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The Sacramento Lions beat Old Mission Beach Athletic Club 30-15 in San
Diego Saturday to record the biggest upset of the DI playoffs thus far. The
Lions, who haven’t reached the Sweet 16 since 2007, weren’t supposed to
beat the second seed out of SoCal, but they did. They weren’t supposed to
have the stamina to keep pace in the second half, either, but they
outscored OMBAC 22-10 in the latter stanza.
“Our forward pack was very strong and solid in not only ball play but defensive communication,” said the Lions’ Aaron Fredericks. “Our backline was also on top of their squad knowing they were going to try and play a fast, quick game.
“We came in and cut off a lot of their quick breakaways and holes, because we knew that’s what they were hoping to do with our game plan, thinking we were going to be tired in the second half or thinking we were not going to be able to play an outside game, so we made sure we delivered on both those facets today.”
The Lions, a largely Polynesian team from Northern California, were supposed to be strong and powerful in contact. But, they were also supposed to have poor discipline and fitness. Fredericks says the club has been hard at work trying to dispel the stereotypes.
“We definitely have been focusing on that, knowing it’s something that has been a weakness in the past,” he said. “That’s just being committed on our fitness so when we go out there we can keep up the pace and bring the strength with the agility simultaneously, so we’ve worked real hard on bringing that component of the club together this year, and it looks like that’s paid off.”
The Lions draw the Austin Blacks, who received a first-round bye, May 21 in Chula Vista.