struggled to fire and the opposition took full advantage to lead 20-6 at half time.
The second half saw more of the same power running game from the Buccaneers, with two more rushing touchdowns confirming a 34-6 win.
Despite the gloomy scoreline, young rookie Austin Golden played beyond his years on defence for the Rangers, ably assisted by veterans Mark Doyle and Tyson Burgess.
The Rangers will now look to prepare for a clash with the Western Crusaders in Reservoir on Saturday.
Croydon will be desperate to win and avoid going 0-3 for the first time in more than a decade.