The Scottish Claymores entered this past Sunday's game with the Amsterdam Admirals with nothing more than pride to play for. Thanks to Saturday's action that saw the Rhein Fire defeat the Barcelona Dragons and the Berlin Thunder pull a 27-14 upset of the Frankfurt Galaxy, the Claymores knew heading into the game that regardless of the outcome their World Bowl XI had come to an end. That said, the Claymores closed out the season in impressive fashion with a strong 31-14 win in a driving rain at Glasgow's Hampden Park.
Patriots allocated fullback Michael Malan helped lead a Claymores offensive attack that rushed for 174 yards and passed for 262 yards in the process of setting a new NFLEL record with 4,169 yards of offense on the season. Malan put Scotland on the scoreboard first midway through the first quarter when he took a shovel pass from Packers quarterback Craig Nall and rumbled 20-yards for the score. Then in the second quarter Malan took a shovel pass from fellow Patriots allocation Shane Stafford and darted four yards for another score that gave the Claymores a 14-7 lead that they would not relinquish.
Both Malan and Stafford put in solid, all-around efforts throughout the win. Malan finished with four rushes for 16 yards and tied for a game-high with five receptions for 44 yards, including the two touchdowns. The former Brown University tailback also continued to lead the way for successful runners, as Claymores tailback Ken Simonton finished season with a 151-yard effort. Simonton closed the 2003 campaign with 871 yards rushing and 1,253 yards of total offense, both NFLEL season bests.
Stafford had what may have been his best game of the season in reserve action of Nall, completing 10-of-14 passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He also rushed the ball twice for three yards. In an interesting note fellow Patriot, tight end Rodney Trafford, also threw a pass for the Claymores on Sunday. Trafford took an end-around pitch and looked to throw into the end zone from 14 yards out in the fourth quarter, but the pass was broken up and nearly intercepted.
The final Claymores with Patriots ties, cornerback Dyshod Carter and receiver Scott McCready, played limited roles on Sunday. Carter saw reserve action at corner and finished with three solo tackles and one pass defense, while McCready got the start at wide out and caught one pass for eight yards.
With the win the Claymores finished the season with a four-game winning streak to close out the year at 6-4, tied for first in the NFLEL standings. The Claymores lose out on the World Bowl bid though thanks to league tie-breaking procedures. The two other 6-4 finishers, the Frankfurt Galaxy and the Rhein Fire will face off in World Bowl XI at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland this Saturday at 12:00 p.m. The game can be seen in the U.S. on FOX.
In a unique twist two Claymores players, defensive end Chris Ward and former Patriots training camp linebacker Yubrenal Isabelle, will play for the Fire in the World Bowl. The two players will help an injury-plagued Rhein team in its battle with Frankfurt. … Malan finished the season playing in all 10 games with nine starts. He carried the ball 17 times for 106 yards and caught 25 passes for 241 yards and four touchdowns. … Stafford saw reserve action in eight games completing 47-of-78 passes for 589 yards and eight touchdowns. … Carter played in all 10 games with four starts. He recorded one interception, 28 tackles and five passes defensed. … Trafford started all 10 games at tight end catching 18 passes for 223 yards and one score. … McCready started all 10 games catching 23 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns. … The three other Patriots allocations, offensive lineman Mike Clare, linebacker Courtney Ledyard and receiver T.C. Taylor had injury-shortened seasons in Europe. Clare started the first four games of the season for the Galaxy before a season-ending injury. Taylor got a late start on the season with a leg injury and did not record a catch in five games with the Admirals. Ledyard started two games for the Fire and recorded 11 tackles before a season-ending shoulder injury.