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Cal, CWU Win Non-Conference Clashes

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Cal, CWU Win Non-Conference Clashes

David Barpal photo.

Central Washington and Cal emerged victorious from non-conference games on Saturday, but fairly convincingly.

Cal Over GCU

“We appreciate what GCU brought to this match,” Cal head coach Jack Clark said after the game. “I think both teams will grow from this contest.”

Cal forwards were all over the scorehseet as the Bears beat Grand Canyon 69-7. Prop Michael Puckett crossed the line for the first of his two tries in the third minute. Lock Tom Dixon crashed over six minutes later. Fullback Max Schumacher converted both to make it 14-0.

Grand Canyon mauled over to makr it 14-7, but Cal answered with Dixon's second (converted by Schumacher) and then Puckett's second finished off the first half 26-7.

“In the second half we started to move the ball through hands without as many unforced errors,” senior Luke Freeman said. Freshman Max Threlkeld came off the bench at wing and made an impact.

“I thought we made some good adjustments in the second half,” Threlkeld said. “It felt great to play out in Strawberry Canyon – it already feels like home. I’ve been so welcomed in by the boys and the coaches.”

Flanker Nathan Zylstra scored off a forward pick just six minutes into the second period and his co-captain Schumacher ran a score in at the 52-minute mark. Only three minutes passed before freshman center Rand Santos had a well-taken run to make it 41-7.

Another forward pick led to a score by prop Emilio Shea in the 68th minute and Schumacher converted. Max Clark ran a ball in at minute 72 and just three minutes later, Dixon added his third score of the day. Clark put another try on the scoresheet at minute 78 and Schumacher, who ended up with 19 points, added the extras on the final three scores to make it 69-7 at full time.

Wildcats Over Bruins

On the road at UCLA, Central Washington broke through with a fairly dominant second half in which CWU held the Bruins scoreless.

"We struggled at times today which is credit to a well-coached and tough UCLA side that put us under pressure a number of times," said Central Washington Head Coach Todd Thornley. "There were moments of great rugby and moments of learning which will hold us accountable going into next week. I'm excited for what we can be and not what we currently are."

Calvin Liulamaga kicked off the scoring for the Wildcats with a try in the 10th minute, converted by Oliver Cline. UCLA answered with a try only for Oscar Treacy scored to make it 12-7 for Central. Liulamaga added his second try and Treacy raced in from long range—both converted by Cline—bookended a UCLA try and Central led 26-14. UCLA fought back again to to close to a try at 26-21 at halftime.

So it was close at the break, but Central Washington took control in the second period. Tries from Albert O'Shannessey, Treacy again, O'Shannessey, and Kye Jones, three of which were converted by Cline, finished it off 52-21.

For Central Washington this was a very good rankings result, especially since the other independent team, Grand Canyon, had also beaten UCLA. 

Central Washington's remaining schedule includes Saint Mary's, Western Washington, Army, BYU, Arizona, and Lindenwood. GCU is dealing with a similar buzzsaw with BYU, Saint Mary's, Utah, San Diego State, and potentially one more game still to be confirmed.