Fox valley 49 vs Illiana 0
Saturday the 14th again saw the vaunted Maoris from St Charles take the pitch in weather better suited to an English winter than a Midwest spring. The temperature hovered around 40 and a fine mist refused to dissipate. In spite of the conditions the field in Hammond, the best that fine city has on offer, was in “good shape” according to Fox Valley winger Danny Glade.
The opening kickoff fell short of the 10 meter and the Maoris opened the game with a midfield scrum, and immediately put the Misfits from Illiana under pressure. Although the Maoris maintained the attack the Illiana defense was up to the challenge and after a solid six minutes of pressure Fox Valley settled for a penalty goal through the boot of Cody Crawford.
The Maoris would continue dominating both possession and territory in the first half but would struggle to either get on the front foot or work the ball into the wider spaces due to the tenacious rush defense mounted by Illiana. They were finally able to work the ball to the outside, and Cody Crawford broke through on an inside ball from Ryan to score the first try near the twenty minute mark, and his conversion gave the Maoris a ten point lead.
The highlight of the first half came shortly thereafter, Illiana kicked the ensuing restart deep and after a couple of forward crashes the Maoris put Cody in position to clear their lines. Cody put low kick into the open space on the right side line, and winger Ryan Pokorney beat the Illiana full back on the chase. Ryan still had lots of work to do, chipping the ball on twice to put it into the try zone and diving on the ball right before the dead ball line, to take the score to 15-0. The first half would end with another Cody Crawford penalty. At 18-0 the Maoris had a lead, but had not really been able to break down the Illiana defense which continued to contain them.
Fox Valley had the steady breeze at their back for the second half, and a determination to continue to dominate possession and territory. Thanks to the insightful and motivating words of Coach Crawford the Maoris cut down on the 50/50 offloads and starting using the back line a little more. The Illiana defense was able to keep up the pressure and keep the Maoris off the score board for another fifteen minutes, until Captain Peter Banks broke through the line and scored under the posts. This score opened up the flood gates and and during the final twenty minutes the Maoris were able to put in four more tries a double from Griffin McGuire, one from Luke Thomas and another from Cody Crawford to give him a double for the day as well.
At the end of the day the Maoris had a hard fought match and the score line doesn’t do credit to the organized defense and courageous tackling put in by the Illiana Misfits for the majority of the game.