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Buffalo notched their first win of the season Saturday, 23-15 over the visiting Detroit Tradesmen. The West New Yorkers ran out to a big advantage early in the match and led 23-5 at intermission. They used superior ball skill to move the larger Detroit pack around and keep them on the defensive.  

“Good ball movement. That’s how we win games. We were doing that well in the first half,” said Buffalo coach Ron Astridge. “We were going through multiple phases and we had good ball movement, good handling skills and that paid off in the first half, but they started to power us in the second half.”

(It also didn’t hurt that the game was played in Buffalo. Astridge says his team did the math and they’ll cover 5,000 miles in league play this year, almost 2,000 more than anyone else in the Midwest.)

Buffalo didn’t score again after intermission, but Detroit did, recording two unconverted tries to make Buffalo sweat even more than a muggy, humid afternoon had already assured.  

“They put on a pretty good push the second half,” said Astridge. “We kind of held on at the end. They’re a bigger team and I think they started to use effectively their power. We got tired in the second half.”

The win improves Buffalo to 1-1 the season after being promoted from DII. The 2010 DII Midwest East champs were reintroduced to DI abruptly last week when they were throttled 46-3 by the Cincinnati Wolfhounds. This win, says Astridge, will go a long way in restoring team confidence.

“Last week we were unprepared and traveled seven hours to Cincinnati and got our ass handed to us down there and lost 46-3, so this was a huge game for us today. It basically gave us optimism for the rest of the season,” he said.

“The first game back in DI last week we got beat pretty good, so this game was very important for us in terms of the mental outlook for the rest of the season, and it’s not a matter of the relegation so much as being competitive and having fun.”

Buffalo now gets a week off before traveling to Indianapolis, while Detroit is back on the road Sept. 10 at Columbus.