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Colorado Mesa Shakes Up Rocky Mountain Conference

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Colorado Mesa Shakes Up Rocky Mountain Conference

The Rocky Mountains were hit with some early snow this week and even on the rugby fields something strange was in the air.

Strangest of all perhaps was Colorado Mesa’s startling 48-29 defeat of previously 2-0 Western Colorado.

Western has been a playoff team before, and Mesa was three weeks removed from a 110-0 humbling at the hands of Northern Colorado.

Mesa got two tries from lock forward George Puamau and two more from center Carson Tolley. Even then it was a close game with 12 minutes to go, with Mesa leading 32-24. That’s when prop Jordan Faumatu and lock Levi Womack both crashed over to put the game out of reach.

“The fellas finally played for each other and as a unit,” said Head Coach Mackenzie Lewis. “They've had this in them for a long time. The coaches have seen it at practices for the past year and a half; the team just needed to actually believe in themselves and buy into the process.” 

So nothing much changed except the implementation of some self-belief, but somehow it all fell into place against one of the best teams in the Rocky Mountain Conference. Having players healthy helps, too.

“We have a chunk of new athletes and they've had to overcome some pretty big injuries, but they are tough,” said Lewis. “Was a good day to be a Mav.”

So the Mavericks get a win, and then everyone else gets a tie.

Montana State, another team looking seriously at the top of the table, locked in with a tie against the aforementioned Northern Colorado. Harrison How’s 19th-minute try, converted by Thomas King, was answered 40 minutes later when Zachary Bastres went over and Dylan Smith converted. (In that 110-0 thumping of Colorado Mesa three weeks ago, Bastres scored six tries.)

That was it. 7-7. Montana State played shorthanded for most of the final 15 minutes, but held on.

So now here’s where we stand:

Northern Colorado is 3-0-1 and leads the league. Montana State is 1-0-1, but has more games to play. Western Colorado sits 2nd at 2-1 and Mesa, which also has a forfeit win on its record, is 2-2.

There have been way too many forfeits in the Rocky Mountain, and it looks like the weather might not cooperate this fall. But still, watch out for Western Colorado vs Montana State on October 12, and Western against Northern two weeks later.

Can Mesa catch those teams? Maybe. If that’s in the cards, then October 19 Colorado Mesa vs Montana State becomes a key game.