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The Dallas Reds recorded a convincing outing over the weekend, beating Houston Athletic 62-15 on the heels of a pair of Gold Cup wins the week prior. The Reds effectively played to the elements, which helped the team coast to an easy win.
“We used our speed out wide in the first half of the game while we were going into the wind,” said Reds manager, Filip Keuppens. “And [we] were effective at tightening things up through the forwards in the second half to starve the opposition of possession.”
While the Reds played the wind well on the ground, the weather affected how well the kicks came from the tee. According to Keuppens, Blake Boulton struck the ball well when going for the posts, but with the headwind going strong a few of the kicks went astray. On top of his try, Boulton still converted six tries. Chris Slater scored a set of tries, along with Jon Moore, Pete Santos, Alec Hernandez, Jonny Heron, Chris Hopkins, Hal Struckman and Sal Demartino.
The Reds piled up the pressure throughout the match, even when HARC had ball in hand. According to Keuppens, his players rushed off the line to get up close and personal with the opposition. The pressure forced HARC to rush the clearance kicks in the first half and allowed forwards to force errors at the breakdowns and in the set pieces.
“Our forwards did a great job of putting the opposition under pressure at the scrum, pushing the opposition backwards to prevent clean ball,” he said. “[HARC] like to pick-and-jam off the fringes to get on the front foot through the forwards. Our post and pillar defenders did a great job of meeting the opponent behind the gain line in order to limit their ability to gain positive momentum. Jeremy Neilson and Alec Hernandez were particularly active defensively and both had great games.”
Like many of the teams in the conference, the Reds‘ roster is beginning to fill with the walking wounded. The Gold Cup matches last week strained Keuppens’ resources going into Saturday’s match and some of the reserves had to step up to fill in the gaps.
“Two high-level games in one weekend can leave a team a bit dinged up so depth becomes very important in the following weeks,” Keuppens said. “We've been fortunate in that area. We were able to pull some very capable players up from Division II to play Division I. The trip tested our depth and resources quite a bit, especially at the Division II level, but the boys were able to dig deep and get out of Houston with a bonus-point win and remain injury free in the process.”
Health is the priority for the Reds – getting the injured players at one hundred per cent again and keeping the others as healthy as possible.
Up next for the Reds is a cross-town clash with the Harlequins, followed by matches with the Austin Huns and New Orleans before closing the season against the Austin Blacks.