Above: Erie scrum against the Akron RFC on Saturday, October 3rd in Akron, Oh.
(Akron, Oh) — The Erie Rugby Club Men’s team (2,0,1) traveled across the border this weekend to face the Akron RFC (0,3,0) on Saturday (10/3/2015) in what was a bye week for the rest of the Allegheny Rugby Union. After a big win last weekend against the Cleveland Rovers, Erie was looking to secure the top spot in the ARU…and did so in grand fashion!
Erie applied heavy pressure on the Akron boy’s, and took an early lead with a try by wing Josh Arce (#11) at about the 5 minute mark. After several miscue’s by the Erie team and about 10 minutes of back and forth rugby, Akron found themselves just outside the Erie 22 meter line…and were awarded a penalty kick, which brought the score to 5-3, Erie. With some quick phase play and crafty running by inside center Djuan Spain (#12), Erie answered right back when captain Matt Verga (#9) was able to touch down for a try at about the 17 minute mark. With the conversion by Jordan Heberle (#3), Erie was now up 12-3. After the ensuing kickoff, Erie inside center Djuan Spain (#12) ripped off another big run and fed the ball to outside center Julian Borgia (#13) to give Erie a comfortable 17-3 lead going into halftime.
At the half, Erie made some tactical personnel changes, and went back to work. A determined Akron team wouldn’t go down without a fight, though, and were able to muscle their way down the field to set up a try directly under the posts bringing the score to 17-8. This was a wake-up call for Erie, and the team responded with a long march down the field…capped with a strong-arm try by tight-head prop Jordan Heberle (#3), who was moved to Flanker for the 2nd half. After converting his own try to put Erie up by the score of 24-8, Jordan Heberle (#3) was able to touch down his second try of the game, putting Erie up by the score of 29-8. Within minutes, Jordan Heberle (#3) found himself at the try-line again, but this time dished the ball to Billy Kruszewski (#7) for a walk-in try. With the conversion, also by Jordan Heberle (#3), Erie had a commanding 36-8 lead with about 20 minutes remaining. The Akron team were able to put up one last fight, though, and put down another try about the 65 minute mark to bring the score to 36-13. After the last of the personnel changes, Erie lock Tywan Salter (#16) scooped up a loose ball and with some strong running was able to put down Erie’s last try of the day. Jordan Heberle once again added the conversion, and when the final whistle sounded…Erie headed home with a decisive 43-13 win, and the top spot in the Allegheny Rugby Union’s Men’s Division 3 rugby league.
Next up for Erie will be playing host to last year’s top seeded team, The Westmoreland Highlanders (2,1,0). The Highlanders are looking to rebound from an early loss to the Cleveland Rover’s. With 1st place in the division on the line, this will be a hotly contested match with clear playoff implications.
Man of the Match: Jordan Heberle (#3)
Erie First 15: Justin Araki (#1), Mike Verga (#2), Jordan Heberle (#3), Mario Bones (#4), Clint Smith (#5), Billy Kruszewski (#6), Nate Moore (#7), Bob Nelson (#8), Matt Verga (#9, Captain), Ryan Kruszewski (#10), Josh Arce (#11), Djuan Spain (#12), Julian Borgia (#13), Sebastian Whipple (#14), Kyrhee Day (#15)