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Life captured the DIA National Championship with a convincing 60-5 win over Cal. It was the first time Life has ever beaten Cal in either 15s or 7s and it is the third national championship in school history.
Life got on the board first through Austin White. The Running Eagles chipped over the top and the winger sprinted on the ball for the early 7-0 lead.
Cal responded with a try after some ingenuity. Keanu Andrade broke the line and offloaded to Troy Lockyear. A few phases later, Cal was attacking on the goal line. Despite a tremendous defensive stand by Life, Cal pounded away at the fringes and Thomas Robles snuck over to cut the lead to 7-5.
The teams traded barbs for a few minutes before Life earned a penalty just outside the 22 and earned three points. Minutes later the Running Eagles mauled the ball down 20 meters before swinging it wide. Harley Wheeler found the corner and sprinted through two tacklers to score down the sideline. The conversion was missed and Life led 15-5.
Defensive pressure led to another score for life. Wheeler forced a missed pass inside Cal 22. Sean Coughlan picked up the ball and scooted around the corner for a 22-5 lead. Minutes later, Wheeler got on the board once again for Life. The Running Eagles kicked deep and Wheeler scooped up a fortuitous bounce to extend the lead to 29-5. That’s how the game would go into the break.
Cal started the second half strong working its way down the field. For the first five minutes, the Bears probed Life’s goal line but could not crack the defense. A couple knocks led to Life kicking the ball out of trouble.
Minutes later Justin Johnson scooped up a turnover at a lineout and sprinted deep into Cal territory. The Running Eagles spun the ball wide and Wheeler found pay dirt for the third time to extend the lead to 34-5.
Life continued to pile on after Cal muffed a kick. Several offloads later led to Alex Maughan being held up in goal. After several scrums, Ryan Rees picked at the back of a ruck and snuck through the fringe to add to the advantage at 41-5.
The Running Eagles continued to dominate and found the try zone once again through the forwards. Brian Muntanga ran a crash ball straight through the Cal line and dove over under the posts for a 48-5 lead.
A minute later, Mitch Wilson sprinted through the Cal defense after throwing a dummy at midfield. The speedster sprinted to the corner, was brought down just shy of the line but was able to reach over for a 53-5 lead.
Life put the exclamation point on the game with a penalty try in minute 75. Cal pulled down a driving five meter scrum and the penalty awarded seven points. The final whistle blew and Life Captured its third national championship with a 60-5 victory.