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Life Men Lead the Way in CRAA Premier 7s

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Life Men Lead the Way in CRAA Premier 7s

Trophy time for Life.

Life University did the double, winning the Men's Premier 7s Sunday just after their women's team did the same.

Comeback Kids: Life Women Take CRAA Premier 7s

Both Life and Lindenwood came into the game missing some impressive attacking players, with Lion Nic Hardrict II and Darius Law both unable to play. With the weather clearing up after a rainy Sunday in Houston, these two teams so familiar with each other worked enormously hard to not let either get any continuity.

But they're used to that and eventually a superb flat pass from Will Groves out to Kobe Millar put the big man through for a try for Lindenwood and a 7-0 lead.

Life responded with a movement that seemed to have little going for it. From a lineout inside their 22 the Running Eagles simply passed it down the line to Donovan Law. He had three Lindenwood defenders in front of him, but some space to his left and he opted to take the outside line and burned those three Lions for an 80-meter jaunt and a 7-7 tie.

Time was almost up in the first half when Life made a key play—Orrin Bizer, who would end up being the MVP of the game, ran in under the restart kick to catch it on the gallop. The big Texan broke through one tackle and then drew the final defender before passing to Karch Hoffman, who was in untouched.

It was a key blow for Life and Bradley Crane's conversion gave them a 14-7 lead going into the break.

And they put it away after that. Philani Simamane intercepted an offload at midfield and while he was tackled, Life won the ruck and Jeron Pantor hoofed the ball down the field. The chase was good and while Lindenwood's Alejandro Martinez Tapia gathered the ball, his teammates couldn't get around to his side of the ruck to help him. Seth Kramlich made the tackle and Bizer swooped in to force a holding-on penalty. 

Crane tapped quickly and sent it to Kramlich who switched the direction back to Bizer. Out it went to Hoffman and he fed Law to canter in. Now it was 21-7 and Lindenwood was in trouble.

A brilliant run from Martinez Tapia got one back for the Lions, but the touchline conversion attempt didn't go over and Life still led by two scores. The big man scored a second try, somehow holding onto the ball after the restart and now it was 21-17.

Life answered brilliantly, punishing infractions before Hoffman tapped, ran weak, and popped it to Aaron Faison for the game-sealing try and the 28-17 win.

Crane's kicking had kept the scoreboard pressure on, meaning that even giving up a soft try Life was still in control.

And it was a controlled performance. For Life, it was their defense combined with their ability to set free anyone on the team. 

The Premier 7s Overall

The concept for the Premier 7s is to finish the college season all on the same weekend. Don't make the D1A final? No matter, plan to go to Houston anyway and play 7s. it was, largely, embraced by the teams and embraced competitively as well. Even a team out of the playoffs just two weeks before (Lindenwood) could show up and play well.

And it was very competitive. Ultimately 44 games were played and 12 of them were decided by a try or less, which is a strong percentage. Only six teams could be described as lopsided—won by more than three tries. Some teams were unpredictable, such as Army, which was hit hard by Lindenwood 40-0, but then put together an excellent performance to win third over Davenport 28-0.

Penn State was very good, going 3-2 with those losses to Lindenwood and Life, and taking the Plate 12-5 over Arizona. 

CRAA Men's Premier 7s Final Placements:

Champions: Life
2nd: Lindenwood
3rd: Army
4th: Davenport
5th: Penn State
6th: Arizona
7th: Central Washington / Grand Canyon
9th: Air Force
10th: UCLA
11th: Cal Poly
12th: Florida
13th: Santa Clara, Texas A&M, CRAA Selects

This was a very competitive competition