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With week six in the books, three undefeated teams remain with Life West and the EPA Razorbacks atop the south division and Santa Rosa alone in the north. The EPA Razorbacks’ speed and quickness took care of the previously unbeaten Sacramento Lions, 26-13, and Life West continued to rack up the points and bodies as they laid waste to the Sacramento Blackhawks, 50-7. Santa Rosa dispatched the San Jose Seahawks and San Francisco – Golden Gate finally earned its first win of the season over Fresno 38-17.
One the most highly anticipated matches of the season is next week when Life West travels to the EPA Razorbacks for a battle of unbeaten. The defending division champs will hope to contain the high-scoring upstarts in a closely watched match.
Sacramento Blackhawks at the Life West Gladiators
Coming into the game against the Sacramento Blackhawks, Life West led most the standing categories including points scored, points differential, and overall standing points. The Gladiators once again lived up to their hype downing the Blackhawks 50-7. In the victory, Life West rested a good number of their starters giving some of the less experienced players valuable playing time.
Playing at newly sodded Sunset Field at the Hayward Adult School in Hayward, Calif., Life West struck early and often. Tyler Harrison (2), Taniela Vakauta, Niko Lolohea, Junior Helu, Tyler Hutcherson, and Tookey Stevenson each scored for the Gladiators. Flyhalf Orene Ai'i was five for seven on conversions. Scrumhalf Josh Toy scored Sacramento’s lone try with Rich Knight kicking the conversion.
“The key to the game was winning enough possession,” Life West head coach Adriaan Ferris. “We know we have a style conducive to scoring tries, but we felt we needed to adapt the way we play slightly to take on their big forward pack. Effectively, it was the forwards who laid our foundation.”
Sacramento Lions at the EPA Razorbacks
The Sacramento Lions took their undefeated record on the road this past weekend to East Palo Alto for to see who would get the first notch in the loss column. After a battle between the speed and quickness of the Razorbacks and the strength and size of the Lions, EPA withstood the barrage stretching the field to a 26-13 victory.
The Razorbacks earned tries from Alofagia Sakalia, Tomi Sau, Siupeli Sakalia, and Isei Fehoko, while Sau chipped in two conversions. In the loss, inside center Dennis Saafi scored Sacramento’s try and Seremaia Tavai kicked two penalties and a conversion.
“It was a physical match,” EPA captain Siupeli Sakalia said. “In the first half, it was scoreless for the first 20 minutes. We were figuring each other out. Sacramento always brings the physicality. They were bigger than us so we were trying to use our speed to outmatch their size... We spread the ball out. We won our phases and we won ruck ball. Then we played fast. On defense, we pressed up to minimize their running space.”
Santa Rosa at the San Jose Seahawks
With a 34-5 victory at San Jose, Santa Rosa has stretched its winning streak to four games. “We were very strong in the forwards again and had another pushover try,” Santa Rosa coach Rick Humm stated. “When you are able to build a platform like that it sets the stage for other successes. Very strong forward play was key.”
Rosa’s Ratu Tamaibeka was the benefactor of the pushover try and Anthony Gutierreez, Craig Manno, Ilivasi Navia, and Diminic Patrick each dove across the line for a score. Prop Justin Stine connected on a penalty and three conversions to lead all scorers. The Santa Rosa defense has been special this season only allowing a division low of 30 points in four games.
Santa Rosa’s first real test is next week against the Sacramento Lions and then in two weeks have EPA and Life West in back-to-back games. After suffering a few injuries versus San Jose, Santa Rosa needs to get healthy fast. “We have four weeks of very tough competition coming up and that going to tell the tale,” Humm added.
Fresno at San Francisco – Golden Gate
SFGG collected its first win of the season with a 38-17 victory over Fresno at Treasure Island, Calif. SFGG has been out of sync since its head coach resigned a few weeks ago. Since then, SFGG has refocused and were able to establish a rhythm with the same group of guys that have been practicing together for a few weeks in a row.
Houston Noema and Jack Bacigalupi each scored two tries for SFGG and Kalua-Fuimaono ‘Chance’ Chansen and Travis Benson put one in individually. Fullback Max Health chipped in four conversions.
“It was the first time we were able to get everything on track this season,” SFGG captain Jack Webb remarked. “Defensively, our centers made tackles and won rucks and allowed our forwards get into position and win more ball. As a result, we were able to do what we wanted to do all season, which is play our system and style and score tries.”