South Alabama Rugby Finishes 2-1-1 in Battleship Tournament

November 23, 2010 · By · Filed Under Rugby 

Coaches’ Report for Release:

The South Alabama Men’s Rugby Football Club competed in the 32nd Annual Battleship Rugby Tournament this past weekend. On Saturday morning, the team faced Division I Kennesaw State University.  Kennesaw came out strong and controlled the ball from the opening kickoff. They were able to move the ball down the field with several good phases of rucks and support. It took just 2 minutes for Kennesaw to put the ball into the try zone. Over the next 10 minutes Kennesaw scored another two tries. However, South was able to strike back in the 15th minute after a stolen lineout.  Flanker Jayvon Jackson picked his way through several defenders and scored South’s inaugural try. Ruben Lugo made the conversion.  At the end of the first half Kennesaw scored another try making the score 26-7.

The second half saw Kennesaw continue the scoring with two tries in the first 8 minutes. At the 11th minute, 8 man Balla Masemola took the ball from the back of the scrum on a long run. Scrumhalf Lugo received the ball and kicked ahead to wing Eric Shreves for another try. Lugo again made the conversion. The Jags kept the momentum going when Masemola picked another ball from the back of the scrum and scored. Lugo was successful on the conversion making the score USA 19 – Kennesaw 36.  At that point, Kennesaw used their hard running and skill to score another 3 tries in the last 5 minutes. The final score was Kennesaw 53-19.

Later in the afternoon, the Jags took on Deep South opponent Tulane. The match was back and forth for the majority of the first half.  Both sides played some impressive rugby but neither was able to get into the try zone. At the 18th minute, Ruben Lugo broke away on a long run and scored in the corner of the try zone. The conversion was unsuccessful. The score at half South 5-0.

The second half of the match mirrored the first. Neither side could penetrate the other’s defense. Late in the half, Tulane was able to take advantage of South penalties and move the ball down the field. At the 20th minute, Tulane scored a try but missed the conversion.  The final whistle blew soon after with the score tied 5-5. Due to tournament regulations, the game was allowed to end in a tie.

Sunday morning, the Jags played shortened matches in a round robin against Western Florida and Troy.  The first match against UWF saw the Jags score quickly.  Center Gabriel Torres took off on a long run from deep in South territory. He was able to get the ball to Ruben Lugo who slashed his way through several defenders and scored the day’s first try. Lugo also made the conversion. UWF answered 10 minutes later with a nice try and made the conversion.  In the final seconds of the game, South threatened to score with several phases of play deep in UWF territory.  A penalty was called on UWF for playing the ball while off sides. South chose to take the penalty kick and Lugo sent the ball through the uprights. The whistle blew giving South its first victory 10-7.

In the 2nd match against Troy, South used some outstanding defense to blank the Trojans.   Early on, Gabriel Torres once again took off for a long run. The ball eventually ended up in 8 man Jason Pendergraph’s hands who scored after breaking several tackles. The conversion kick was missed.   At the 10th minute of the game, South missed a penalty kick but kept the ball in the Troy end of the field. After a quick series of rucks, the Jags mauled the ball into the try zone and a collective effort from the forwards was enough for another score. The conversion was again missed.  The teams played to a draw for the remainder of the half making the final score South 10- 0.

For the tournament forwards Scott DeGraw, Vaughan Blacksher, Jayvon Jackson, Scott Pendergraph and back Ruben Lugo played every minute of every game.  The Jags improvement from the Spring Hill match two weeks ago was impressive. If the team continues its rapid ascent, the Deep South Rugby Union, Division 3 title is well within reach.

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