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A trio of non-conference clashes took place over the weekend. Notre Dame College edged Lindenwood-Belleville, Arkansas State got back in the win column by thumping Oklahoma and Davenport defeated Notre Dame in a tight contest.
The most intriguing matchup of the weekend was between the two independent teams, Lindenwood-Belleville and Notre Dame College. It was widely assumed only one independent team would get an at large bid to the DIAA playoffs, but as it turns out both impressed USA Rugby to get at large berths.
The falcons remained undefeated, but the young Lynx made them work for it. NDC struggled with penalties in the first half, losing the field possession game. After a penalty gave the Lynx the lead, Corie Graham intercepted a pass and took it the distance for a 7-3 advantage.
“We got penalized quite a bit…and as a result they scored a try and kicked a bunch of penalties,” said NDC coach Jason Fox.
Marcus Tupuola extended the lead for NDC with a powerful run to 12-3 but Lindenwood fought back with a try. Another score from NDC and a pair of penalties left the game 20-11 at the break.
The Lynx converted two penalties to start the second half and to compound things NDC received a yellow card. NDC stemmed the tide at 20-17 and added two late tries to win the match 34-17. Rodney Thomas, who has been playing superb defensively at outside center for the Falcons sealed the match with an emphatic try.
“He scored maybe the try of the year for us. He fended off a number of tacklers and powered his way to the try zone,” Fox said of Thomas.
Both teams will prepare for the DIAA playoffs on November 19-20.
“I think they are a good team,” Fox said of the Lynx. “With the DIAA teams, I think they are definitely up with there with anybody.”
Arkansas State avenged last week’s loss to Davenport with a blistering 69-3 win over Oklahoma. Nine different Red Wolves found the try zone with Nic Abreus and Preston Weigel finding the try zone twice.
Davenport continued its winning ways with a 27-15 victory over Notre Dame. The Irish continue to improve, playing another quality team to a tough game. The Irish led 8-5 through the first 20 minutes before the Panthers took the lead they would never relinquish.
The Panthers added two tries towards the end of the first half to take at 17-8 lead going into half. Davenport added two unconverted tries midway through the second half before the Irish added a try at the death.