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(Additional reporting from Joe O'Brien)
Sunday's DI semifinals are set after Saturday's quarterfinals in
Pittsburgh, Pa. and Irving, Texas. Life and Metropolis will meet in one
semifinal, and the Dallas Reds and New Orleans in the other.
In what many considered the DI championship match being played a few rounds
too early, Life overcame an early deficit to beat NYAC 24-8 in
NYAC opened scoring with a try in the eighth minute, taking a 5-0
advantage. Life had some chances at scoring early on, but couldn't convert.
Two attacking Running Eagle lineouts were stolen by the AC, and an attempt
at finding touch was kicked through the try zone.
The AC added a penalty kick near the 20-minute mark
to go up 8-0, but did leave some points on the board, too, having been held
up in the try zone and failing to turn that possession into points. Life
was also held up in the opening half, but managed to eventually get in. Aza
McMaster converted the try, pulling the Running Eagles within one at 8-7
going into halftime.
Cornelius Dirksen put Life up with the first try of the second half. The
score went unconverted, and Life led 12-8. The scoreboard wouldn't move
until the 68th minute when Garrett Lambert caught an offload from Lance
Cavanaugh to extend the lead to two scores at 17-8. Chance Doyle scored a
try, converted by AJ MacGinty, at full time to flatter the final
The other Pittsburgh game wasn't nearly the contest, as Metropolis waltzed
to a 59-8 defeat of Schuylkill River. The Minnesotans will likely benefit
Sunday from being able to empty the bench in the blowout, while Life will
surely be stiff after a bruising rivalry game.
In suburban Dallas, both games ended up being decided by wide margins, with
Dallas beating Los Angeles 51-5 and New Orleans topping the Sacramento
The host Reds were truly dominant in their win, taking a 20-0 lead into
halftime and not letting off the pedal in the second half.
"One thing we were determined to do was we had to stay tight, we had to use
the ball well," said Dallas coach Dean Robinson.
"We recognized early on where we could take advantage of some of
the things they would show us defensively. And the guys played well
together. They moved the ball well. Our defense was absolutely
Dallas openside flanker Chad Joseph had an outstanding performance, running
in three tries against LA. He deflected praise to his fellow
"We owe it to our tight five. They put up a good fight and got us nice,
clean ball for our backs to make some decent plays, and really happy with
how we went," said Joseph.
"We stuck together as a pack, and I was lucky enough to be on the end of
some solid work from the tight five and in the right place at the right
New Orleans had to work a little harder for their win, as the Lions were
able to go punch-for-punch until the game's final quarter. New Orleans led
28-17 at halftime, and 36-17 early in the second. The Lions pulled within
nine at 36-27, but NOLA ran away with it from there.
The results set up Dallas and New Orleans, both members of the Red River
Conference, for their third contest this season.
"I think today was a good demonstration of how strong Texas rugby really
is," said Robinson. "It's a good time to be playing rugby in Texas."
Dallas and New Orleans tied 12-12 in the league opener in Texas back in
November, and New Orleans beat the Reds 19-10 in Louisiana April 5th.
"If we make the most of our opportunities, we'll definitely be there in the
end of the game and hopefully we'll be on top," said Joseph of Sunday's
"New Orleans, they've been here before. They've been in finals footy before, so they'll come out firing. We've just got to counter that and hopefully we can put up a good fight. We're ready for a big game."