Second half surge leads to victory

Teams:MIT vs Mad River RFC
Played:10/08/2016 @ MIT
Score: 36 - 24 MIT win

On Saturday, October 8, 2016, MIT hosted Mad River RFC at Briggs Field. It was the second weekend in a row where MIT faced a rematch from last season’s NERFU playoffs. The big question on the day for MIT was how the front row would perform with 3 of their regulars missing because Toro had to “go see about a girl.” With limited front row subs, the trio of Caleb, Jarrad, and Rob did just fine, combing for 3 tries as they each played the full 80 minutes.

Mad River seemed eager from the start to avenge their playoff loss, as they scored 1 minute into the game to make it 5-0. A Caleb intercept gave MIT the ball and led to a penalty kick for fly-half James to make it 5-3. Mad River responded with a kick and chase that initially appeared to be a try, but the ref ruled it was knocked on. Mad River followed this up almost immediately with a real try to make it 10-3. As the Mad River player touched down he may or may not have turned to the ref and said, “How do you like them apples?”

MIT struck back after another violent run from Alex picked up some hard yards. MIT recycled quickly and found Jarrad hanging out on the wing for MIT’s first try of the day to make it 10-8. James then poached a ball from the ruck which led to another penalty kick which he nailed to make it 11-10. MIT won a line-out and started a nice maul down the field. A penalty led to another kick for James but the kick fell short. Pressure from Sasha on defense led to a rushed kick from Mad River. Winger Eric fielded the kick and returned it. Another penalty was called and James made it 14-10 with his foot. Right before the half, Mad River had an attacking scrum from mid-field. Their outside center side-stepped an MIT defender and offloaded in the tackle to his support for the try under the posts to take the lead 17-14 going into the break.

At the half Coach Sean scolded the team for some soft tackles. He then placed a belt, a stick, and a wrench on the table and said, “Choose.” MIT chose the wrench. They came out playing much harder, up-tempo rugby. Jarrad took the ball off the top of a line-out and broke through the defensive line. Scrumhalf Chris L. 2.0 recycled quickly to James, who fed Hacksaw who then outpaced 2 defenders to regain the lead.

MIT scored again off a sequence where James kicked deep and Eric put pressure on the Mad River receiver with a great chase. Eric cut off the receiver's time and space, made the tackle, and turned the ball over for MIT. It was a highlight play from Eric, who nearly had 2 interceptions; one of which was whistled dead by the ref. His teammates consoled him on the field saying, “It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault…” Caleb picked the ball from the ruck and scored his first of two tries on the day. After another James penalty kick made it 29-17, a couple of long runs from Alex and Jarrad led to Caleb getting over the line again to make it 36-17. Mad River would score again to make it a final of 36-24.

Man of the match: Jarrad

Next match: 1:00 PM Saturday, October 15, 2016 Freedom RFC @ MIT (Briggs Field)

**The following photos were not taken by Sam’s dad