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The PRP is coming down to the wire. SFGG came back from the brink and is within striking distance of a place in the final. The Rhinos defeated OMBAC 31-10 to leapfrog the San Diego side. With the victory, the Rhinos control their own destiny as they head into a midweek matchup with familiar foe Glendale.
OMBAC started fast earning a try in the first minute of the game. Zach Pangelinan shocked the home side by busting through for the games opening score. For SFGG, it was a wake up call, and one that the team responded to quickly.
“The difference in the end was the way that we defended after the initial try in the first minute of play. It kind of shocked the boys into game mode,” said SFGG coach Neil Foote. “I was really really pleased with the team for the 79 minutes that followed that.”
Pila Huihui tied the game later in the first half and Brendan Daly gave the Rhinos the lead they would never surrender. Daly went over with less than five minutes remaining in the first half but a penalty from Pangelinan made the match 14-10 going into the break.
SFGG controlled the second half with match MVP Tai Enosa slotting a penalty and setting up Travis Benson and Adrian Curry for second half scores.
“His game management and kicking game was fantastic for us,” Foote said of Enosa. “He just kept us in the right part of the field and we could continue to apply pressure to OMBAC. We really started getting some continuity in the second half and we scored some pretty good tries.”
The Rhinos have had an up and down year, facing some adversity along the way. Foote took over the team this year and the early part of the season saw some growing pains for a team adjusting to a new system. Along with missing five back line starters from last year due to injury, and losing three players to the pro league, the team has a bit of a new look this year.
“We have had a lot of challenges in consistency of roster. Also, I am new coach this year and a lot of the structural changes I was making at the start of year is kind of just reaching the level now where the boys are comfortable with the new structure,” Foote added.
SFGG will face another bit of adversity this week. Since the second match with Glendale was snowed out, the makeup date is this coming Tuesday. The Rhinos will have to overcome a quick turn around and player availability issues to clinch a spot in the final.
“We have basically been playing playoff football since we lost to Belmont Shore....We have got an opportunity to make it back to the final but to do that we have got to beat Glendale. Three or four of the guys in the team against OMBAC have indicated that they can’t travel. We are going to go with what we got and give it our best shot,” Foote said.
Glendale will be looking to kill two birds with one stone by clinching a spot in the final and knocking out its long time rival. The Raptors roster was raided by pro rugby this past weekend and the previously undefeated side fell down 28-0 to Belmont Shore. The raptors made a valiant comeback but came up short 28-21. They picked up a point in the loss and have all but clinched a spot in the final.
The Raptors have two games remaining while OMBAC and SFGG only have one. If Glendale defeats SFGG, OMBAC will advance with a win over Belmont Shore. Should SFGG win, they Rhinos are into the final. Glendale will only need a point to avoid any tie breaking scenarios, which in all likelihood they win. After losing to SFGG, OMBAC will need help from the Raptors to have any hope of advancing to its first final.
|Team||Played||Win||Loss||Tie||Score For||Score Against||Bonus Points||Points|
|SF Golden Gate||11||8||3||418||180||10||42|