Defiance takes home finale over Blue Goose |

Defiance takes home finale over Blue Goose

Joelle MilholmGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Down 19-10 at halftime, the Glenwood Defiance rugby team needed some big plays to come back for a victory in its home finale against the Gentlemen of Blue Goose on Saturday.And Defiance delivered.Greg McCorkle and James Robertson came up with back-to-back 70-meter runs that resulted in tries, and Morgan Harris scored 24 second-half points as Glenwood rallied back to defeat the Blue Goose 41-29.”It was our last home game, and we wanted to go out with a bang. We have been playing well, but it has just been close but no cigar,” said Harris of his team, which hadn’t won a Mountain Rugby League match since downing Aspen on June 23. “So it’s nice to win.”Harris opened Glenwood’s scoring in the second frame with a dummy pass that split two Blue Goose defenders as he sneaked through for a 30-meter scoring run trimming the Breckenridge-based team’s lead to two.

Then with a heads-up play instigated by Defiance flanker Ike Fitzgerald, Glenwood took the lead. Acting quickly before the Blue Goose had set up for a lineout, Fitzgerald threw the ball in to McCorkle, who sped down the right side line for a long-distance try. Harris hit the conversion, and Glenwood went up 24-19.”We were just sitting and watching,” said Blue Goose head coach and player Peter Shafroth of the play. “A lot of those tries, they did very well because they were awake and caught us totally sleeping. That was probably the biggest difference in the game.”Shortly after the following kickoff, Defiance was awarded a scrum, and while the forwards were binding up, the backs huddled to make a play. When Harris caught the pass from Glenwood scrumhalf Armando Herrera after Glenwood won the scrum, Harris quickly skipped it out to Robertson on the right side of the field – executing their plan perfectly.Robertson jetted down the sideline in a run that looked identical to McCorkle’s and by the time the Blue Goose could catch up, he was already in the try zone.That score, which was followed by another Harris penalty kick, bumped up Glenwood’s lead to 34-19.

The Blue Goose wasn’t ready to concede yet however, as Patrick Stotter, who scored three ties on the day, recorded back-to-back tries to put Breckenridge back in the match. “We came back with two tries to make a game of it again, and that’s kinda the way we have been all season long,” said Shafroth. “We’ve been down, but we’ve never been out.”Breckenridge couldn’t hit either of the conversion kicks after Stotter’s tries, so Glenwood hung on to the lead at 34-29 with 10 minutes to go.That’s when Harris put the game away for Glenwood, splitting the Blue Goose defense again and sprinting in for a Glenwood try to close out the match. Harris, Defiance’s captain, was nothing but smiles after the final whistle blew.”This is the first game we’ve won since I was named captain, and it’s been on my mind a lot,” he said. “Now I can relax.”

One of the biggest advantages Glenwood had in the game was the dominance of its forwards in the scrum. Defiance not only stole the ball by driving over the Blue Goose multiple times during Breckenridge’s scrums, but also wheeled it a few times causing the Blue Goose to turn the ball over.”We were getting pushed around in the set pieces and that lost a lot of possession that we might have otherwise have,” Shafroth said.Winning scrums hasn’t been easy for Glenwood all season because most of the time Defiance’s pack is undersized.”We were a lot stronger. We were oversized a little bit,” said Glenwood hooker Tom Schwenk. “We were playing better together as a unit.”Glenwood, which evened the summer series with Breckenridge after falling to the Blue Goose 31-24 in its season-opener, moves to 2-4 in the Mountain Rugby League this season, and its schedule for next weekend is still up for debate. Breckenridge is done for the season and finished with a 6-7 overall record.

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