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Snow Day! Lindenwood Beats Davenport in Snowstorm

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Snow Day! Lindenwood Beats Davenport in Snowstorm

Lindenwood in black and Davenport in red. The white part is snow. Dylan Fortune photo.

Lindenwood shut out Davenport 32-0 Saturday playing in what was essentially a blizzard, handing the Panthers their first conference loss of the season and providing a lesson in off-field preparation for difficult playing conditions.

Davenport splits their conference season between fall and spring so as to be able to fit enough home games that aren't snowbound. Joke was on them this week as a nasty snowstorm hit Michigan and covered their field with delightful little icy crystals. Over 20 inches of snow fell in the days leading up to the game (and during) but the match was still held and both teams gamely played on. The field actually got snowier during the game, and territory became the key goal.

To the Boot

Lindenwood decided the snow would make running the ball nigh impossible and so resorted to box kicks and working the defense in the Davenport half. Almost all of the tries came from kicks in one way or another, while the backs hardly ever ran the ball through the hands. Instead it was scrumhalf Matteo Peignon who launched box kick after box kick, and worked the forwards, to gain territory.

Runako Brynard scored two tries in this game and helped lead a defensive effort that shut out a potent Panthers attack. Brynard scored off the back of a maul 14 minutes in, and the Lions followed that up with wing Nick Hardrict II chasing down a crossfield kick, catching it on the fly, and scoring.

The snow proved to have an influence on how the game was played and certainly it did on the next try with Lautaro Soto Ansay booting the ball downfield and seeing it slide on the slush and lodge into the snow in-goal, where he dove on it to score.

Peignon added a try with a weakside snip, and after that Brynard capped off another maul for a 25-0 lead

Lindenwood did well to control field position with their kicking game and then finished the scoring off with Tyren Al-Joboori crashing over. Peignon converted that one and it was 32-0.

"The word for the day is attitude," captain Neal Moylett said before the game. "I don't want to hear about how bad the conditions are or any negativity. Both teams are playing in the weather and we can only control our attitude and mindset for the match." 

Stiff Brushes and Chicken Broth

It was good advice, but Lindenwood did other things to manage the conditions. They bought stiff-bristle brushes to use periodically to scrub off ice from players' jerseys, shorts, and boots. They brought on hot chicken broth, not just water, at hydration break moments. They put flattened cardboard boxes on the bench to keep players' bums from getting numb. They used petroleum jelly on their faces to shield exposed skin from the cold.

"When I was a kid, a snow day had an unspoken rule that you played snow football at the neighborhood field at 11 am," said Lindenwood Head Coach Josh Macy. "I would wrap grocery bags around my socks and then put another pair of socks over that. It worked great, so we had a bunch of plastic bags and some cling wrap for the players.

All of those little things made it a little easier for the Lions. Tactically they kicked, pretty much all the time.

"I think our flyhalf touched the ball maybe twice," said Macy. Davenport played hard, but perhaps tried to play too much open rugby on a day when

The snowstorm was a rough end to a good fall for Davenport, which ended up 7-1, with two Mid-South wins, including a first-ever defeat of Life University. The Panthers are expected to join Life and Arkansas State in a 7s competition in two weeks in Charlotte, NC. For Lindenwood, this caps off a 10-0 fall that was mostly warmup matches, but included a 36-7 defeat of West Point.

Meanwhile, the game itself may lodge itself into lore.

"One of the players said to me, I will tell the story of this game my whole life," said Macy. "And while Davenport didn't win, I think their players will, too. It was kind of epic."

Latest Mid-South Standings

Mid-South 2022-23 W L T PF PA PD BT BL Pts
Davenport 2 1 0 40 49 -9 0 0 8
Lindenwood 1 0 0 32 0 32 1 0 5
Life 0 1 0 10 23 -13 0 0 0
Arkansas State 0 1 0 7 17 -10 0 0 0