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On yet another picture-perfect fall day The MCRC traveled south to take on the Huskies of Northeastern. This eagerly anticipated match between the last two ECRC Champions lived up to the billing with a very physical encounter. In the end, the Blue proved to have superior fitness, depth and intensity, pulling away to a convincing 37-7 victory after trailing 6-7 at the half. The win is the team’s third bonus-point win in a row and Middlebury stands alone atop the ECRC with 15 points.

Up next is a bye week, followed by the team’s final regular season home match on 10/12 against UConn during Middlebury’s Fall Family Weekend and The MCRC’s Alumni Weekend.

Full Match Report Here:

Coming off of a huge win over AIC, the MCRC was ready to sink their teeth into a new opponent and they had their sights on Northeastern. The sun was shining as the team made their way onto the pitch at the Irish Cultural Heritage site in Canton, MA for their third game of the season. After a few tweaks to the starting line up over the course of the week, the Blue were ready to solidify their dominance in the ECRC.

Right off the bat the Blue were faced with a pressing issue, which would last the entire match. After beautifully wheeling a Northeastern scrum the referee accidentally gave the ball to Northeastern, foreshadowing future calls throughout the game. Northeastern took advantage of their 2nd opportunity, won the scrum and a few phases later touched the ball down. The try would put Northeastern up 7-0 just 90 seconds into the game.

Battling through the Husky defense, Laird “Godzilla” Silsby ’15 and Julien “Caesar” Miller ’17 repeatedly worked their way up the field, only to get stopped by either handling errors or the referee’s quick whistle. Although the officiating was questionable, the boys would continue to apply pressure. The Huskies began to show strain under the weight and strength of the Midd pack, led by captain Ben “FireNuts” Stasiuk ’13.5. The Mad Dogs were out scrummed, mauled, and tackled throughout the first half and the grunt work began to pay off with The Blue earning penalties and electing to go for goal four times. ECRC leading scorer Jake “Flo” Feury ’16, starting his first game at inside center,  slotted two beautifully struck penalty kicks through the uprights to chip away at the Huskie lead. The last was just before half bringing the halftime score to 6-7 in favor of the home team

As the half ended, the team was quietly confident with their first 40 minutes. Despite the score Middlebury knew that it had dominated the action for most of the half. Captain Stasiuk reminded his teammates to keep faith in the game plan, and an inspired John Philips had a quick message for his team before they stepped back onto the field, “This is all about brotherhood!”

The brothers of the MCRC, rested, refreshed and ready to play some rugby, quickly stepped up their pace. Crushing the Huskies down the line with a beautiful maul off a linout, Northeastern’s #4 earns a yellow card for repeated offsides four minutes into the half. Middlebury kicked to touch, mauled again, and Cole “Just Put Me in Coach” Baker ’16 touched the ball down for Midd’s first try of the day at the five minute mark. Feury converts the difficult angle and The Blue is in front for the first time, 13-7 MCRC.

Next up would be fullback Alex “I’ll Be There Early” Ruocco ’14, collecting a loose pass and dancing around the Huskies and into the corner of the try zone. The kick from the touchline is no good but Middlebury still has an 18-7 lead 13 minutes into the 2nd half.

As the second half moves on the depth of the Blue comes into play. The coaches talk about “Squad” and this day is a great example. Veteran lock Tom “Best Hair on the Team” Lynch ’14 comes out 17 minutes into the half after playing the majority of the game with a sprained ankle with Charlie “The Antagonist” Kunze ’15 stepping in.  A few minutes later hard-hitting Sam “Siberian” Finkleman ’14 hands over the hooking duties to Madison “My Ball!” Stebbins ’14.5.

With relentless pressure the Blue takes the game into their own hands. 32 minutes in loosehead prop Cliff “Kraken” Hanich ’15 bulldozes his way into the try zone putting the Blue up 23-7. After this score tighthead prop Baker subs off the field with Michael “Trapezius” Wysota ’14 taking over the #3 duties. Middlebury refuses to let the ball out of Northeastern’s half until they get more points, and they do just that. Jake “Points on Points on Points” Feury ’16 touches down and converts his own try to put Midd up 30-7. The try earns Middlebury a scoring bonus point (for 4 tries) for the third game in a row.

But the Blue wasn’t done! Captain Allan “Staff Sergeant” Stafford ’13.5 finishes the game in usual form, scoring a try under the posts in the last seconds of play. The score keeps Stafford perfect with a try each game this season, and also marks this long-time fullback’s first try from the flyhalf position.  Feury converts on a drop kick to extend the lead. Middlebury wins with a final score of 37-7.

 

FIRST XV: Cliff Hanich ’14.5, Sam Finkelman ’14, Cole Baker ’16, Ben Stasiuk ’13.5, Tom Lynch ’14, Devin Risinger ’14, Griffin Jones ’16, Laird Silsby ’15, Vince Mariano ’14, Allan Stafford ’13.5, Jake Feury ’16, Adam Schreiber ’14, Julien Miller ’17, Sam Schwarz ’16, Alex Ruocco ‘14

RESERVES: Madison Stebbins ’14.5, Henry Thompson ’17, John Hawley ’14, Michael Wysota ’14, Max deJong ’17, Tucker Hopkins ’16, Jackson Yang ‘17

Spotted At The Game: AC Jones ’12.5, Sam Harrison ’11, Chris Vandergrift ’11, Dan Khan ’11, Sean Meany ’08, Chris Mutty ’09.5, Miss Vermont 2013

On another spectacular fall day the MCRC fought through the gusting winds and ran to a 37-12 victory over conference foe AIC. Playing into the wind in the first half, the Blue battled the headwind and handling errors but still made it to halftime with an 18-7 lead. The Yellow Jackets would capitalize on the kickoff to start the 2nd half, scoring an unconverted try just 2 minutes in to narrow the lead to 18-12, but Middlebury seized control of the game from there scoring 3 tries (2 converted) and dominating both territory and possession. Outside center Jake Feury ’16 led all scorers with 17 points (1 try, 2 penalties and 3 conversions). #8 Laird Silsby ’15 had an absolute stormer, scoring 1 try and completely wreaking havoc all over the pitch. Other try scorers include flanker Griffin Jones ’16, and Captains Allan Stafford ’13.5 and Ben Stasiuk ’13.5.

Up next Middlebury travels to Boston to take on Northeastern on 10/28 at the Irish Cultural Center, 200 New Boston Drive, Canton, MA.  NEU is 1-1 (lost to AIC, defeated UMass). The first side kicks off at 1pm with the second game beginning roughly 2:45pm.  Middlebury currently stands alone in first place in the ECRC with 2 bonus point wins.

Full Match Report:

In what seems to be the trend of the season so far the MCRC battled AIC on a spectacular fall day, coming out on top with a 37-12 victory. Starting out fighting into a vicious headwind the Blue capitalized early on with outside center Jake “Point Man” Feury ’16 converting a very nicely struck penalty kick. Just a few minutes later Feury stepped into the line, intercepted a sloppy Yellow Jacket pass, and stung AIC with a 50 meter try under the posts. The man from New Jersey converts his own score to make it10-0 MCRC.

After a chippy period of play and some spectacular scrummaging from the Blue pack, AIC struck back and sent the ball wide into the Midd try zone. They convert an absolute gem of a kick from the touchline to tighten the match to 10-7. Middlebury maintained the pressure and earned another penalty in front of the post. Feury ’16 slotted the easy kick to give the Blue a six-point lead.

Before the half was over the MCRC enjoyed the phenomenal kicking skills of Adam “Golden Boot” Schreiber ’14, and some outstanding runs by both Allan “Roy Hobbs” Stafford ’13.5 and Sam “Do You Even Lift Bro?” Schwarz ’16. Middlebury camps out in the opposition’s half and the forwards keep pounding the fringes. The half ends with Griffin “Plow Horse” Jones ’16 ripping through the Yellow Jacket defense and touching down. The winds continue to wreak havoc and the conversions is no good. Halftime score is 18-7 Middlebury.

At the beginning of the second half AIC capitalized on Middlebury’s mishandling of the kickoff with an unconverted try just two minutes in to make it 18-12.  Fortunately for the Blue, this is AIC’s final score of the day.

The Blue began to work more efficiently and once a team becomes efficient they become productive, and productive they were. After a great push up the field Captain Ben “The Bee Tamer” Stasiuk ’13.5 hammered down upon the Yellow Jackets with an unconverted try. Then just minutes later, with complete disregard for human safety Laird “Poetry In Motion” Silsby ’15 FLEW into the try zone after a brilliant individual run to put the boys up 30-12 with 13 minutes left in the game. As the game clock wound down the boys would keep the ball in the AIC half with just pure aggression and tremendous line strength. Finally ending the game in the most natural way possible, Allan “El Natural” Stafford ’13.5 took the ball in for an easy try under the posts, which Feury converted with joy.

 

FINAL: 37-12

 

FIRST XV: Cliff Hanich ’15, Sam Finkleman ’14.5, Cole Baker ’16, Ben Stasiuk (C) ’13.5, Tom Lynch ’14, Devin Risinger ’14, Griffin Jones ’16, Laird Silsby ’15, Alec Mackenzie ’15, Adam Schreiber ’14, Dave Stillman ’14, Jake Feury ’16, Julien Miller ’17 (First Start), Sam Schwarz ‘16

RESERVES: Mike Wysota ’14, Madison Stebbins ’14, Charlie Kunze ’15, Henry Thompson ’17, John Hawley ’14, Vince Mariano ’14, Tucker Hopkins ’16, Alex Ruocco ‘14

On a beautiful fall day The MCRC opened the 2013 season with a strong 28-12 win over conference rival UMass. The Blue dominated both territory and possession for long periods, but often came up one pass short of earning the score. Relentless pressure paid off over time, however, as Middlebury scored first and slowly build a lead which they would never relinquish. Final score 28-12 with Middlebury’s four tries coming from four different players, and two sharing the kicking duties.

Full match report to come.

The MCRC opened up their regular season at home against UMass Amherst. It was a perfect day for rugby with beautiful sunshine and temperatures hovering around 65 degrees.

In the opening minutes of the game Midd came out strong, hammering UMass in the center of the field, but unfortunately knocking on a few times. No matter, as the Blue pack slammed UMass in each successive scrum. Flanker Griffin “Pack Animal” Jones ’16 and outside center Jake “My Hair is Better than Yours” Feury ’16 demonstrated some impeccable tackling technique, repeatedly driving the Minutemen back.

Middlebury also struggled to win clean ball in the lineout and reverted to sheer physical domination. Experienced veterans like flanker Devin “Shifty” Risinger ‘14 made sure we kept control with constant poaching and aggressive style. The first real chance for points came with a penalty 12 minutes in, but flyhalf Adam “Big Boot” Schreiber’s ’14 kick it wide.  The Blue knows that when you have an opponent pinned back in their own 22 you need to keep them there, and that’s just what they did.  After an athletic block on a an attempted clearing kick, wing Alex “El Diablo” Ruocco ’14 collects the loose ball and runs it in for Middlebury’s first try. The conversion is no good and Middlebury holds a narrow 5-0 lead.

The next 15 minutes are back and forth, with neither team able to turn opportunities into points. Finally at the 30 minute mark the MCRC earns another penalty within striking distance. Schreiber slots it home at the Blue is on top 8-0.

The teams continue to trade blows and Umass punches thru just minutes before the half with an unconverted try. The whistle sounds and the halftime score is 8-5 in favor of the home team.

Regrouped and refreshed, the Blue begins the second half with more pressure, quickly earning a penalty just four minutes in. Feury takes over the kicking duties and drives the ball through the uprights to make the score 11-5. Just two minutes later Midd hammers down on UMass, forcing them backwards. Schreiber chips a ball over the heads of the Minutemen in midfield with Allan “El Naturel” Stafford ’13.5 bearing down. Stafford collects, steps and is gone, touching down Middlebury’s second try of the day. Feury nails the conversion to put Midd up 18-5.

The fitness of the Boys in Blue begins to show and Middlebury maintains control of the action and allows the Minutemen few opportunities. The control, pressure and teamwork pay off with Feury scoring a try after some beautiful multi-phase work. He is unable to convert his own score, and the score is 23-5 Middlebury with 17 minutes remaining.

The MCRC continue to pressure and the forwards earn the ever important fourth try at the 30 minute mark.. The fourth try both extends the lead and earns the team a bonus point in the ECRC standings. With a short regular season and good teams all around, every point matters!

Umass scores a consolation try in the final moments on a rare defensive lapse by the Blue, but it’s too little too late. Middlebury wins 28-12, earns that ever-important bonus point, and starts off the season just right!

Thank you UMass for driving up to Middlebury for our home opener. It was a well-fought match and we wish you well during the rest of your season. Many thanks also to our new best friends the Middlebury College Pep Band, and to all our fans who turned out in record numbers.

 

 

Middlebury has been invited to participate in the USA Rugby 7′s National Championship next week in College Station, Texas on the campus of Texas A&M.  The MCRC will begin the competition on Friday, November 30 in pool play against Cal, Arkansas State, and NC State. You can watch the live match webcast at usarugby.org and of course follow our in-game twitter updates @themcrc.

GO BLUE!!!!

The MCRC Boathouse store is now open!  Please help support our club and deck yourself out in some sweet new MCRC gear. The club receives a portion of the proceeds, so this is one more way you can help support us as we prepare for Nationals in the spring.

http://middleburyrugby.boathousegear.com/

And don’t forget to buy your raffle tickets – the drawing will be held Monday, November 19.

http://boxoffice.middlebury.edu/index.php

MCRC wins Conference Championship!!!

On a absolutely beautiful fall day The MCRC defeated Southern Connecticut 40-5 to win the last game of the season and clinch the team’s first ever Conference Championship in D-IAA. The Championship, glorious by itself, is extra sweet in that it includes a bid thru to Nationals in the spring.

That’s right, Middlebury Rugby is going back to Nationals! It is the club’s sixth trip to Nationals in the last seven years, but the very first in D-IAA.

Today also marked the last game for our graduating seniors. All-American Captain Brian Sirkia ’12.5 led the Blue onto the field for the final time, and, as he has done for the last four years, led the team for the next 80 minutes, scoring 2 tries (the ref didn’t see the third, but we did!), and drilling 5 conversions to lead all scorers once again.

Today is a very special day in the history of Middlebury Rugby and we thank you all for all your support!!

Full match report below:

The game against SoConn opens up with the teams trading kicks and penalties for the first ten minutes. Middlebury threatens repeatedly, but is unable to put points on the board.  Strong breaks by the Blue ultimately lead to a lineout deep in opposition territory. After securing the ball, the pack draws in the defense with a series of punishing pick and drives, before scrumhalf Don “Strong Juan” Song ’13 spins the ball out to Sirkia, who slices through the defense like a light-saber through butter and crosses over for the game’s opening try. He calmly connects his conversion and the score is 7-0 14 minutes in.

The referee is calling a tremendously tight game, and one too many penalties for not releasing the ball sees 8-man Laird “Godzilla” Silsby sin-binned. The blue scrum, operating a man down, begins to crush the opposing pack. A savage front row of Cliff “Kraken” Hanich ’15, Sam “Gluten Free” Finkleman ’14.5, and Cole “George Washington” Baker ’16 batter the SoConn front row into submission. The Blue engine room of locks Captain Ben “Sturgees” Stasiuk ’13.5 and Tom “Wildman” Lynch ’14 never looked stronger, while flanks Griffin “Hip Flexor” Jones and John “Scooter” Hawley fly all over the pitch chasing whatever scraps the tight five leave for them.

After spending ten minutes of quiet and deep introspection, Silsby rejoins his mates on the pitch. Fresh legs and a newfound inner peace help Silsby break through the gain line on an absurd support line and touch down for the second try of the game. Sirkia drills it. 14-0 at the 30 minute mark.

As halftime approaches, the Blue defense holds strong as SoConn manages to string together a few sequences of strong play. Midd regains possession after Dylan “I just want to tackle” Whitaker rips the ball out of the arms of a southern Connecticut front-rower. Sirkia gets the ball, presses turbo, and he’s gone. A solid 60 meters and 3 or 4 dummies later, he is in the try-zone celebrating. The referee, unfortunately, believes that everyone’s favorite Canadian was held-up.

No matter. Minutes later, on the final play of the half, Sirkia’s co-captain, Stasiuk, takes a pop, runs parallel to the try line as if searching for that elusive Proctor parking space and then dives across when a gap opens up. Sirkia goes 3-3 and the Blue lead 21-0 at the half.

At halftime, the MCRC brain trust turn towards the bench where they see try-machine and mustache aficionado Allan “El Natural” Stafford ’13.5 anxiously pacing  like his wife is in labor. Stafford is brought on for Alex “Coco Puffs” Ruocco ’14 on the wing. Ruocco started playing rugby just this past spring and has already become a vital contributor, earning his Blue during this, the last game of the season.

The boys from Midd take control of the game as the forwards begin asserting their will on the Southern pack. A 30-meter maul here…a scrum stolen there…the Boys in Blue are dominating the contact area.

A great boot from center Adam “MuttonChops” Schreiber ’14 earns the Blue a lineout at the opposition 20. Time for some set-piece magic.

Baker throws an absolute dime to Hawley, who is approximately 75 feet off the ground thanks to lifters Stasiuk and Lynch. Hawley sends it off the top to Don “watch the hair” Song who flings a lazer out to Sirkia. Fearful of the canuck’s side-step, the SoConn defense forgets about the big 8 man. Sirkia draws the defense and pops to Silsby whose acceleration onto the ball epitomizes “taking it at pace.” Try number two on the day for the sophomore, who chooses a great day to play the best game this author has yet to see out of him. Credit to the coaching staff on this try. The blue lineout added a fair number of wrinkles this year to help attack off the set piece, and they put it all together beautifully on this play. Sirkia converts his fourth straight and Middlebury leads 28-0 eight minutes into the 2nd half.

Three minutes later a beautiful attack highlighted by superlative support play culminates in Captain Sirkia touching down in the corner for his second score of the day. The kick is from the touchline and even Superman Sirkia can’t make this one: 33-0 Midd.

Jebb “The best facial hair on campus” Norton 13.5 subs on for Geoff “Just a little upper circuit” Genova ’15 at the other wing. Great game by Genova who seems to have found a home on the wing this fall.

Wonderful series of passing by the backline sees Stafford break free for a try under the posts (his tenth on the season). Particularly fine job of ball movement by Alec “Stir-fry” Mackenzie ’15, filling in at fullback for the dinged up Stafford. A superb sophomore campaign from Messr. Mackenzie. The support and ball movement are again note-worthy here, and somewhere a cork is popping, because THIS is some Champagne rugby! Sirkia drills the kick to put the Blue ahead 40-0 with only 16 minutes remaining.

In the final few mintues of the game, the  SoConn pack keeps hammering away, finally managing to break over the try line. A tremendously impressive series of goal-line tackles by the blue pack kept SoConn waiting on the doorway for multiple phases, but credit to SoConn for fighting until the final minute, despite the game being out of reach. The kick is no good at the score stands at 40-5 with just minutes remaining.

Middlebury knows the game is in hand and all eyes are on the clock and the referee. Finally the ball is drilled to touch, and the final whistle of the season blows and Middlebury are 2012 East Coast Champions!!

 

This Saturday’s match-up between The MCRC and Southern Connecticut has been moved to AIC who have graciously offered the use of their facilities.

The address is 125 Cortland Street, Springfield, MA and kick-off will be at 2 or 2:30pm.

Stay tuned for further updates and we hope to see you there as the Boys in Blue look to win the team’s first ever D-IAA Conference Championship!

Only two weeks remaining before the winners are drawn for the MCRC fall raffle on Monday, November 19. Now is your chance to surprise that special someone with Patriots-49ers tickets, Red Sox-Yankees tickets, skiing at Sugarbush, and lots more! There are lots of prizes and so there will be lots of winners. Be a winner - support The MCRC!!

 http://boxoffice.middlebury.edu/index.php

On a cold and wet November day The MCRC and Boston College clashed in a hard-fought, physical match. BC prevailed 11-13 on a day when the ball just didn’t want to bounce the way of the Blue. BC moves into first place in the ECRC by a 2 points, but their season is done, while Middlebury has one game remaining (against Southern Connecticut) next Saturday, 11/10.

Hats off to BC for an intense and well-played game.

Full match report below:

The MCRC kicks-off to BC and aggressive defense sees the Eagles pinned deep in their own territory. The aggression pays off as Midd earns a penalty only 15 meters out from the try line, but well wide. The Blue kick for touch but fail to secure the lineout, missing a vital scoring opportunity. Indeed, Middlebury keeps the ball in BC’s half for the first 10 minutes, but are unable to come away with points.

BC converts a penalty at minute 14 to take a 0-3 lead. Middlebury immediately fights back up the field and earns a penalty practically in front of the posts at the 18 minute mark. In an early indication of how the day would go, a strong gust of wind blows the ball off the tee as Captain Brian Sirkia ’12.5 makes his approach. The “easy” kick is no good.

For the next 15 minutes the teams trade volleys and big hits. Neither is able to create real scoring chances as both play outstanding defense. Finally Sirkia gets another chance when BC is penalized at the breakdown. The Captain converts and the score is tied 3-3 at minute 33.

Minutes later open-side flanker Nate Brown ’13 goes down with the knee injury. Brown has absolutely exploded his senior year, and is loath the leave the pitch. He is replaced by fellow senior Astor “I’m going to Warsaw!” Nummelin-Carlberg ’13.5.

The defensive battle continues and the game looks to go into the half deadlocked when the Blue Backline finds a seam. Terrific support and hard running see Allan “El Natural” Stafford ’13.5 touch down in the corner. Sirkia is unable to convert from the touchline and the halftime score is 8-3.

The second half sees more of the same as the defensive stalemate continues. Both teams are penalized often and 8 minutes into the half BC elects to go for goal. The kick is missed, and Middlebury push the action to the other end of the field where they earn a penalty of their own. Sirkia converts to make it 11-3 Middlebury with 30 minutes to play. Unfortunately, these would be the last points scored by the Blue on the day.

BC respond quickly and convert a penalty just 3 minutes later to close the gap to 5 points. Everyone in attendance knows that this game is too close for comfort, and that Middlebury needs another score. The opportunity comes 19 minutes into the half via another penalty. The normally infallible Sirkia misses the uprights and the score remains 11-6.

After the ensuing drop 22 BC regain possession and clear their half. They string together several well-worked phases and find a gap in the Blue Wall. The conversion is good and BC regain the lead 11-13 with 16 minutes remaining.

Middlebury makes two substitutions, bringing on “Jazzy” Geoff Genova ’15 for Norton ’13.5 on the wing, and lock John “Scooter” Hawley for Lynch in the pack.

BC ups their defense pressure, and Midd intensifies its attack. The forwards are able to gain some solid ground, but BC’s defense shuts down Middlebury’s attack again and again. With virtually no time remaining Middlebury earn a penalty just inside the touchline and roughly 30 meters out. The kick is difficult, and again Sirkia is unable to convert this final scoring opportunity.

Moments later BC boots the ball off the pitch and celebrate a hard-fought victory. With the win the Eagles leapfrog Midd into first place in the ECRC, but their season is done while Middlebury has one more contest remaining. Middlebury earns the losing bonus point (losing by fewer than 7 points), and so stand behind BC by just 2 points. A win on Saturday over Southern Connecticut and Middlebury will win the ECRC and the automatic bid to Nationals next spring. Anything less hands the conference title to BC.

Many thanks to all the friends and family who made the trip to support the Blue! We wouldn’t get anywhere without you!!

First XV: Hanich, Finkelman, Baker (1st start), Lynch, Stasiuk (C), G. Jones, Brown, Silsby, Song, Sirkia (C), Ruocco, Whitaker, Schreiber, Norton, Stafford

Reserves: Nummelin-Carlberg (38), Stebbins, Hawley (69), Yappert, Borge, Genova (67), MacKenzie, Veerman

On a spectacular fall day the Boys in Blue took the turf against conference foes American International College. Playing in the Middlebury’s Alumni Stadium at Youngman Field, the MCRC defeated AIC 48-19 to move to 5-0 on the season.

Being a bunch of freedom-loving gents, the Blue spread the scoring around, with seven different players scoring the seven tries. Leading the charge was All-American Captain Brian Sirkia ’12.5 with 18 points (1 try, 5 conversions, 1 penalty.)

Full match report below:

The undefeated MCRC took the pitch against American International College to defend their top spot in the East Coast Rugby Conference on an unreasonably warm fall afternoon.  Coming off an absurd 91-7 annihilation of Albany, the Blue knew they were in for a test, and they came out swinging.

 Receiving the opening kickoff in front of an eager crowd at Alumni Stadium, the MCRC only took four minutes to draw first blood.  Senior captain lock Ben “Sturge” Stasiuk caps off a practice-like drive with a savage run, setting the tone for the game and putting the Blue in front 5-0.  It stays that way after senior Captain fly-half Brian “The Uprights Are 10 m Farther Back” Sirkia bangs the conversion off the post.

 Incited by the narrow turf, the game becomes increasingly physical.  Lucky for Midd, that’s what the Blue pack had been hoping for.  On the first line out of the game, the MCRC forwards maul 25 meters.  Huge hits and swings of possession define the game for the next 15 minutes:  junior wing Alex “Coco” Ruocco saves a try by forcing an AIC wing out of bounds, and sophomore eight-man Laird “Godzilla” Silsby puts the AIC scrum half into next week.

 Relishing the contact, the Blue pack decides it’s time for another score.  After forcing the ball down the field, a (sledge)hammer by sophomore prop Cliff “Kracken” Hanich opens up a hole that junior hooker Sam “Don’t dip your bread in my Borscht!” Finkleman and three AIC defenders fill.  Unfortunately for AIC it wasn’t four, because Fink carries the would-be tacklers into the try-zone.  Sirkia hits the conversion, 12-0 Midd at 21’.

 Not content to lay down, AIC finds a lane and breaks a solo run past the Midd defense.  The last man on the goal line is Ruocco, squaring up against the full-speed AIC center with at least 70 lbs. on him.  Instead of allowing the inevitable try un-fought, Coco shows his character, putting a huge lick on the charging opponent before he falls across the try-line.  12-7 Blue. 

 Junior prop Traps “Mike” Wysota is replaced by freshman Cole “Leather Jacket” Baker after Traps tears an abdominal.  With all the contact and textbook rucking, the backs begin to sense the spotlight leaving them.  Senior scrum half Don “Not On My Watch” Song, having none of that, sends the ball wide to the Cheeky Canuck (read: Sirkia) who jukes an AIC defender and then chips over the top, winning the footrace into the try-zone, collecting the ball and touching it down.  Sirkia subsequently converts, 19-7 MCRC at 37’.

 Half time sees freshman Griffin “Not Related to A.C.” Jones come on for senior flanker Luke Dauner.  Never a team to sit on their laurels, the MCRC scores almost immediately after the half begins.  Junior outside center Adam Schreiber, putting in a stellar defensive performance (9 tackles, 1 turnover forced) decides to get in the game on offense, splitting AIC up the middle and offloading to Griffin Jones who finishes the try-scoring sequence -his first for the A-side.  Sirkia drills the conversion (of course), and it’s 26-7 at 41’.

 Staunch defense, a characteristic of the Blue this season, continues.  Led by senior inside center Dylan “Why Couldn’t I Have Been Born a Prop” Whitaker and 8-man Silsby (12 tackles each), the MCRC defense holds off several promising AIC attacks.  The Cheeky Canuck knocks in a penalty, 29-7 Midd.  Not going down without a fight, AIC quickly answers with a try, 29-14 Blue.  Not going down without a try, senior fullback Allan “Wish I Were Still a Wing” Stafford dances down the touchline and in for the try.  Sirkia hits the conversion from what was previously known as an impossible angle: 36-14 at 59’.

 Junior Tom Lynch relieves no-longer-actively-bleeding A.C. “it’s a seven!” Jones (5 tackles).  AIC scores after a solid sequence, but shank the conversion: 36-19 Midd.  Sophomore “Jazzy” Geoff Genova replaces senior Jebb “Mustache Wax” Norton (5 tackles) on the wing, and sophomore Alec “I Lift During J-Term” Mackenzie comes on for Song at scrum half. 

 Energized by the changes, the MCRC finds another gear, one that AIC simply can’t keep up with.  Senior flanker Nate Brown, a fixture on defense all day (9 tackles, 2 turnovers forced), peels off another powerful MCRC maul and finds pay dirt with an inspiring run.  Sirkia converts to make it 43-19 Midd at 73’.

Clearly inspired, Baker, the freshman prop, hammers up, breaks a tackle, and stumbles into open space.  As if prancing through a field of strangely aggressive wildflowers, Baker happily stiff-arms his way 30 meters to the try line, delivering the final blow to AIC.  48-19 Blue at 78’.

The remainder of the game plays out scoreless.  The Blue roll to another decisive victory, 48-19, asserting supremacy in the ECRC.  The final challenger, Boston College, will come to the house that Phillips built this Saturday.

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