Defiance can’t shake Breckenridge, fall 24-17
Post Independent Staff
Defiance was only one try away from winning their first rugby match of the season. But instead, it was the Breckenridge Blue Goose who scored the final points and came away with a 24-17 victory over Defiance on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
With 15 minutes remaining in the match, Defiance found themselves down only four points. Both teams put up an equal fight trying for one last score, keeping the ball at midfield while neither defense backed down. At Glenwood’s 30-meter line, Breckenridge drew a penalty and opted to kick for points. As Blue Goose’s kick sailed through the uprights, they pulled ahead of Defiance 24-17.
Defiance battled to the end, still with hopes of tying it up, but couldn’t push the ball into the try zone.
“The second half it was coming together, but it took us a while to get going and get the feel for it,” said hooker Tom Schwenk. “We are starting to come together as a unit. Things were clicking a little better, just not soon enough today.”
After falling behind 14-0 20 minutes into the match, Glenwood awoke. Taking crashes with more intensity and moving the ball more efficiently down the field. Five minutes after Blue Goose’s second try, Lee Martin punched in Defiance’s first try. Glenwood couldn’t convert the kick, but cut the margin to 14-5.
A few minutes later, Schwenk and Martin advanced Glenwood down the field, each running for 10-yard gains.
Martin almost scored another try, but it was held up by Breckenridge. After winning a 5-meter scrum, Eric Olson rolled off a maul for Glenwood’s second try. This time Defiance converted the kick to make the score 14-12 at halftime.
Breckenridge added another try at the beginning of the second half, putting some padding on its 21-12 lead.
Then Glenwood’s back line got involved.
“We definitely clicked at times,” winger Kyle Waddick said of the back line. “At times we were dropping the ball and weren’t able to shift it out wide, but once we got it moving, we did well, rucked it over, kept it going. As long as we kept it going we were good.”
With quick hands and hard runs, Defiance moved the ball down the line to outside center Mario Herrara. Herrara had Waddick waiting on the wing and only one man to beat. Herrara sucked in the defense and popped it out to Waddick, who cruised into the try zone and made the score 21-17.
“I saw good intensity in this game. It was good to be in it,” said Waddick. “We scored some tries. We had the chance to do it, it’s too bad we couldn’t do it.”
It was the closest game of the season for Defiance, who have suffered some blowouts this season at the hands of Aspen and Vail. Against Breckenridge, Glenwood eightman Matt Doubek saw some improvement from his squad.
“We are starting to score more which is good because I think a lot of these guys, the ones that have been around here for the last year or so, are getting too complacent with the losing,” Doubek said. “We need to start to learn how to score from behind and we’ve got a lot of veterans out here who are helping that cause.”
“The deficits are getting smaller every game, it is just a matter of getting the same guys out to practice each week so it starts looking more fluid and we get chemistry together.”
Even if they lose, as long as they are improving and having fun, Defiance is happy.
“I had a blast,” Olson said. “We have improved massively. Each we get a little better, practices get better and we get a few more people ” that’s all we ask for.”
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.