The MCRC are the Northeast Champions! Another superb performance by the boys in blue. Captains Brian Sirkia and Rowan Kelner are presented with a plaque and 8th Man Chris Marshall gets the game ball as man-of-the-match.
Full report below.
Middlebury makes two changes to yesterday’s starting line-up: Mike Pappa ’11 starts at the loosehead and freshman Vince Mariano ’14 moves to the bench; captain Rowan Kelner ’12 starts at open-side flanker while Ross “Bo$$” Berriman ’12 is rested.
Middlebury applies pressure early and after a second high tackle a William Patterson player is shown a yellow card with less than two minutes on the clock. Sirkia misses the 40 meter penalty kick attempt. Middlebury dominates possession but struggles to take full advantage of the one man advantage until the 10 minute mark. The forwards power the ball up from a few meters out and Danny J. Powers ’11.5 puts the finishing touch on some well worked phases. Sirkia converts, 7 – 0 Middlebury 10 mins in.
The William Patterson sinbinned player returns before Middlebury can take further points advantage but the tone of the rest of the game has been set. The blue pack uses the pick and go to great effect and is just shy of the try line. Man-of-the-match Chris Marshall takes the pop from 9 man Sirkia at pace and is unstoppable as he bursts through the half gap, touching down. Sirkia converts, 14 – 0 Middlebury 15 mins in.
William Patterson’s attack is strong up the middle, using crashes and switches to keep the play tight around the 1st channel. Great tackling by prop Chris Vandergrift ’11 and lock Drew Harasomiwicz ’11 to keep William Patterson at bay.
Middlebury again finds themselves in the attacking 22 with the forwards dominating. Sirkia spreads the ball wide to Dusty “JVJ” Attwood-Dupont ’13.5 who puts through the grubber kick into the try zone and fullback Geoff “King” Kalan ’12.5 shows there is pace in his legs even on day 2. Kalan is first onto the ball and gets the 5 points. Sirkia is unable to convert, 19 – 0 Middlebury, 24 mins in.
This would unfortunately be one of Kalan’s last contributions to the game as the fullback picks up a knock while helping defend the Middlebury try line from a very predictable but very strong William Patterson attack. The Jersey boys take advantage of a blocked kick and keep pounding the ball up the middle around the ruck. Impressive defensive stand by Middlebury but they lose Kalan. Freshman Adam Schreiber ’14 comes on at the back and Middlebury benefits from his incredible boot. On a penalty kick at his own 22 Adam finds touch beyond the William Patterson 40 meter, flipping a defensive situation into an attacking one.
Blindside flanker Zach Bills ’11 is key to Middlebury’s retention of the ball at the ruck as he clears out opposition players with powerful efficiency. Bills also wins multiple turnovers around the breakdown. His quickness of mind and game awareness is key in sparking Middlebury’s fourth try: having forced the turnover near the William Patterson 22 Bills throws a somewhat wild, off-balance wide skip pass to Ben Cmejla ’11. The ball is well weighted and Cmejla shows some great hands to take the pass at pace and spread it wide to winger Dane “Man of” Steel ’11. The unstoppable speedster rounds the defense and touches down under the posts. Sirkia converts, 26 – 0 Middlebury, 32 mins in.
Middlebury scores again almost immediately off of the kick-off. Captain Rowan Kelner makes an incredible run down the field dribbling the loose ball and touching it down in the try zone. Finally the writer can stop calling Rowan’s turn of pace unexpected—it is wholly, fully and assuredly expected. Sirkia converts to make it 33 – 0 Middlebury. Halftime.
No changes at the half for Middlebury and 3 minutes in Sirkia adds 3 points with a penalty kick. 36 – 0 Middlebury.
The first substitution of the second half sees freshman Vince Mariano ’14 coming on at loosehead for Mike “We’ll Always Love Big” Pappa ’11. 2 minutes later Middlebury gets their final try through winger Allan “The Natural” Stafford ’13.5. On Saturday Stafford had struggled once or twice under the high ball, today he is absolutely sublime. To say the kid is simply fast is a slap in the face of velocity; he is a momentum-monger and a speed hoarder and his ability to shift from left to right is on display as he dances his way from 10 meters out into the try zone leaving fallen and bewildered defenders in his wake. Sirkia converts this kick to complete an almost perfect day for the Canadian at the tee. 43 – 0 Middlebury.
Middlebury makes 5 more changes over the course of the half and with nothing to lose William Patterson turns up the heat, finding holes with some strong 8th man breaks from the scrum. Despite Middlebury’s best efforts to keep a clean sheet the sheer determination of the William Patterson 8 man and his forwards finally earn them 5 points as he touches down in the corner after breaking blind from 10 meters out. The try is unconverted. 43 – 5 Middlebury the final score.
Your New England Champs are now your Northeast Champs – tonight the boys will celebrate the win but the hard work has just begun as Middlebury has one goal in mind for this year; everything else is a stepping stone towards that goal.
Line-up: Pappa (Mariano 46), Powers, Vandergrift (Hanich 72), N. Kelner, Harasimowicz, Bills (Dauner 50), R. Kelner (c), Marshall, Sirkia (c) (Song 60), Dusty (Maher 70), Steel, Harrison (Whitaker 60), Cmejla, Stafford, Kalan (Schreiber 30)
- Tries – Powers ’11.5, Marshall ’11, Kalan ’12.5, Steel ’11, R. Kelner ’12, Stafford ’13.5
- Conversions – Sirkia ’12.5: 5 for 6
- Penalty Kicks – Sirkia ’12.5: 1 for 2
- NRU Final Man-of-the-Match: Chris Marshall ’11
- NRU Champions: The MCRC
Spotted at the Game: Daniel Kagan ’83, Andrew Peters ’08.5 (fullback), Trey Stewart ’09 (8th man), Bobby “Le Bogeaux” Gosney ’09 (prop), Ike and Laurie Levine P’09, Ellen Harasomiwicz P’07 (aunt ’11)