Week 17: Weekend Wrap

D1A Rugby: Week 17: Weekend Wrap
Photo Credit: Photo (homepage) Dennis D. Hawk

BOULDER, Colo. – In Week 17, both Life and Colorado extended their undefeated streaks and conference leads in the Mid-South and West, respectively. Baylor and Oklahoma each earned victories, but only one team has done enough to play for the Allied Rugby Conference’s Championship. In California, Saint Mary’s continued to put up monster numbers against its conference’s bottom half.

Mid-South

Life 30-15 Davenport

Davenport continues to compete at a high level in the country’s toughest conference without a win to show for it. This week, it was the Panthers giving Life all it could handle, but eventually the Running Eagles left the pitch victorious.

Fifteen minutes into the match, Life was in control after Joe Cowley connected on a penalty kick and Takura Tela scored a try that Cowley converted for a 10-0 lead.

Winger Reece Czarnecki cut the Running Eagles’ lead in half with an unconverted try. Following Czarnecki’s score, each team would trade penalties before halftime.

Davenport allowed Life to build on its 13-8 halftime lead when Kevin Lynch scored in the early moments of the second half. Cowley, who finished the match with 15 points from his boot, again converted and Life stretched the lead to 20-8.

Kruger Van Biljon’s bunch would not give in, adding a try from outside center Sondai Adjei that would be converted to put the Panthers’ within striking distance at 20-15 with roughly five minutes to play. However, Life ended any possibility of a Davenport comeback with another penalty from Cowley, and Paris Hollis would touch down a try with no time remaining to cap a 30-15 Life win.

Allied Rugby Conference

Oklahoma 84-19 Sam Houston

Oklahoma visited Sam Houston State needing a victory to keep its ARC Championship hopes alive, and the Sooners did just that.

Sam Houston has struggled all season, and was no match for an Oklahoma team that was paced by Michael Al-Jiboori’s four tries. The Sooners’ bonus-point victory sets up next week’s game against Texas Tech that will decide who win the ARC.

Baylor 31-26 Texas A&M

Baylor did what was required of them in beating Texas A&M to remain in the hunt for the ARC crown, but Oklahoma’s win over Sam Houston ultimately put the Bears on the outside looking in.

Baylor currently sits on top of the ARC standings with no matches remaining. Unfortunately for the Bears, Oklahoma only trails by two points, and Texas Tech trails by three, meaning whichever team wins Saturday’s matchup between the two will overtake Baylor in points and become the ARC Champions of 2014. Still, Baylor’s win over Texas A&M completes a successful season for the up and coming Bears who went 3-1 in the ARC, and should be in the conference title hunt for years to come.

West

Colorado 46-37 Air Force

Colorado improved to 3-0 in the West after ended up on the winning end of a high-scoring affair with Air Force. The Buffs came out rumbling with three tries in the first 11 minutes, and added a fourth at the 19th minute.

The Zoomies were successful in moving the ball down the field on offense as well. Air Force captain Jackson Bristol scored his second try of the game to open the second half and Air Force was down just a try at 27-22. However, The five-point margin was as close as Air Force would get to Colorado.

The Buffaloes answered with 19 consecutive points down the stretch. True to a typical Air Force squad, the Zoomies played tough for a full 80 minutes and added three unanswered tries down the stretch. Still, the comeback fell short and Colorado’s exploits on offense rewarded the team with another win and a stranglehold on the West standings.

California

Saint Mary’s 135-0 UC Davis

A week after the Gaels beat UC Santa Barbara 97-7, Saint Mary’s outdid itself by shutting out UC Davis 135-0.

Fourteen Gaels scored tries, including hat tricks from wings Nick Schlobohm and Mason Columbo. Dylan Audsley’s foot was busy and accurate on the afternoon. The center was 13 for 16 on conversion attempts.

Next Saturday’s opponent, San Diego State, should pose a much stiffer challenge for Saint Mary’s.

Non-conference Matches

Army 46-12 Texas A&M

The West Point rugby team finished its three-match Texas Tour with a 46-12 win over Texas A&M. Getting a late start to its 2014 season following a suspension, Army looked determined to make a statement in its trip through Texas. The 34-point win over A&M followed a 41-5 win against University of Texas and a 79-5 thumping of Baylor.

Wheeling Jesuit 22-23 West Virginia