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The Life Running Eagles advanced to the final of the CRC Qualifier bracket Saturday with a 26-5 defeat of Kutztown.
Life was too quick for Kutztown, without 7s All American Tim Acker, who was lost in with a torn ACL in the quarterfinals earlier in the day. Miami’s Mike Pelagalli wrangled Acker by his collar, causing the injury. Pelagalli was yellow-carded for the tackle.
Scoring the first two tries for Life was capped 7s Eagle Cam Dolan. He was too big, strong and fast for any one Kutztown tackler. He didn’t score the third try, but he certainly set it up, drawing the attention of KU’s defense before dishing inside to a streaking Colton Cariaga who dotted down.
“At Nationals I had a little trouble. A few weeks before I was having a little trouble with a pinched nerve. I tried to play through it, and unfortunately I couldn’t play to my full potential,” said Dolan.
“Offseason, around Christmas time, I started getting fit, started getting back into it, started feeling healthy and got back to doing what I can contribute to my team.”
Kutztown did muster one try, but it wasn’t enough to even threaten the Running Eagles. Darrian Woodson scored Life’s lone second-half try.
Lining up across from Life in the stadium will be Utah. The Utes looked to be on the ropes against Davenport in their final, until Thretton Palamo stepped on in the second half, most likely to the chagrin of the Utah football coach, and became a game changer.
“We caught a glimpse of him, and he’s a great player, so we’ll do what we can to win,” Dolan said of Palamo.
Catching a glimpse of the CRC final will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000 fans in Sam Boyd Stadium for the IRB World Series. The winner will play in front of hundreds of thousands of eyeballs on NBC in June.
“I tell you what, the boys are proud. We’re a two-year program, as far as undergrad is concerned, and this is huge for us right now,” said Dolan.
“To be inaugural National Champions and a have the opportunity to play in front of a big crowd, a lot of these boys don’t get an opportunity like that, it’s huge for them. It’s huge for all of us.”