St. Mary's over Army
St. Mary's over Army
A late surge ensured that St. Mary’s would win comfortably over Army Saturday in a windy, chilly non-conference game at West Point.
Both teams were looking for some unfamiliar competition going into the DIA playoffs, and they got. St. Mary’s did not play Dino Waldren, usually one o their starting props, and captain and fullback Cooper Maloney sustained an injury in the first five minutes and was replaced.
That shook up the Gaels somewhat. Meanwhile, the Army forwards worked the breakdown and made it a tough go for the St. Mary’s pack in the early part of the game. That led to a try for Army’s David Huff, but St. Mary’s is nothing if not resilient, and bounced back with two tries of their own.
Peter Basnight’s try made it 14-12 at halftime.
It was almost a bigger lead for the Gaels. Dylan Audsley’s penalty kick at the end of the half bounced off the post. The Gaels chased well and recovered the ball, but Huff’s tackle at the line kept it a two-point game.
In the second half, St. Mary’s started to roll.
“St. Mary’s doesn’t back down but our forwards did a great job, especially in the first half,” said Army scrumhalf Jake Banarhall. “There’s a lot of mystery surrounding teams like St. Mary’s, but we learned they aren’t supermen - they’re just rugby players like us. In the first half we played good defense. We spread out nicely and got our spring going.”
But the second half saw the Gaels score a try early, and then another, and two more in the final 13 inures to win 40-12.
“We made more mental errors and as the game wore on we got tired, I think, and missed some tackles,” said Banarhall.
Up front locks Henry Hall and Michael Tillson kept at it and were influential in setting the platform for the Gaels backs. The result was a good one for St. Mary’s, as they look for a second-straight DIA championship.
Meanwhile, Army is thinking the same thing.
“We have some good veterans and good young players coming up,” said Banarhall. “Every year I’ve been here we’ve had big goals. But the team we have now - this year feels special. And we learned a lot from this game.”