Middlebury goes to 6 and 0 on the season with a big win over Boston University in front of a large homecoming crowd, 43 – 10. BU enters this game with the wind in their sails after their epic final kick win over Coast Guard last weekend but that gale is quickly stilled by the Blue. Within the first 10 minutes Middlebury scores 19 points seemingly out of nothing. The clinical efficiency of the Middlebury attack would have put most teams to bed but BU bounces back with extended periods of possession and territorial advantage. The MCRC pulls off some incredible defensive stands to keep the resurgent Boston team at bay.
Middlebury welcomes back Nat “Sheed” Kelner ’12, Geoff Kalan ’12.5 and Kennedy Mugo ’12 to their starting lineup. Kalan and Mugo pick up a try each in the first half. Great to have so many alumni on the sideline supporting the team during homecoming.
Full report below:
From the kick-off BU pieces together some solid phases, working the ball confidently upfield. Middlebury right winger Alan “The Natural” Stafford ’13.5 makes the touchline tackle inside his own half, unexpectedly steals the ball, fends off some breakdown defense and takes off like a dirty shirt. BU is taken completely off guard…everyone playing and watching is taken completely off guard by the speed of the poach and breakaway run. Stafford’s zero to sixty is nothing short of formidable as he glides by several defenders, accelerating the whole way. It is probably the individual try of the year so far. 3 minutes in and it is 5 – 0 Middlebury as Sirkia misses the conversion.
Just 5 minutes later Stafford is at it again picking up his second try of the game and this time Sirkia converts. This try comes from more of the conventional Middlebury play: hard work by the forwards around the breakdown and the ball spreading wide. Stafford has always been a speedster but now he has added strength to his pace allowing him to easily break the half tackles his quickness sets up. 12 – 0 Middlebury 8 minutes in.
Another classic Middlebury attack unleashes left winger Kennedy Mugo ’12. Sirkia converts and in just 10 minutes of the opening whistle Middlebury is up 19 – 0. In fact Middlebury converts each of their opening 3 attacking possessions into tries. BU has threatened several times, especially through their big outside center who regularly switches to inside center on set pieces, but the Blue defense consistently makes the tackle and forces the turnover. The Middlebury pack dominates the scrums but BU takes the advantage in the lineout, running complex but highly effective rotations amongst their jumpers. BU’s tactical kicking, coupled with their successful lineout work, offers them a strong territorial advantage.
Over the next 30 minutes of the half Middlebury makes things hard for themselves winning the ball back but quickly turning it over through penalties and knocks. Their defense works tirelessly making tackle after tackle. Blind side flanker Zach Bills ’11 is contact king on defense and makes some massive hits around the breakdown. Sam Harrison ’11 is a tree-logger in the centers, chopping down unsuspecting attackers with his ankle height hits. The small inside center is no respecter of size and with the help he gets from his outside counterpart Ben Cmejla ’11, Sammy is key reason Middlebury keeps out the BU attack.
25 minutes into the half Sirkia senses the need for Middlebury to score some points to deflate the reinflated BU offense and he guides a penalty kick home to make it 22 – 0 Middlebury. 6 minutes later fullback Geoff Kalan ’12.5 finds himself in a two on one situation with Mugo outside him: aware of the cover defense coming across Kalan cuts in to draw the BU wing who does not bite leaving Kalan with a clear path to the try zone. Sirkia converts to make it 29 – 0, halftime.
BU may feel frustrated from not having scored any points in the first half despite seemingly having Middlebury on the run at times but they emerge ever-resilient and 8 minutes they take advantage of some poor tackling to score an easy unconverted try. Middlebury immediately brings on wingers Tom Campanella ’12 and Ben “Sturgees” Stasiuk ’13.5 for Kalan and Mugo, the Kenyan having received a second warning for a late hit (though the second may have been mostly a theatrical performance). Stafford slides to fullback. 29 – 5 Middlebury.
Campanella makes his presence quickly felt with an incredible outstretched one handed catch in stride, accelerating and fending off defenders while still gaining full control of the ball from just inside the 22. Tommy makes a strong statement about his abilities as a finisher, rounding the final defenders and cutting in past the try zone to give Sirkia the easier angle. The Canadian slots it home to make the score 46 – 5.
Middlebury’s defensive organization improves vastly in the second half from the scrambling individual performances of the first half. They may allow more tries than in the first half but the second half performance is more structured and sustainable. Forwards captain Rowan Kelner ’12 is a big reason for the improved team defense as the open side flank leads from the front in launching and hitting low.
The final Middlebury try comes halfway through the second half and is a clear highlight of the importance of communication and supporting. Middlebury makes a break and through quick recycles charges the ball to the try zone with BU on the backfoot. South African scrumhalf Ross “Weezy F. Baby” Berriman ’12 comes off his teammates shoulder calling for the short pop. His run is timed brilliantly and he receives the pop off the ground and he muscles his way through to score. Sirkia adds the 2 pointer. 43 – 5 Middlebury.
BU gets a final consolation try in the 33rd minute but is again unable to convert. 43 – 10 Middlebury is how the game ends.
Lineup: Pappa, Powers, Vandergrift (Hanich 72), N. Kelner, Harasimowicz, Bills (Risinger 60), R. Kelner (c), Marshall, Berriman, Sirkia (c), Mugo (Campanella 48), Harrison, Cmejla, Kalan (Stasiuk 48), Stafford
- Tries – Stafford ’13.5(2), Mugo ’12, Kalan ’12.5, Campanella ’12, Berriman ’12
- Conversions – Sirkia ’12.5: 5 for 6
- Penalty Kicks – Sirkia ’12.5: 1 for 1
- First competitive cap: Hanich ’14
The MCRC 2nd XV continues their unbeaten run with a 22 – 10 victory over BU. The first half is slow going with only one try by winger John Hawley ’14 in the corner. The half ends on a low note with an injury to outside center Charles Wemyss-Dunn ’12 but thankfully Charlie is doing okay and will be looking for a speedy recovery from his leg injury. In the second half big prop Cliff Hanich ’14 crashes through from a 5 meter penalty for Middlebury’s second try. Substitute winger Dane “Man Of” Steel ’11 scores the try of the second game fielding a kick around the attacking 22 near the sideline; from a complete stand still Steel then steps inside to hold the defender and burts outside with blinding pace beating several more defenders with his ability to powerfully change direction at full speed. Jack Maher ’12 converts this try, his only successful conversion. Fullback Adam Schreiber ’14 scores Middlebury’s final try. BU fights back at the end with 2 quick tries before the final whistle. Final scores is 22 – 10 Middlebury.
Spotted At the Game: James Manyuru ’07, Trey Stewart ’09, Dan Chow ’09, Scottie Gratton ’09, Alan Lim ’09, Sam Tormey ’09, Max Levine ’09, Ed Cahill ’09.5, Chris Mutty ’09.5, Pat Ford ’10, Blake Hinckley ’10, Anthony Manyuru ’10