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The Kansas City Blues got off to a 1-0 start in the West-North with a 50-7 win over Boulder Saturday night at Swope Park in Kansas City, Mo. The Blues took a 16-0 lead into halftime, but it could have been more lopsided.
Wing Joe D’Agostino opened scoring in the game’s second minute, slotting a short-range penalty. Boulder put together some nice possessions, utilizing offloads in contact to slowly move the ball down the field, but the Blues dominated the territorial game.
Off of a lineout near Boulder’s 22, the Blues went touch line to touch line for a try. Flyhalf Kelly Mercer took clean ball from the set piece and cross kicked for wing Kenny Scott. Scott fielded the bounced ball in the try zone and grounded it for the score before his momentum carried him out of bounds. The corner conversion was missed, leaving the Blues up 8-0.
Kansas City nearly scored again minutes later off of a quick lineout, but an offload feet short of the try line was knocked on. Lock Adam Orr pressured Boulder’s wing into fly kicking to touch to create the opportunity.
The Blues threatened again when Boulder’s flyhalf bobbled a pass from a lineout. Kansas City scooped it up and spun it wide. Scott was high tackled near the try zone, and the Blues got two penalty plays from point-blank distance before knocking on just short of the try line again.
D’Agostino nailed his second penalty in the 36th minute and started the next try campaign shortly thereafter. The Kansas State product fielded a short Boulder kick in the Blues’ attacking end, fixed his defender and dished to fullback Marty Cummings, who ran through an arm tackle for the try. The sideline conversion was missed, leaving the Blues up 16-0 going into intermission.
About 10 minutes into the second half, Mercer scored his second try off of an attacking lineout. He passed the ball to the midfield and followed down the line before getting it back for the score. No. 8 Nate Conkey thundered through the Boulder defense minutes later to, following the D’Agostino conversion, extend Kansas City’s lead to 28-0.
Boulder then got its sole score of the game when its No. 8 smashed into the try zone from short range. The conversion attempt was successful.
D’Agostino added another penalty, Scott ran in two more tries and outside center Conner Smith touched one down to put Boulder away convincingly. D’Agostino converted two of the final three scores.
The Blues backline was dominant on the night, with Casey and Marty Cummings, Scott, D’Agostino and Mercer all playing well. All of those players are in the mid-to-early 20s. Veterans Smith and Ed Mills added a lot of experience and capability in centers, too.
The pack, having suffered some attrition from last year, struggled in the scrum and breakdown at times. But there’s a lot of youth in the tight five, too and plenty of room for improvement.
Veterans Nate Conkey and Jay Allen add some serious punch to the back row. Allen is a transformed center playing flanker and Conkey, who moved to Kansas City for military obligations, is a former center playing No. 8.