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CRC Men's QFs Set With Some Drama and Some Work to Do

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CRC Men's QFs Set With Some Drama and Some Work to Do

A wide shot of Lindenwood vs Louisiana at the Gold Mine on Airline. Alex Goff photo.

We’re in to the quarterfinals for the Men’s bracket at the CRC.

Lindenwood will play Western Michigan, Army will play Air Force, Lindenwood will play Notre Dame College, and Davenport will play James Madison.

Several of these teams encountered some stiff competition in getting to this point, and some responded well while others responded … adequately.

Here’s how it went down.

Best Game of the Day

The game of the day so far on Sunday was easily Western Michigan vs Iowa State and we will spend a little extra time on this one:

Both teams played some good, smart 7s, cover tackled well, and worked a pattern. One thing they didn’t do well was kick at goal, as the two teams were a combined 2-for-7 on kicks, and many of those were very kickable.

WMU ran out to a 12-0 lead but could have fallen behind early quite easily. Iowa State broke through and only a desperate cover tackle from Bronco Connor Desmund prevented the score. Western Michigan recovered the ball after that and worked their way down the field. Kyle Williams then fended off a couple of would-be tacklers and chugged in for the opening try.

The Broncos then enjoyed some nice interplay down the right tramlines, sent it wide left and had numbers on the right. ISU was pinged for killing the ball, however, and from the penalty Desmond tapped quickly and was over. The kick in front of the posts was missed and it was 12-0.

That’s how the first half ended, but Iowa State would come back. 

Jake Sunde broke though and while he was caught, Wes Cummings finished it off.

WMU was then penalized in the middle of the field and the ball was tapped quickly and spun wide even quicker, where Nick Baines and Tyler Cahill combined to score and tie it up 12-12.

WMU answered right back and Sean Atkins dealt with a few defenders Danny Barrett style on the wing and scored to make it 17-12 Western Michigan.

Back came Iowa State. A brilliant dummy from Sunde saw him race out of his 22 and go down the left sidelines. The WMU defenders boxed him in but Sunde smartly sent a grubber kick to the middle of the field. WMU couldn’t contain the ball and Cummings gathered and scored to tie the game 17-17.

With time almost up Iowa State had an excellent chance to win it. They got a scrum on the right-hand-side of the field with a big weak side. They went weak but hooker Joey Backe burst out of the scrum and tackled the ISU runner into touch. it was a game-saving play, and after than, with time up, WMU patiently moved the ball, kept it alive, and worked their way down the field. 

Finally the lane opened up and Atkins cut through for the game-winner 22-17.

It was a thriller, for sure, and a game worthy of two very good club programs.

JMU Rides the Dark Horse

And then rivals Mount St. Mary’s and James Madison faced off in a clash of finesse against power. OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it gives an idea of their strengths. Power won out, as JMU was stronger in the tackle, and as a result were better able to keep the ball moving. JMU was also very quick to the breakdown, and all of that translated to a 22-5 James Madison win.

Second-Best Game of the Day

The other dramatic game was Air Force over Wheeling. Wheeling played well and was very physical, and led Air Force 17-12 with time winding down. The Zoomies had seen tries come in from Ryan Johnston and Riley LaDuque, but also made too many mistakes. Wheeling then broke through for the game-sealing try except … they knocked the ball forward instead of touching it down. Scrum for Air Force five meters from their own line. The Zoomies gathered, avoided contact, and found Braden Memphis who turned on the jets and was gone for about 80 meters to tie the game 17-17. Jackson Miller then came in to kick the conversion. Miller though he could follow informal tournament rules and kick from in-goal, but was told to kick from in front of the posts. His teammates yelled that his 30 seconds to kick were almost up and as that time window expired Miller’s kick sailed over the bar to win the game 19-17.

Air Force Head Coach Denny Merideth said he was proud of how much fight his team had shown, and praised Wheeling for putting the Zoomies in a position to have to battle. Wheeling, for their part, have to be thinking of what might have been.

Underachieving Winners

As for the other games? Life crushed Loyola 50-0 and that was not unexpected. Army were made to work for it against Lander and didn’t use the width of the field as well as they might, but they controlled the game 31-5.

Davenport found their feet a little bit and did very well to put defensive pressure on Christendom and force them to make poor decisions. Christendom's big man Owen Kennedy wasn't a factor as Davenport didn't really let him get the ball, and while the Panthers didn't pass especially slickly, they did find space and won 22-5.

Notre Dame College was very unhappy with yesterday’s glitchy performance against Taylor, but expected to be a little more relaxed and less error prone this time around. They weren’t. Denver defended doggedly but NDC still wasn’t firing on all cylinders. They won, 12-5, but haven’t shown their best.

Lindenwood didn’t show their best either. After opening up and looking pretty smooth in building a 22-0 lead in the first half, the Lions gave up an interception try and starting committing dumb penalties (mostly coming in from the side in an obvious manner). So Louisiana won the second half 10-7. Lindenwood advanced, but can do better.