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It's game day again in Men's DI league play, and the marquee game has to be Norfolk at Baltimore-Chesapeake in the Mid-Atlantic.
B-C leads the league with an 8-3 record, while Norfolk is third at 7-2 - they have more games to play, and potentially win this spring.
The Baltimore field has suffered a lot of rain so the game itself isn't 100% confirmed, but assuming they play it, it should be a good one.
"We are really excited about it," said Norfolk's John Leo. "We worked hard as a team to keep up our fitness over the break, and I think that's been good for us."
While Baltimore put 61 points on a competitive Maryland Exiles team, Norfolk beat winless NOVA 48-5. Leo said NOVA played a tough, physical game, but the Blues weren't happy.
"We were sloppy," he said. "We had a lot of handling errors and we can't have that."
If B-C wins, they are in excellent place to retain 1st in the Mid-Atlantic. If Norfolk wins, then it's likely PAC (in 2nd and hosting Raleigh) will move to 1st. But the Blues will have one less loss than PAC.
Norfolk Blues (7-2) @ Balt.-Chesapeake (8-3)
NOVA (0-11) @ Maryland Exiles (3-6)
Schuylkiill River (6-4) @ Pitt Harlequins (5-5)
Raleigh Vipers (4-7) @ PAC (8-3)
This was a bye week for the Red River Conference in Texas, however two postponed games, Fort Worth at Austin Blacks, and Dallas at the Dallas Harlequins, will be played.
Dallas Reds, if they beat the Harlequins, can inch closer to New Orleans, which has played two more games than the Reds. The top player on the Reds, center/fullback Kelly Kolberg, is at the USA camp.
Fort Worth (2-8) at Austin Blacks (5-2-1)
Dallas Reds (8-0-1) at Dallas Harlequins (5-4)
In Southern California, Los Angeles leads everyone by a country mile, and will take on a tough OMBAC team. The battle for 2nd is down to OMBAC, Old Aztecs, and Belmont Shore. Those last two play each other this weekend.
Santa Monica (1-3) v Las Vegas Blackjacks (1-4)
OMBAC (2-2) v Los Angeles (5-0)
San Diego Old Aztecs (2-2) v Belmont Shore (2-2)
Two big games in Northern California. Top team Sacramento Lions play SFGG, which is 3-4 but still a tough out. Meanwhile, Santa Rosa (5-1) plays unbeaten EPA Bulldogs, who are ineligible for the playoffs, and missed a couple of games due to a suspension dispute that they seem to have won, for now. The Bulldogs may well get forfeit losses for those.
(NCRFU officials have made noises about not recording any Bulldogs games, but that flies in the face of USA Rugby's ruling that they be reinstated, and also makes the league ineligible if they want to follow USA Rugby's minimum games played criteria.)
Interestingly, the Bulldogs were found in violation of their probation thanks to two red cards. That's how the no playoffs punishment kicked in (and NCRFU tried to kick them out of the union, a move USA Rugby voided). Meanwhile, the Diablo Gaels are reportedly on probation for the remainder of the season thanks to five red cards and four yellow cards (including some for foul play). Once again the NCRFU punishments seem, on face value, to be in consistent.
Santa Rosa needs to win this game to keep pace with Sacramento, but the Bulldogs are very, very strong.
Sacramento Lions (5-1) @ SFGG (3-4)
EPA Bulldogs (4-0) @ Santa Rosa (5-1)
Fresno (3-4) @ San Jose (1-6)
EPA Razorbacks (4-3) @ Diablo Gaels (0-6)
Also of note in DI clubs:
The West will re-start soon and their champion (among Utah Islanders, Provo, and Boulder) will enter the national playoffs. However, they must first get by the #2 team in Red River to make the quarterfinals.
In addition, USA Rugby has confirmed that Life University will get a chance to play in the playoffs despite having no league to play in (or because they have no league to play in).
Life is scrimmaging the USA team today, and will play Old Blue in a week. But key for them will be a play-in game with the #2 team from the Northeast in Marietta, Ga.
Seattle-OPSB (10-1) is not going to play in the DI playoffs. They are concerned with qualifying for the BC Premiership, and they host 6-3 Bayside in the British Columbia DI league.
So, the DI playoff picture:
Northeast #1 to quarterfinals (NYAC leads league)
Northeast #2 at Life, probably in May. (Boston currently 2nd, with Old Blue close behind) for spot in QFs
Mid-Atlantic #1 to quarterfinals (Baltimore-Chesapeake, PAC, or Norfolk)
Midwest #1 to quarterfinals (Metropolis leads league)
Red River #1 to quarterfinals (New Orleans or Dallas Reds)
West #1 (Provo, Utah Islanders or Boulder) to Red River #2 (New Orleans or Dallas Reds) for spot in QFs
SoCal #1 to quarterfinals (Los Angeles leads league)
NorCal #1 to quarterfinals (Sacramento and Santa Rosa in virtual tie for league lead)