Above: Rookie Devin Dotson (#14), a wing for Erie RFC, advances the ball against unidentified Akron RFC players. Devin scored his first try for Erie en route to a 53-0 blowout on Saturday, October 24th.
(Erie, Pa) — The Erie Rugby Club Men’s team (5,0,1) hosted the Akron RFC (0,6,0) on Saturday (10/24/2015) for another home match at the Boy’s & Girl’s Club of Erie. Looking to maintain their standings in a tight race for first place, the Erie Men launched an all-out assault on the end-zone this Saturday. Erie, while in 1st place overall, has the lowest point differential in the league and needed to come up big in effort to widen the gap between 1st and 2nd place in the Allegheny Rugby Union.
With a favorable coin toss, Erie had the wind at their backs and would regain possession to start the 2nd half. The Erie Men applied heavy pressure, and were able to find the end zone early when flanker Nate Moore (#6) exploited an opening in the Akron defense. Jordan Heberle (#3) added the conversion, giving Erie a 7-0 lead only a few minutes into the match. At the 13 minute mark, Erie 8-Man Billy Kruszewski (#8) shoved his way into end zone for his first of 2 tries on the day, putting Erie up 12-0. Following the kickoff, Erie again found themselves on the offensive when rookie wing Devin Dotson (#14) forced his way past the line for Erie’s 3rd try of the day (his first with the Erie Men). With the momentum clearly in Erie’s favor, 8-Man Billy Kruszewski (#8) found his way to the endzone only a couple minutes later. With the conversion by Jordan Heberle (#3), Erie had a comfortable 22-0 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Erie flyhalf Ryan Kruszewski (#10) punted the ball deep in effort to pin the Akron team in their own territory. Unfortunately for them, Erie Inside Center Djuan Spain (#12) beat the defense in a foot-race and jumped on the ball in the end zone for the go ahead try. Akron was able to fight the Erie boy’s off for the next 10 minutes, but Erie struck again seconds before half, when captain Matt Verga (#9) broke the line for a try. With the conversion by Bob Nelson (#7), Erie settled into a decisive 36-0 lead going into halftime.
At the half, Erie made 1 tactical substitution, and went back to it with the wind in their faces. The Akron team made some adjustments to their game plan and came into the 2nd half with a lot more fight. The Erie men were able to keep them out of the end zone, however, and were able to put in 3 more tries by the end of the match. Erie flyhalf and co-captain Ryan Kruszewski added 2 tries to the mix, and prop Jordan Heberle (#3) added another try and conversion to close out the scoring. In the end Erie prevails by a score of 53-0.
In other news, the battle for 2nd place in the league heated up when the very strong and determined Highlander RFC (3,2,0) hosted the Cleveland Rover RFC (4,1,0) in what must have been an epic battle. The Highlander’s were able to pull out a 29-22 win after losing to Cleveland 41-10 on opening day…turning the league standings on their respective ear.
Erie hosts our friendly rivals, The South Pittsburgh Hooligans, on Halloween Day (Saturday, October 31st). Erie faced the Hooligans to start off the season, and the match ended in a 7-7 tie. Erie hopes to remain unbeaten heading into the winter break…and the Hooligan’s are no doubt looking for the upset. Either way, the Erie Men are excited for another opportunity to eat, drink, and smash heads with our good friends from Pittsburgh, Pa.
Man of the Match: Djuan Spain (#12)
Erie First 15: Justin Araki (#1), Mike Verga (#2), Jordan Heberle (#3), Mario Bones (#4), Kevin O’Sullivan (#5), Nate Moore (#6), Bob Nelson (#7), Billy Kruszewski (#8), Matt Verga (#9, Captain), Ryan Kruszewski (#10), Kyree Day (#11), Djuan Spain (#12), Julian Borgia (#13), Devin Dotson (#14), Justin Maloney (#15)