THE Prairie hosted American Football for the first time in 21 years as the Burnley Tornados hosted their home tournament against Chorley Buccaneers, Chester Romans and Standish Raiders.
Following in the footsteps of the Prairie Dogs, the Tornados are looking to make the Prairie their home.
The Tornados’ first game of the season was against arch rivals Chorley.
The Buccaneers won the toss and took the offense, scoring on only their second play of the game, but failing to convert the extra point.
The Tornados then came out, and after settling in, scored on the next drive to level the game.
Lewis Clark then intercepted the Chorley ball and ran it the length of the field to give Burnley another touchdown, with Andy Hawkes running the ball in for a conversion.
The Buccs rallied and scored again and at half-time the Tornados were up 14-12.
Following the team talk by the coaches, the Tornados came out fired up and quarterback Jake Peppiate threw the ball comfortably into the hands of Clark for another touchdown.
Again though, Burnley’s defense could not stop the Buccs and they scored another touchdown.
A few more running drives down the field, and Hawkes ran the ball into the endzone for another touchdown.
Burnley stopped the Buccaneers driving forward and got the ball back with only a few seconds to spare.
To secure the win, the Tornados ran down the clock by “taking a knee”, running out 26-18 victors, with a great game had by many rookies and some excellent tackles by the ever-aware Lewis Freeman.
After a short break, Burnley took on Standish, who won the toss and the Tornados were on the defense to start.
Again, on only the second drive of the game, Standish were able to get on the scoreboard, but were unable to convert the extra point.
Centre Phil Robins was then able to catch the ball and run in for a touchdown.
Josh Bonnick and Freeman joined forces to tackle and recover a fumble twice in the half, with Josh also getting a knockdown to stop the Raiders driving forward.
Along with Hawkes running in another touchdown, the Tornados went into a 12-6 lead at the half.
The second half saw a better performance from the Tornados, with Peppiate able to complete four passes, one to Clark, followed by the two-point conversion, and the ever agile Hawkes getting his fourth touchdown of the day.
Bonnick was again on form in this half and was able to make a knockdown to stop the Raiders making any further progress.
To give Hawkes a short rest, Paddy Berkins, Ryan Morgan and Dylan Gent were all given a chance to run the ball and gained valuable yards to help the Tornados make progress down field.
The game ended with the Tornados victorious 26-6.
Chorley Buccs then beat Chester Romans 27-25, before Chester took on Burnley.
This would prove to be a running game, with Hawkes getting many of the plays.
He ran for a total of 193 yards alone in this game but on the day his total was 397 – a very impressive figure, along with the fact that he scored 10 of the Tornados touchdowns to earn the MVP accolade.
Again at the start the Tornados were on the defense and the Romans were quick to score a touchdown, but the Tornados settled down and Hawkes ran in two touchdowns and the extra point.
Clark was also able to stop the Romans making progress with a knockdown, and the score was very close at the half with Burnley only up 14-13.
Zack Leigh went on as centre in place of Robins and did well to give Peppiate time to look at the plays and get the players set.
The defense were able to contain the Romans with excellent tackles from Anthony Tither and Sam Margison.
The 20 points Burnley scored in the second half meant a well-deserved 34-13 victory.
MVPs for the day went to Hawkes, Clark, Anthony Tither and Bonnick.
This now puts Burnley at the top of the league with three wins out of three games. They now have a long rest before they make the trip to Chester for the next tournament on July 7th.
A friendly is lined up in 2 weeks time as Shropshire Revolution will make the journey up to Burnley.
The Tornados are in the process of starting a flag team, and anyone aged seven-14 can come down and try the non- contact version of American Football.
If anyone is interested in the game or supporting the Tornados please visit www.tornadosafc.com