The East and West Regional Championships have been set, as teams fought off tough opponents to book their place as one the last four teams in the 2019 playoffs.
West Regional Championship 3pm EDT 4/27 Moraga, CA
Eastern Regional Championship: 5:30pm EDT 4/27 Marietta, GA
First seed Cal played fourth seed Arizona for a spot in the Western Regional Championship. Arizona looked great out of the gate, halting Cal’s attack and even taking the lead via two penalty kicks to start the game. However, Cal soon broke through and scored their first of five tries in the first half when fullback Troy Lockyear slipped past the Arizona defense to score in the 21st minute. Lockyear would go on to score another try in the first half, as would flanker Nic Mirhashem, scrumhalf Henry Poon, and hooker Nathan Zylstra. Cal ended the half up 25-6, but would pour on an additional 36 points by way of six tries and three conversions to secure the win over Arizona and move on to the Western Regional Championship.
Second seed Saint Mary’s took on the third seed BYU to see who would advance to take on Cal in the Western Regional Championship. The Gaels dominated the match from the beginning, first scoring in the second minute of the game and racking up 40 points by halftime. BYU were unable to keep up with Saint Mary’s rapid attack and solid defense, which would only surrender a lone try to BYU late in the second half. Saint Mary’s scrumhalf Sean Yacoubian led the Gael attack with 22 points, including two tries and six conversions. Saint Mary’s would score 11 tries on the day ending in a massive 71-12 win over BYU to send them into the Western Regional Championship against Cal.
In the eastern bracket, for the national championship, first seed Life came from behind to beat fifth seed Navy. While Life got out to an early lead, thanks to a try from flanker Justin Johnson, they soon fell behind due to two yellow cards within the span of ten minutes. Before the end of the half Navy was able to take the lead, entering halftime up 11-7 over Life. While Navy would go on to score two more tries in the second half, their defense could not stop the Life attack, as Life was able to come from behind and score 33 points in the second half and secure their spot in the Eastern Regional Championship. Life flanker Justin Johnson scored the first try of Life’s comeback attempt in the second half and followed shortly by lock Daemon Torres and eight-man Keagan Sparks. Winger Julian Roberts would also go on to score before the end of the match.
Sixth seed Lindenwood took on seventh seed Arkansas State to see who would advance to take on Life in the Eastern Regional Championship. This was the tightest matchup of the week, with the lead swapping sides several times throughout the match. While Arkansas State got out to an early lead via a penalty kick, Lindenwood would take the lead with a try 18 minutes later. Arkansas State would retake the lead before halftime after eight man Jake Ray burst through the Lindenwood defense to score in the 30th minute. Arkansas State padded their 10-7 lead early in the second half with another successful penalty kick, increasing their lead over Lindenwood to 13-7. Lindenwood would regain the lead after fullback Reece Botha scored and successfully converted his try, putting Lindenwood ahead 14-13. Lindenwood would pad their lead with a try from #19 Parker Wesley, increasing the score to 19-13. Arkansas State would score again in the 75th minute but was unable to convert their try, leaving them behind 19-18 with five minutes left to play. The final nail in the coffin for Arkansas State happened in the 80th minute when a penalty was awarded to Lindenwood, who chose to take a penalty kick. Reece Botha successfully converted the penalty kick to close out the game, sending Lindenwood to the Eastern Regional Championship against Life.