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BC v NEC Highlights ECRC Weekend

College Men

BC v NEC Highlights ECRC Weekend

Danny Schatzman goes from strength to strength for BC. RRaff Photography.

While AIC leads the ECRC, there’s still plenty of opportunity for other teams to catch up.

That chase is basically between NEC and Boston College. NEC sits at 3-1 and BC is 3-0, so this would be a battle for 2nd (at the moment).

For NEC, injuries hit them early and they are now back to full strength. Head Coach Tal Bayer said the team is starting to embrace the coach’s more free-flowing approach to the game.

NEC lost to to AIC 29-21 early in September. Bayer says he feels his team is stronger now.

“We are optimistic,” said Bayer. “But at the same time, we’ve never beaten BC. They’ve got a pretty deep squad and I’ve heard some good things about their backs. We need to make sure our backs play our game, and put pressure on them in defense. Our forwards need to get to the breakdowns quickly and play high-pressure, attacking rugby.”

For BC, they might be undefeated, but they have had to work for it. Last week, it was a 24-20 win over UMass, a game Coach Rob Conway said was closer, tougher, and more physical than they expected.

“UMass is very physical and plays a really tough style running with their forwards,” said Conway. “The game was tough, but it was good preparation for this week.”

For NEC, Isaiah Lopez continues to be a rock in the backline. But the Pilgrims have also been getting some really good work from flyhallf Andrew Ramsden, who has played for the Philippine national team. He reads the game very well and had the backline clicking. In the back row, senior Ky Young out of Union HS in Oklahoma continues to play smartly.

The wild card is halfback Koto Fujimura, a high-risk, high-reward player who puts Bayer in mind of a kid he coached in high school - PJ Komongnan, who went on to represent the USA in 7s. Fujimura can turn a game on its head.

For BC, Danny Schatzman is brilliant in the centers - teams are mistaken if they think only one guy can contain him. Ben Nathan has always been a solid scrummager for the Eagles at prop. This year, his scrum work has continued to improve and he has become an effective open-field attacker. That has opened up space for the likes of Schatzman, and fullback Duncan Wood. Wood played in Australia New Zealand and has a good understanding of the game. He is a strong goalkicker and with two tries, a conversion, and three penalties, logged all of his team’s points last week against UMass.

So this promises to be a big clash. Meanwhile, AIC continues to cruise, even with all-everything flyhallf Jihad Khabir at USA 7s team camp. AIC beat UConn 41-19 this past weekend. Matthew Jones scored four tries and Malik Walker scored two, but Coach Rob Guiry said it took his team a while to take the initiative.

"It took a figurative punch in the mouth to get us going against UCONN. They came out and played a physical game and it was up to our men to answer the call,” said Guiry.

Prop Skyler Adams had his best game, and wing Christian Adams made some crucial runs. No. 8 Jones not only scored four tries, but also poached several balls.

"First half didn't go to plan but we slowly picked it up in the second half and it showed as we went on to score a majority of our points,” said Jones.

AIC hosts Northeastern, while UMass is at UConn and Fairfield is at Albany.