Everyone prayed that it would not be raining this past Saturday. Someone up above must have heard their prayers. Mushroom shaped thunderhead clouds set against a deep blue sky set an epic stage for the Dons battle against the Humboldt State Jacks. And there was not a single drop of rain.
The Dons did not disappoint, breaking their losing streak in a 15-7 win to bring the team to 2-3 for the season. Play was physical throughout the match, with the first ten minutes in a dead standstill. The Dons defense took over, forcing a turnover in the Jacks half that ended with a try by Junior wing Ben Endrelunas. The Dons physical play by the forwards and dominating scrums applied consistent pressure. This eventually resulted in a try by senior center Harry Byres. The Dons went into halftime up 10-0. USF made some adjustments, focusing on playing mistake-free rugby after a plague of penalties in the first half. The Dons put the pressure on early resulting in a try by senior Davinder Khaira within the first five minutes of the second half. The game continued in a physical nature and at several times got downright heated. The Dons defense held strong for the majority of the game. With two minutes left, the Dons conceded a late-game converted try with two minutes left, leading to a final score of 15-7.
It was a big day USF, as the team had lost its two previous games. Despite missing a few key players, players stepped up, leading to a victory in front of more than 70 home fans. It was a highly spirited match from both sides. Last week the Dons playoff hopes looked slim. This win significantly increases their chances of making the regional playoffs, held in Bend, Oregon.
The Dons will play their final match of the season on Saturday, March 14, 1:00 p.m. at Negoesco Field. The match is against Solano Community College, it will be the final home match for six graduating seniors. A win will ensure the USF Rugby Club’s playoff spot and end the best season in the club’s history. Mark your calendars and come out and support the team!
Photo credits: Charlie Kain-Williams