Fox Valley 62 vs Exiles 14
Last Saturday the Maori made the trip out to Indiana to face the always feisty Exiles. The side that took the field had a number of new combinations from Coach Crawford. Who always looking for ways to build the wide open game. This included a pair of wings, Nick Belis and Alec Hafeman, moving into the pack to take the Flanker spots and a new cap at second row for Zack Potter. Given all the changes the first try of the day would come from an unexpected bit of déjà vu when Cody Crawford again found a gap in the midfield to open the scoring, just like last week against the Riot.
The first half continued with a strong run of play as the Maori dominated territory and the wide open game plan would produce a number of quick scores. There were more opportunities to score that went wanting, mostly down the right wing. The Maori were able to put in five unanswered tries and that number could easily have been higher had a few more balls gone to hand.
Up 31-0 at half time the boys from Fox Valley felt they were going to have it all their own way. The Exiles however came out of the sheds invigorated and re-focused on their forward crash ball. Getting on the front foot from the opening kick-off they marched down the field on the Maori and were eventually awarded a penalty try at the 42nd minute when Nick Belis attempted to hold up the ball in goal, but was adjudged to have come in high. Nick was quick to redeem himself though, taking a great line on an inside crash and bursting through the defense to score five minutes later. The Exiles however again rallied and again their strong ball runners marched down the field to get their second score and make it 38-14.
It seemed this see-saw battle of the Exiles playing a ball control game of forward crashes, and the Maori scoring quickly on the counter attack would continue, but as the match entered its final quarter the heat, the pace and the fitness of the Maori began to tell and the score line started to move rapidly in their favor. The final 20 minutes would see them score four tries in succession to end the game 62-14.
Also of note, kicking duties were assigned to Patrick Sullivan. Who after a shaky start missing the first two conversions, including one from straight in front of the post, would go on to be 5 from 9 with a couple of beauties from the touchline.
Hard Hat Honors went to new cap Zack Potter who consistently led the charge on defense and met the Exiles big ball runners behind the gain line. He also proved difficult to bring down with ball in hand.
Man of the Match went to Alec Hafeman who stepped up to play flanker and proved that he had the meddle, fitness and courage for the job. Making tackles all over the field.
Cody Crawford, Alec Hafeman, Ryan Pokorney (2), Luke Thomas, Nick Belis (2), Andrew Vyhnanek, Taylor Lantz, Ben Hodges
Conversions (6) Patrick Sullivan (5), Ryan Crawford (1)