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The Norfolk Blues have made the DI crossover playoffs after beating the Maryland Exiles 51-17 Saturday in the final match of the Mid-Atlantic club season.
"It's win or go home," said Norfolk Head Coach Chris Porter before the game. "We've glad we're in this position given the hole we started in at the beginning of the season. The guys have been busting their butts over the winter to get ready. Ed Stockunas put together some great training programs for us."
With some solid warmup matches, and with a couple of talented players added to the roster, Norfolk went into the game with confidence and urgency.
Maryland, meanwhile, wanted to win, as well, but didn't need to as urgently. They had to win by 49 points to move into 2nd. That was not realistic, and in the end they knew they could not move up. In fact, they moved down, as Norfolk ends the season, a season that started 1-2, with a far greater points difference.
"We have lost a couple of players to school, and we're still young," said club president Mike Bonistalli. "But it's good that the season comes down to a meaningful game like this."
The game itself was close early, with the Blues holding a tense 7-5 lead. And the teams traded tries again, with the only difference being that Norfolk made their conversions to lead 14-10.
In the second half, the fitness work the Blues had been doing over the winter started to pay off, and they scored six tries before Maryland crossed over again.
Final MARFU DI standings - Baltimore-Chesapeake drops out of the playoffs with Norfolk's victory.
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