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San Diego Mustangs Edge Tempe In Arizona

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San Diego Mustangs Edge Tempe In Arizona

San Diego's UCLA commit CJ DeVault powers ahead.

The San Diego Mustangs made the trip to Arizona to take on Tempe Saturday, and came away with a nice 27-19 win.

Tempe has started very well and cone a game on Thursday, beating Tucson 39-21 in a game they led 39-0 at halftime before running in the changes. But the Mustangs, getting the OK from SoCal Youth Rugby to tour, was a different proposition.

San Diego did well to put Tempe under pressure, and some smart kicking took the Mustangs into the Tempe 22. After some forward gouges, scrumhalf Judd Berman spotted an opening form ten meters out, sidestepped and was in under the posts. Mustangs Center Riley Elliott converted to make it 7-0.

The Mustangs again pounded their way into Tempe territory, and after an offsides penalty Elliott put the ball through the posts for a 10-0 lead after 20 minutes. Tempe responded with a nicely taken try to make it 10-7. That's how the score stayed until the halftime break.

The teams continued to play a tight game and it wasn't until ten minutes into the second half that anyone got over the line. Bruising runs from Mustang N0. 8 CJ DeVault and prop Chase Wetsel set up Elliott to find a crease, make a move, and go in for his second. Elliott converted the try as well and the Mustangs led 17-7.

Tempe roared back feeding their huge forwards and after a couple of Mustang penalties and a long series of pick-and-gos, clawed their way in from close to make it 17-14. Not the game was on a knife edge, but the Mustangs cut through. Heavy Mustang forward pressure highlighted by runs from De Vault and flanker Aiden Trudeau took the Mustangs down to the Tempe five-meter. Quick-witted flanker Cade Crist scooped the ball from the ruck and touched down. After Elliott's conversion the Mustangs led 24-14. Tempe again answered relying on their pack and again and crashed over from short range. That made it 24-19 with five minutes to go. 

Tempe had one more shot, but the Mustangs grabbed the ball back. With San Diego killing the clock Tempe was under pressure to get the ball back and committed a penalty. Elliott slotted the kick and that was it, 27-19.

"You never know what you have with a new group until the first whistle," said Mustang coach Ramon Samaniego. "We are very pleased with the effort and focus the boys brought after a full year off. We all have our sights set on Kansas City in June."