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A slew of non-conference games took place over the weekend. Arkansas State beat Lindenwood-Belleville 51-16, Air Force downed Utah State 29-17 and Notre Dame College knocked off Davenport 26-24.
NDC continues to play tough opponents and continues to win. The matchup with the Panthers was the closest one of the season, with five lead changes throughout the course of the game. It took a late score from NDC to stay unbeaten this season.
“Davenport is a good team. They really are. They pretty much kept control of the ball for the majority of the first half,” said NDC coach Jason Fox. “It was a great game both ways.”
The teams traded tries in the first half with Zack Farro tallying both tries for NDC. Going into the break the game was tied 14-14. NDC got more possession in the second half and was able to squeak out a victory.
“In the second half I think we did a much better job doubling down and playing our style of play. We stuck to our system,” Fox added.
Cory Graham broke through the middle to open the scoring in the second half and with the conversion NDC led 21-14. Davenport responded with a penalty and well-executed try, however. With 10 minutes to play the Panthers led 24-21.
A couple substitutions came on and really made an impact for NDC. In particular, Andrew Guerra, a freshman from Chicago scored the game-winning try with less than five to play. The forward picked from the back of a ruck, went weak side, and managed to power his way over for a try from 10 meters out.
“To have a freshman score the winning try against Davenport,” Fox exclaimed with excitement. “We played great defense and made them work for everything they got.”
Out West, Air Force played an up and coming team from Utah State. After dismantling Utah last week, the Zoomies had a much tougher time this week. Handling errors and a slow start plagued the Academy.
“It was a really spirited match. There were a lot of unknowns going into it. Our guys took a little while to get going. The hands were not quite as good as they had been the previous week and we had a lot of turnovers because of it,” said Air Force coach Denny Merideth.
Utah State managed to take a 10-7 lead but Air Force stayed calm and collected. The Zoomies took a 17-7 lead and managed to win 29-17.
“One of the things that I am really impressed from our team was their ability to maintain their composure under a lot of different circumstances. They kept together as a team played together as a unit, worked hard and supported each other throughout the course of the match. That to me is a huge accomplishment that we have been working on for the last year. I am really proud of the approach to that,” Merideth exclaimed.
In Illinios, Lindenwood-Belleville continues to take steps into uncharted waters. The second year Varsity program took on Arkansas State and held its own for a large portion of the game.
The Red Wolves took a 25-6 lead into the break but the Lynx continued to battle. LB scored two tries in the second half and made the game 30-16 with 10 minutes to play. In the final 10 minutes, however, ASU scored three tries to pull away.
The game was a friendly with the teams playing unlimited subs. Arkansas State used this game as a tune up for conference play and Lindenwood-Belleville gained experience as it continues to test itself in a non-conference DIAA schedule.