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Neuqua Takes Care of South Suburban in the Mud

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Neuqua Takes Care of South Suburban in the Mud

Andrew Cohen charges ahead for Neuqua while David Jensen moves in to make the tackle.

Neuqua defeated South Suburban 27-7 in Rugby Illinois action Friday night. 

Both teams started this one with younger lineups forced by a couple of key injuries amid rebuilding seasons. Match conditions weren't conducive to a flowing game with wind gusts up to 40 mph and very soft turf from recent storms that made going a slow, tough, muddy affair.

Neuqua opened its account first after some early slogging back and forth in the mud. Junior center Matt Chevalier outpaced the cover defense on a break up the sideline to score from midfield and was able to convert from in front of the sticks.  More of the same and some sloppy play by both sides until Neuqua again found a gap with senior flanker Danny Appel going the distance from the 22 to make it 12-0 to the visitors. 

Neuqua closed the half down to 13 players at one point thanks yo two yellows. But they were able to retain much of the possession to hold the Cobras at bay and closed out the first half up 12-0.

The second half saw improved attacking play from both sides as the winds began to subside and the teams were able to move the ball to space.  Neuqua dotted down twice more with senior hooker Matt Williams getting both. Chevalier was unable to convert either, giving Neuqua the lead at 22-0.  South Suburban, playing some tough, grinding go-forward rugby and taking advantage of Neuqua errors, moved into scoring position. Senior scrumhalf Lucas Ramirez shot a gap to dart in from about 20 meters out. The conversion was good and the gap closed to 22-7. 

Neuqua gathered themselves and advanced back into the South Suburban 22 only to have a stout Cobras defense deny them a couple of times inside the five-meter-line. Ultimately junior center Justin Crawford crashed through for Neuqua's final try on the day and a 27-7 scoreline that stood until the final whistle. 

Standouts for South Suburban included Ramirez, sophomore center David Jensen, and senior No, 8 Dylan Schmutzler.  Neuqua standouts, in addition to the try-scorers, included sophomore scrumhalf Michael Backe, junior wing Zach Lindley, and sophomore No. 8 Nick Williamson.