NDC on to DIAA Quarters
NDC on to DIAA Quarters
The Notre Dame College Falcons are through to the DIAA Quarterfinals after beating Bowling Green 52-21 in a midweek playoff game.
The game was played midweek to accommodate the fact that NDC played Wheeling Jesuit this past weekend, and Bowling Green has a 7s tournament coming on Saturday.
On a typically windy day at Bowling Green, the two teams of Falcons played very close in the first half, before Notre Dame College opened it up in the second half.
NDC took an early 14-0 lead thanks to tries from Marcus Tupuola and prop Alec Janotka. Logan Weinstock converted both for a 14-0 lead. With Nick Ross playing very well at flyhalf, Bowling Green worked their first phase attack nicely, and their tactical kicking with the wind behind them was snappy, and they started to score as a result. Ross slipped through a gap to score Bowling Green's first, and converted, as well. But on the attack once more, BGSU saw Roniel Reynolds intercept a pass and go the distance for Notre Dame College. Weinstock was good on the conversion to make it 21-7 for NDC.
But back came Bowling Green once more, and Mitchell Sora's try, with Ross converting, put them within a try once more at 21-14. Zack Forro's try push NDC up to 26-14, but the first half ended with Bowling Green scoring - Ross once again ghosting through and over, and converting, to make it 26-21 at halftime.
"They made us pay off the lineouts and set piece," said NDC Head Coach Jason Fox. "But we made some mistakes on defense. Our flankers were a bit too deep and they kicked nicely against us. We made some adjustments. We were upset at ourselves and decided to focus on defense for the second half."
Fox ave a lot of credit to his assistant coaches for the turnaround. Terry Han is a former New Zealand Olympic weightlifter and came to NDC as a graduate assistant. He has taken over the defensive schemes and was hugely influential. Meanwhile, Luke Markovich has been execllent as the backs and 7s coach, and there seemed to be no doubt that the Falcons would continue to score points.
And so they did, while the defense shut out Bowling Green the rest of the way.
The midfield of Zach Forro and Rodney Thomas stepped up their defensive efforts in the backline and held Ross in check. Meanwhile, Cullen Barelka, Spencer Duncan, Corey Grahan, and Tommy Walsh all touched down, with Weinstock 3-4 on conversions in each half, to win 52-21.
"Bowling Green is a great team and it's a great facility," said Fox. "We just wanted a chance to compete in the DIAA playoffs, and we're happy we could do that. Terry and Luke have done a great job getting us focused for the 15s part of the spring. Our guys put in a good team effort and showed a lot of patience, especially when Bowling Green was able to keep the ball for long periods."
So Notre Dame College now will return to Bowling Green April 23 for the DIAA quraterfinals, where the Falcons will face Middle Tennessee State, the other team to play an early playoff game.