I was there to support the efforts of Aaron Painter and Stuart Freakly, coaches of the Lord Fairfax CC rugby club, who in less than 3 years have built a fine rugby team and created a strong foundation for the future at a community college. Very few rugby clubs exist at community colleges due to the challenges of a very non-traditional student population.
Lord Fairfax CC, the Cardinals Collegiate Conference Champion, was scheduled to host the Mount St. Mary's University, the Potomac Collegiate Conference Champion, from nearby Emmitsburg, Maryland in a NSCRO Mid-Atlantic South Region Qualifier. The winner would qualify for the MAS Region Championship in Jacksonville, Florida on hosted by the University of North Florida RFC.
|St. Marys Team Photo (Credit: NSCRO)|
Jay Myles, the Mount's Head Coach was concerned about match readiness for his players. Both teams have had a rough time preparing due to the unusually harsh winter conditions making outdoor pre-playoff matches impossible.
The match started and the Mount went to work right away with strong mauling and ball control when center Edmund Piper made a line break for 30m and passed to winger Brady Parson to put his club up 5-0 with just 4 minutes gone. About 10 minutes later, second rower David Harrison scored from a driving maul off a lineout. Then 2 minutes after this score, another driving maul by The Mount freed scrumhalf Sean Hartig for a fine 30m run and with his conversion, the Mount was off to a quick 17-0 lead. Tyler Long broke the Mount's defense and scored and with the conversion Chance Ramey slotted the conversion, it was 17-7. However, the Mount answered with 3 more first half tries taking a solid 32-7 halftime lead. The second half found Lord Fairfax picking up the pace and mounted an attack deep into the Mount's end when Renber Hernandez broke through the defense for a try just 3 minutes into the half. Then only 5 minutes later Derrick Hayes found a gap in the normally stingy Mount defense for a try and all of a sudden the score was 32-17. With the momentum favoring Lord Fairfax, the Mount woke up and began to assert themselves. They add 3 tries in the final 20 minutes to pull away with a 49-17 win when referee Simon Smith's final whistle sounded.
Full details about NSCRO and its small college national playoffs are found at www.nscro.org.