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Early BYU Surge Sees Cougars Past Wildcats to D1A Semifinals

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Early BYU Surge Sees Cougars Past Wildcats to D1A Semifinals

BYU moves on. Photo Matthew Norton for BYU Rugby.

For the second year in a row, BYU rode a torrid first half to defeat Central Washington in the D1A playoffs.

The Cougars exploded for a 33-5 early lead before Central Washington was able to somewhat right the ship. Regaining the momentum, the Wildcats stormed back, but there wasn't enough time. BYU held on 40-24.

With Scholz Award finalist Wyatt Parry running the attack brilliantly and outside center John Campbell having a monster game with big breaks and key tackles—both players scored tries—the Cougars were in control early.

"I thought the guys started extremely well," said BYU Head Coach Steve St. Pierre. "They executed the game plan, put themselves in a good position early, and that was important. Because Central Washington is a great team and we knew they would find a way to come back so we had to come out fast. Later in the game when we had our backs against the wall, the fact that we had scored some tries helped us."

BYU had lost 21-12 to Central Washington earlier in the season, and in fact that loss was part of a three-game losing streak.

"We learned a lot about ourselves," said St. Pierre. "We saw how there are things we need to do well in order to win, and that there were key things in those losses—errors and penalties—that were self inflicted that contribute to those losses. We’ve been working hard to fix those and we've seen some better results because of that work."

James Tenney scored two tries for BYU, finishing off movements nicely, and Lilo Clark also scored, while Taysan Hammer converted five.

Now the Cougars look to another of those teams that beat them earlier ... a Saint Mary's team that put Cal to the sword.

"We know the task we have ahead of us," said St. Pierre. whose players enter finals week this week, as well. "We will try to get healthy, get back in the film room, and support our players during the demands on their time to help them best manage what they need to do."