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Alabama defeated Tennessee 12-8 to capture its first ever SCRC title last week. With the win, the Crimson Tide snapped a two year unbeaten streak for the Volunteers. Ironically, the last time Tennessee lost, it was at the hands of Alabama in the 2014 SCRC semifinals.
The weather impacted the game and made it a real grind it out affair. The wind was strong, really inhibiting any type of expansive play.
“It was probably the windiest game I have ever seen or been a part of. It affected the ball a lot” said Alabama coach Eddie Buckner.
Tennessee broke the line early in the game and managed to score an unconverted try. Penalties hampered the volunteers, however, leading to several yellow cards. At one point Alabama held a two-man advantage and finally capitalized with a converted try and a 7-5 lead. The Volunteers limited the damage, however, playing valiant defense.
“There defense was phenomenal and 13 on 15 they nearly held us scoreless,” added Buckner. “Tennessee was a phenomenal team and I think we were lucky to get through and get the try in.”
Alabama added a second score in the second half to extend the lead to 12-5. Tennessee kicked for points with 10 minutes to go in the game to cut the lead to 12-8.
Handling errors and disjointed play marred the final 10 minutes. Alabama was happy to play a slower game and managed to kick the ball out of bounds on the final play to secure the victory.
It is the first ever SCRC title for the Crimson Tide. It is a triumph for the program and second year coach Buckner.
“It is huge for the program. It is a massive accomplishment based on where the team is at,” said Buckner.
Club president Shawn Dawley had a strong game and led from the front all season. Buckner mentioned the stellar play of James Fuente and Bobby Morgan. The latter missed the final due to a concussion but was instrumental in the 2016 success.
Although those impact players will be graduating, Alabama is poised to continue its success due to a solid balance of upper classmen and younger contributors. Look out for the Crimson Tide for the next several years.