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The Mid-South Conference opened play this week, with one conference game and one conference member getting an early season run out. Davenport dispatched Clemson 35-14 for its second ever win against a Mid-South opponent, while Lindenwood defeated NSCRO standard bearer Iowa Central 36-5.
Traditionally one of the toughest conferences in the country, Davenport has struggled since joining several years ago. With the likes of Life, Lindendwood and Arkansas State, there are no easy games. Last year, a surprise loss on the road at Clemson kept them from getting off to a solid fall campaign.
“This year we started conference playt he way we wanted to by beating Clemson early in the year. We would like another conference win over Arkansas State this fall to give us some cushion going to into a tough spring campaign,” said Davenport coach Harry King.
It was a nice win for a Davenport team that lost to Notre Dame a few weeks ago.
“When we are at full strength games like this prove we have a good side of rugby players,” King added.
Davenport overcame an early yellow card and two Clemson scores to assert itself against the visiting Tigers. The Panthers got excellent play from flyhalf Noah Zomberg, freshman back Brady Erlich and senior flanker Thomas Cheslek.
Davenport records the first win of the year in the conference. There will be several more league games this fall but the majority of the season will take place this spring.
In other preseason action, Lindenwood showed periods of quality rugby but by in large it was a typical first game. The team featured a number of guys playing their first game for the school.
“We were a little loose with ball in hand but we put twenty new players in a Lindenwood jersey and that's to be expected. The crowds were great and I'm sure they were just a little jumpy,” said Lindenwood coach Josh Macy.
In coach Macy’s second year, the Lions are making some tactical changes and this game was a good test for the new approach. The changes came with some growing pains, but rather they come now than deep in the season.
“We are switching things up a bit tactically and it was good to see them apply why we're working toward. Some guys were understandably disappointed in how they played but they just need to believe that we are working toward May and keep getting better,” Macy added.