Iowa State Wins NCR Qualifier in Oklahoma
Iowa State Wins NCR Qualifier in Oklahoma
Iowa State won the NCR Qualifier 7s tournament in Oklahoma City, Okla., beating Iowa Central CC in the final.
The teams in action were Air Force, Iowa Central, Iowa State, Oklahoma, and hosts Southern Nazarene.Iowa State opened their account with a 24-7 win over the US Air Force Academy. The Cyclones and Zoomies opened the tournament against each other and after the opening kickoff went out on the full, the Cyclones did well to control possession for the majority of the first half. Rowan Collins and Drew Guinn (starting in place of the injured Tyler Cahill) got the scoring started and the Cyclones led 12-0. Air Force got their first sustained possession of the game shortly before half and quickly moved the ball down to the Iowa State goalline. Iowa State was able to end the half holding Air Force up in-goal.
The second half started just like the first ended, with Air Force marching efficiently down the field. This time they scored, and converted, to make it 12-7. Iowa State answered, cleanly taking the restart and testing the boundaries when Sam Miller realized there was no defender on the weak side of the ruck and scampered down the sideline. Nick Baines converted to bring the lead back to 12. Air Force once again efficiently moved up and down the field but a turnover at midfield led left the Zoomies with no sweeper and Baines grubbered through for Collins to chase, and he dove onto the ball for his second and a 24-7 win for ISU.
Iowa State then defeated Southern Nazarene 40-0. Wes Cummings scored two in the first half and Collins added another.
After halftime the Cyclones quickly picked up where they left off with Cole Kramer scoring seconds into the second half. The Cyclones were then able to get some much-needed run for other players on their roster, and most importantly manage the minute load after a long weekend last week. Freshman Jack Kramer, younger brother of Cole, came on and took over the captaincy, the Cyclones continued their ball possession-focused attack, and Sam Miller and Justice Harris both touched down.
After a South Nazarene v South Nazarene pairing in the knock out round, resulting in a deferral from their White team to their Red team, the semifinals were underway.
The Cyclones started the game with two foolish obstruction penalties and then compounded that with a rare lack of discipline on defense. The Crimson Storm from SNU raced down the sideline to score a converted try and the Cyclones were facing their first deficite since the 1st round of the Heart of America tournament last weekend. Wes Cummings, showed why he is a captain by rallying his players and scoring a try which was converted by fellow captain Griffin Huffmon.
Collins and Guinn again scored to make it 21-7 at halftime.
The second half started the same way the first ended, with Collins racing down the sideline for a try. The Cyclones were again able to turn to their bench and Baines, Sam Miller, and Nick Gill all added tries in the 40-7 victory.
Iowa Central got by Oklahoma and the other Southern Nazarene team to make the final.
This was easily the tightest game of the day, with Iowa State emerging 14-7 winners.
The two teams are very familiar with each other from their four 15s matches since last fall. They wasted no time taking hard lines and moving the ball quickly looking for gaps. After spending the first part of the first half exchanging phases, Iowa Centeal got on the board when Phoenix Twala scored.
Up 7-0, the Tritons looked to build on that but Iowa State's defense held and then right before halftime Huffmon chipped ahead and chased. Iowa Central tried to run out of trouble but an errant pass led to a scrum five meters out. Huffmon, showing his veteran savvy, set up in a way that made Iowa Central think we was going to pick and go weak only to spin and find Baines in space for a try. The conversion made it 7-7 at the break.
At half time, both sides were able to catch their breath but immediately went back to trading blows as the two sides mirrored each other’s every move. It wasn’t until the four-minute mark that Jack Kramer, on in relief of Huffmon, picked up from a scrum and broke down the middle of the field. He offloaded to Guinn straking through and Gruinn was in. Conversion good and Iowa State led 14-7.
The next four minutes were not unlike that previous 10 minutes, with both sidelines throwing the kitchen sink at each other on defense and frantically recovering as a unit to every line break. Iowa Central had a break down the sideline with less than a minute left which looked like it might bring the game to overtime. But Cummings and Guinn teamed up to drag the player to touch.
Soon thereafter Iowa State was able to kick the ball dead to end the game.
"Big day for the Cyclones," said Iowa State Head Coach Ant Frein. "I am notorious for using a short bench in 7s and not having key starters and rotational pieces Tyler Cahill and Noah Miller, Sam’s identical twin, was a big test to our depth. Hats off to Wyatt Grubb, Brandon Karnes, Aiden Lewis, Nick Gill, and Justice Harris, who played massively important minutes in new roles this weekend. It was promising for the next three years to see Jack Kramer step into a leadership role as an 18-year-old on a veteran team with upperclassmen littered across the roster."
Frein also praised his opponents at Iowa Central.
"Hats off to Brent, Joe and Hamish and their boys today," he said. "They played fantastic all day and I am hoping that we are opposite sides of postseason play."
We’d been close against ICCC only once in 15s since we began playing regularly. Getting the win on this stage was a massive boost as we go into our “bunker” for a couple weeks prepping for both R7CC and the CRC. Was a nice cherry on top for Griffin Huffmon and Wyatt Grubb as they finally got a win against ICCC.