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BYU, Life, CWU Through in DIA Playoffs Round 1

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BYU, Life, CWU Through in DIA Playoffs Round 1

BYU powered past Arizona. David Barpal photo.

The higher-ranked teams all won in the first round of the DIA playoffs Saturday.

BYU and Central Washington won by relatively large margins, while in the lone game in the East, Life had to battle through a tough Navy side.

BYU Gets Past Arizona

Arizona looked to make BYU's defense run and knew they had to play with the ball as much as possible. For the first 10 minutes or so the Wildcats did just that—they just couldn't break through enough to score.

BYU did get on the front foot eventually and then a massive break from flanker Spencer Ika saw him split two defenders and than roll through a not-held tackle to score. Six minutes later Wyatt Parry exploited a gap off a misdirection move from Scholz Award Nominee Dylan Parry and was in from 40 meters. Arizona continued to play hard and got back into BYU territory, but then an attacking move in the middle of the field backfired as a dropped ball was toed ahead by Cole Semu and after the BYU forwards recycled Tayson Hammer was over.

That made it 21-0 and while Arizona got a penalty goal to get some points, right after BYU flanker Jacob LIttlefield picked up and dove over to make it 28-3 at halftime.

BYU was in control at that point. Wyatt Parry sold an outrageous dummy to go in for his second. Hammer hit his fifth-straight conversion to make it 35-3. BYU cruised from there to win 59-13.

CWU Handles Cal Poly

A late addition to the playoffs after GCU couldn't do it, Cal Poly fronted up and played hard, But Central Washington, playing at home, were just too much.

"We started well in terms of taking the opportunities that were presented to us," said CWU Head Coach Todd Thornley. "That took some of the pressure off. Credit to Cal Poly for responding and getting creative and finding space behind us late in the first half. Our defense in the second was better and we seemed a little more eager to get the right spacing. There are plenty of learnings out of this one and I'm happy to see the guys finally get one at home."

It was windy, of course, in Ellensburg but both teams handled that well enough. CWU scored through hooker Campbell Robb, twice, to take a 12-0 lead. Scholz Award Nominee Jack Wnelding burst through for one of his own, and then Albert O'Shannessey scored to make it , with the conversion, 26-0. Jonah Auvaa made it 33-0 and that''s how it was at halftime.

Cal Poly got their attack going and scored twice early in the second half, but five more CWU tries finished it up 62-17.

Life Tussles with Navy

Life had a tougher go of it with Navy in Marietta. The Midshipmen struck first with a penalty goal, but Life answered with a long run from Karch Hoffman and then a nice-taken sequence capped off by Philani Simamane to make it 12-3 with Bradley Crane's conversion.

Navy answered with another penalty to inch closer at 12-6, and then in the second half Navy took a slim lead with a converted try to make it 13-12.

Life didn't panic and saw Julian Roberts race through a gap to put the Running Eagles back on top. Soon thereafter a nice break from Donovan Law made it 26-13.

Navy had opportunities to score over the final 10 minutes, but Life's defense held up, including turning the Midshipmen over on the tryline to hold on for the 26-13 victory.

"The men delivered on the defensive side of the ball when it counted," said Life Head Coach Colton Cariaga. "We will certainly build from that effort." Really pleased with the impact the subs brought. A mix of physicality and a positive rhythm to our attack. That's what we want from the bench and we will need that type of impact again." 

Next Up

Life now goes to visit Army, while Arkansas State takes on Lindenwood in St. Charles, Mo. ASU got a bye when the first-round game with Texas A&M couldn't be played—A&M could only host on Friday and ASU couldn't play on Friday.

In the West, Central Washington now makes the trip to Berkeley to play #1-ranked Cal. Meanwhile BYU gets to visit Saint Mary's for the third clash of the season between those two teams. Saint Mary's beat BYU 39-28 on February 12 and then 60-29 in Provo on March 12.