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The Palmer Chiropractic College Dragons have had a rough fall; they've played well at times, but rarely for a full 80, and Saturday all player-coach Luke Stringer wanted was for them to play a full 40.
Tied 14-14 with the Detroit Tradesmen in Saturday's Midwest quarterfinals, the Palmer team realized they had created more scoring opportunities, but dropped passes and bad mistakes had stopped them.
"I told them," said Stringer. "Just do the basics. All we needed to do was handle the basics well, run good lines, and play to our tempo. That's what we did."
Tied 14-14 at halftime, Palmer raced away with the game and won 42-28 over a dogged Tradesman side.
Palmer was slammed once again with injuries, as they saw no fewer than four starters leave the field with injuries. But in the second half, it was the Tradesmen who saw player after player carted from the field. It was that sort of game.
"We've had injury problems all fall,"said Stringer. "So in the end it was a complete squad effort. We needed everyone. The young guys came up and played well. We got the team working their tempo and the boys just got stuck in."
No. 8 Ryan Duklas, flanker-turned-center Ryan Fitzgerald, and flyhalf Chad London all made their usual big contributions, but it was everyone else on Palmer that held it together.
Meanwhile Detroit's No.8 Joe Bargerstock and lock Bart Steigelman were heroic in a tough loss. Detroit ends their season 4-5 and is out of the playoffs. Palmer is now 5-4 and in.
"We will rest up in the off-season, regroup, and come back," said Stringer. "It's been a tough season, but we're still here."