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Abel Barrientes Photo

In an epic overtime battle, Cal defeated Kuztown University 17-12 to take its third consecutive Penn Mutual CRC championship. Ill-discipline from KU lead to a late yellow card and resulted in Jake Anderson heading to pay dirt untouched for the game winning score.

The first four minutes of the game were very hectic with the teams feeling each other out and trying to impose their will on the game. KU almost got on the board first Nu’u Aaiva beat his opposite number and found Alex Faison-Donahoe down the sideline. A great tackle from Harry Adolphus saved the try, however, and the Alec Gletzer cleaned up the mess for Cal.

KU continued to put the Golden Bears under pressure, though, forcing a Cal player to spill the ball. Ku sprinted forward but great rucking at the breakdown gave Cal back possession. Ku forced the Golden Bears back however, earning a penalty at the 5-meter line. Robert Stortz took the quick tap and barged over for a 5-0 lead. Niku Kruger, who came off in the semi-finals with an injury, suited up for the final, and slotted the conversion.

Cal looked out of sorts, knocking on the restart. The Golden Bears forced a penalty inside their own 22 and started moving in the ascendency. A bit of individual brilliance from Anthony Salaber evened the game up. Salaber took the ball inside his own territory, broke through the line, made the sweeper miss and out ran a defender to dot down under the posts.

Kutztown took the kickoff but knocked the ball on after a few phases deep in its own territory. Cal won the ensuing scrum and swung the ball left. Andrew Battaglia looked to have snuck in down the left sideline but the Assistant Referee deemed that the he had stepped out of bounds. The questionable call came as the hooter sounded and the half ended even at 7 apiece.

Cal won the kickoff to start the second half and methodically worked the ball downfield. This time the ball was spun right and Battaglia would not be denied. Cal missed the sideline conversion but led 12-7.

Cal spent the next few minutes in KU territory but the Running Bears forced a turnover and earned a penalty to get better field position. KU squandered the field position momentarily by throwing the lineout not straight.

The Golden Bears looked to be moving down field but a knock on landed in the hands of Jonathan Sage. Sage timed a crash ball perfectly to an oncoming Faison-Donahoe who outsprinted Gletzer for a try in the corner. With a minute left to play, the game was even at 12-12.

The Golden Bears moved down the field with a long run from Andrew Battaglia. KU forced a penalty at the breakdown and looked to have a chance to win it with 15 seconds left.

Bilal Hassen, however, smashed a Cal player to the ground and was sent off with a yellow card and a penalty was awarded to Cal. Cal took the tap but knocked on the original pass and the game headed to sudden death overtime.

KU started the overtime down a player but one the coin toss and elected to receive. The Running Bears played tight rugby hoping to milk the clock until the sin bin time was up, but came in from the side at a ruck and a penalty was awarded to Cal. 

 Off the restart Jake Anderson split the defense for a try under the posts and the Cup championship. For his efforts over two days Anderson was named the tournament MVP.

For the third consecutive year the Cal Bears are the Penn Mutual CRC champions.