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Mike Palefau and Kevin Swiryn at Elite City 7s

Seattle Saracens won a third-straight 7s title Sunday at Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines, Iowa. For the second time in those three years, Seattle beat the Denver Barbarians in the final. The Barbos had the better of the game early on, but a 24-0 run saw Saracens win 31-10.

Logan Collins crossed over a minute in after Ata Malifa and Kevon Williams made some breaks, leaving plenty of space for Collins to get in at the corner. The conversion attempt was missed, leaving the Barbos up 5-0.

Seattle responded a few minutes later on its first real attacking possession. It took a jarring tackle to jostle the ball out of Ben Haapapuro’s hands for a turnover. The Saracens methodically worked the ball down the field, and Malifa shot out of the defensive line creating a gap for Kevin Swiryn to exploit and set Miles Craigwell up for the try.

Denver regained the lead when scrumhalf Bobby Impson darted through the Seattle line off the base of a ruck. The conversion was again missed, making it 10-7 midway through the half.

Saracens flipped the script again not long after, with Eric Duechle powering through a tackle on the wing and outracing Denver’s cover defense over 60 meters for a try. Conversion missed, Seattle led 12-10.

Craigwell won the ensuing restart for Seattle, and Saracens worked the ball into the attacking 22. Denver rebuffed the effort long enough for William Rasileka to knock the ball on, but a penalty on the Barbarians gave Seattle another crack. Rasileka would make good this time, extending the lead to 19-10, with the conversion, going into halftime.

The wind was taken from Denver’s sails seconds into the second half. Saracens won the restart and Rasileka dummied through the defensive line all too easily, cruising under the posts for his second try. The conversion made it 26-10 to Seattle.

After an exhausting run of play which saw Seattle carded, Williams crossed the whitewash and looked to put Denver back in contention, but he knocked on in-goal. Denver couldn’t muster another serious threat, and despite Seattle kicking the ball to touch prematurely, the game would never come back within reach.

Seattle finished the tournament 5-1, having dropped a game to 1823 in pool play. The second-place finish set up a rematch of last year’s final in the quarters, and Seattle came out on top 19-17. Next up was Mystic River, which was outclassed from the start. Seattle won 27-0.

Denver had a couple of tough games in pool play before blowing out Belmont Shore en route to 3-0, and the Barbarians capped off day one with a 21-10 win over Schuylkill River. The semifinals provided some fireworks, as 1823 was up with the ball and field-position advantage with time about to expire when Williams made a long run before offloading to Martin Iosefo for the game winner at the death.

The win gave Seattle a record seventh national title. The loss handed Denver its seventh runner-up performance.