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Schuylkill River at Raleigh
With their longest road trip of the season, the Schuylkill River Exiles made the 400-mile hike south to face the Raleigh Vipers at their home pitch in North Carolina. The game was a battle and was decided by two points with the Vipers pulling the upset to win 17-15.
“I was extremely proud of our players effort,” said Raleigh head coach Rick Bell. “We still made more mistakes than I would like to see, but overall a great performance by the starting 15 and all six reserves used in the match. This win will help with our confidence going forward.”
Raleigh was first on the board with a long try scored by wing Steve Johnson in the 12th minute. The next 15 minutes saw aggressive play at the breakdown and solid defense by both teams. After a turnover by Raleigh, Schuylkill chipped and chased, and wing Daniel Nau recovered for the try in the corner. The conversion was missed to tie the score at 5. The Exiles scored again just four minutes later when flyhalf Matt Chiaramonte passed inside to eightman Randy Helsman for the try. Going into half, Schuylkill held the slim lead, 10-5, over Raleigh.
At the start of the second half, both teams began using their substitutes to bring in their fresh impact players. 18 minutes in, Helsman scored his second try to increase Schuylkill’s lead to 15-5. Raleigh made their first steps to retake the lead when reserve inside center Theo Burkhead broke numerous tackles on his way to the try zone to score in the center in the 65th minute. Center Gareth Jones added the conversion to cut the lead to three points.
With time expiring, Raleigh held onto possession and methodically moved the ball down the field in a drive that ended with Johnson’s second try in the corner. Jones missed the conversion, but the Vipers led 17-15. Schuylkill had the last opportunity to score as they lined up a penalty kick with no time left. The kick was pushed wide and Raleigh was victorious 17-15.
“We never seem to get our rhythm right and we were very frustrated on how the game was being called,” Schuylkill River head coach Bill Jalbert stated. “When we got frustrated, our discipline broke down and we were not able to maintain any flow for anything meaningful.” It’s not all bad news as Schuylkill did earn a valuable bonus loss point in the defeat.
Potomac Exiles at Pittsburgh
With a win against the Pittsburgh Harlequins, the Potomac Exiles could tie the idle Norfolk Blues for the division lead. Behind eight tries by five players, the Exiles crushed Pittsburgh 56-7. The Harlequins have only managed to score an average of eight points a game this season as they struggle to find consistency.
Potomac had four tries in the first half with flanker Alexander Diegel scoring the first two and wing Isiejah Allen and flyhalf Matt Quigley each dotting down tries of their own. With Quigley converting each, Potomac built a commanding lead of 28-0.
Pittsburgh ended the first half on a positive note as flyhalf Ed Sheedy scored a try and Nick Koon a successful conversion. Koon remarked after the game that it was an uphill climb for his team for most of the game as they were on their heels on defense and couldn’t get their offense rolling at all.
As the second half began, the Exiles held a 28-7 lead and proceeded to score the next four tries to end the game, 56-7. Flyhalf Chris Frazier scored twice, Quigley scored his second try, and then eightman Ben Wiedemer finished the scoring with a try in the 70th minute. Flyhalf J’Son Townes was four-for-four on kicks to take over for Quigley.
“The game was a step forward. The team is starting to become more confident in the patterns we are using,” said Potomac head coach Chris Mahony. “We are still too generous with possession, giving it away too much. It was a positive step this weekend.”
Baltimore-Chesapeake at Northern Virginia (NOVA)
The Baltimore-Chesapeake Brumbies improved to 3-0 to claim their share of the divisional lead with a 68-13 thrashing of Northern Virginia (NOVA). The Brumbies brought the wood as they scored 10 tries and only missed one conversion.
“The last couple of weeks we have been missing a lot of guys due to various reasons. This was the first week we had the majority of the starting lineup, so we went out as hard as we could,” Baltimore-Chesapeake captain Ryan Burns said. “We wanted to play 80 minutes hard, and we got the better end of the deal. NOVA came out hard in the first 20, but once we put up some numbers, they started to loosen up and holes were made. We took advantage of it.”
NOVA scored all of their points in the first half as BC took a 28-13 lead into the break. Alexander Alvarez and Andy Hosier scored NOVA’s tries and Connor Halpin contributed with a penalty kick.
BC shut out NOVA in the second half and scored 40 unanswered points to close the game. Scoring for BC came from all over the field from the likes of lock Dan Wykowski (2), wing Billy Trentzsch, Kyle Sweeney, center Anthony Wamwea(2), Martin Hnizda, wing Greg Salvucci (2), and scrumhalf Colby Buss. Patrick Foley made seven conversions and Sweeney added two more.
“Baltimore was the first side that actually tried to move the ball on us. The other teams were trying to run us over,” stated NOVA head coach Mike Sodhi. “This side made the distinction of lets score a try every seven minutes as opposed to seeing how many tries they can score. They played it a little bit smarter than other teams we’ve played.”