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In the much anticipated rematch from the end of February, Belmont Shore dealt OMBAC its first defeat this season at Little Q Field in San Diego, Calif. Trailing 20-14 at the half, Belmont scored 25 straight points in the second half while shutting down the potent OMBAC offense. With SFGG and Life West on a bye, Belmont takes over second place with a 5-2-1 record and 29 standing points.
“Physicality was the key defensively for us,” Belmont head coach Ray Egan said. “OMBAC is lethal when they get front foot ball and we targeted that. We really tried to work hard defensively for the last two weeks to shut down their space and win the tackle line.”
“Tai Tuisamoa is scoring two tries a game, he is their charismatic leader, and if you can shut down the phase before he gets the ball, it gives you a better opportunity to get to him,” Egan added. “We did a great job at stopping him at the gain line and keeping him from front foot ball. For us, it was about negating him and doing a good job against the rest.”
Belmont Shore found itself in a deep hole early before shoveling themselves out with a help of an OMBAC yellow card. The home team was first on the board after a Tim Stanfill chip and chase followed by an intercept try by Garrett Brewer. Mike Dillon added the conversion and a penalty for the 17-0 lead.
The Belmont offense finally showed signs of life late in the first half after OMBAC's Shane Moise was binned. Viliame Longi got the party started with a try, but Dillon answered back with a long distance penalty to make it 20-7. In the waning minutes of the half, Mafi Seanoa closed the gap to six points with a score as the whistle sounded.
Still with the man advantage to begin the second half, Belmont turned up the pressure on both sides of the ball with the wind and sun at their backs. The visitors forced OMBAC to play out of their own half and pushed the pace with physical play. Belmont dominated possession and would go on to score 25 unanswered points in the half which included three more tries from Longi and another from Travis Whitlock.
“It’s been an ebb and flow season for us, but we are definitely gaining momentum,” Egan stated. “With two more games to go, hopefully we can get a good result next week against Santa Monica. We are not overlooking them because they usually play their best game against us. It’s always competitive because of the cross-town rivalry.”
Speaking Santa Monica, the Dolphins secured their second win of the season by beating Olympic Club, 36-25. Santa Monica trailed 17-12 at the half but vice-captain Shawn Lee indicated that his team never lost faith and attributed the win to attitude and momentum.
“The first half got away from us a little bit but we stayed in the sniff and kept playing our game that we knew would eventually prevail,” Lee said. “I don’t think we ever thought we were going to lose the game. At halftime, we put our heads together and played out our regular structure with phase play... In the second half, we took control and brought it back.”
Olympic jumped out to a 10-0 lead behind a try from Marguise Garcia and a conversion and penalty from Keegan Engelbrecht. Santa Monica stormed back with scores Iain Herriot and Steve Skagg and a conversion from Shawn Lee for the 12-10 advantage. In the final moments of the half, Olympic took the lead back with a converted try from Stephan Salimi to go into the half up 17-12.
Olympic carried the momentum from the first half to the second and scored in the 47th minute via a Mark Bowers dot down. Down ten points, the comeback began three minutes later when Quinn Perry scored followed by Skagg’s second in the 59th minute to retake the lead at 26-22. Engelbrecht closed the gap to 26-25 with a penalty but Santa Monica continued to pound the ball as Victor Woo earned a try in the 66th minute and Lee’s eleventh point with a penalty in the 72nd minute was the final nail in the coffin for Olympic.