Week 26 Recap: Second Half Surges Carry Teams Through

D1A Rugby: Week 26 Recap: Second Half Surges Carry Teams Through
Photo Credit: Alex Ho

The final weekend of the regular seasons, saw teams desperate for wins in the chances of improving or consolidating their playoff positions. With so much on the line, the games certainly did not disappoint.

In a clash of powerhouses this past weekend #3 Cal hosted #1 St. Mary’s in a crossover match that would determine who would be the number one seed out of the west for the D1A playoff bracket. Cal got out to an early lead, with winger Marcus Shankland crossing in the 12th minute for a try. St. Mary’s was able to level the score minutes later, drawing the scores even at 5. Cal tight head prop Damon Wiley scored his first of two tries on the day in the 37th minute of the match, seemingly giving Cal the lead going into halftime. However, St. Mary’s would work their way down the field in the 40th minute and was awarded seven points via a penalty try that would also send Cal hooker Jack Manzo from the field, with a yellow card. St. Mary’s expanded on their lead in the second half, going up 19-10 over Cal after 64 minutes. With St. Mary’s up nine points and 15 minutes left to play Cal would go on to score 19 unanswered points to storm back and win 29-19, with tries coming from inside center Keanu Andrade, flanker Nic Mirhashem, and Wiley’s second try of the day. This is St. Mary’s first loss this year after an impressive spring season, while Cal remains undefeated at the D1A level and now receives the #1 seed in the D1A playoff out of the west.

#4 Navy, travelled to take on #7 Army, after falling to St. Mary’s the week prior. Army had only suffered one loss this year going into this match, having lost to Lindenwood earlier in the month. Navy got ahead early, with lock Philip Dalke scoring his side’s first try in the 6th minute. In the dying seconds of the first half Army flanker Austin Rutledge crossed the line to prevent Army from being shutout in the first half and bring them within two points of Navy at the half. Navy would go on to score ten points in the second half to distance themselves from Army, who managed to score their second try in the 78th minute of the match. Navy scrumhalf Cole Euverard scored 12 of his side’s 17 points, scoring a try as well as going three for three on conversion attempts.

#9 Penn State played their first game of the spring season at the D1A level against #2 Life. Penn State last played a D1A team on November 10th, in a 115 point shutout of Buffalo. While Penn State was able to get out to an early lead, scoring ten points in the first five minutes, Life was able to recover and score 29 unanswered points before the end of the half. This set the tone for the rest of the game as Life would go on to win 53-24.

#11 Central Washington hosted #15 Grand Canyon. While the scores were close at halftime, with GCU leading 8-7, Central Washington would go on to shutout GCU in the second half and score 15 points. Central Washington would win 22-8, improving to a 6-2 record this season.

#6 Arkansas State beat #16 Davenport in the final game in the Mid-South this year. Arkansas State won 34-13, with flyhalf Dylan Boast scoring 16 points in the win.

#10 Arizona travelled to take on Utah, beating them 41-10. Arizona finishes second in PAC behind Cal, and improves to a 7-3 overall record this year.

Cal Poly beat San Diego State 30-22 in the final game of the California league, with each side finishing 2-4 in the league. Cal Poly was led to victory by two try performances from both winger Christian Jones and inside center David Bartolomucci.

This weekend only one game will take place, with BYU taking on Utah. Teams will now prepare for the 2019 playoffs.