Falcons 4-0 Heading Into The Heart of Matrix Play
The Falcons' back line had a good day in a victory that would make them the last undefeated team standing in matrix play.
The Virginia Beach Falcons (3-0) hosted Rappahannock RFC (0-3) and appeared to make progress in piecing together offensive play. After about five minutes of penalties, Beach surrendered a penalty kick before settling into the game. The Falcons were able to work effective phases at a high rate, which resulted in two tries by wing Brandon Wagner within the first 15 minutes of the game. A crash by inside center Darius Blakeney near the line resulted in another five points and the Falcons took a 17-3 advantage at the 22-minute mark. Phase play continued to be powerful and swift with lock Nick Frantz and prop JJ Brown softening the defense with crash balls and creating space for Will brooks to take in a try. Lock Joey Crawford showed his capability to integrate into the back line throughout the game and it paid off just before half time with a try of his own, making the game 29-3 at the break.
Shortly after kickoff, Beach was able to counter run off a Rappahannock clearance kick, as wing Brandon Wagner broke down the sideline before giving a clean pass to number 8 Koriano Leifi. Leifi was able to commit several defenders before presenting an offload to hooker Sean Christopher at full pace, resulting in a 60-meter run for the Falcons, dotting down between the posts. It didn't take much longer for outside center Will brooks to take a pick and go to the weakside and proceed to break five tackles in a 60-meter run for the score at the 50-minute mark.
With a 39-3 lead, Beach began to implement substitutions at front row, flanker, lock, wing and eventually scrum half. This likely disrupted the rhythm of the team and some of the pace was lost offensively. This gave Rappahannock a few more opportunities to work with possession of the ball and it paid off for their loose head prop, who scored two tries after breaking some arm tackles and keeping his feet while driving through the contact area. Beach was able to respond with a nice breakthrough by prop Kyle Reed before an offload to wing Jerard Young for the score. After being held up in the try zone several times near the end of the game, the Falcons were finally able to finish out with a try after wing Andrew "Flash" Wright was able to return a kick to the weakside before offloading to flyhalf Gus Altschler. Altschler was able to make a diving try into the corner under heavy pressure, ending the game with a score of 49-17.
The Falcons are now 4-0 heading into what will be their two toughest assignments of the fall matrix: a visit to the Norfolk Blues (1-2) before traveling to Charlottesville for a showdown with Virginia RFC (3-1). The Blues' record is deceiving, as they have faced two strong opponents in Newport News (4-1) and Virginia.
Around the league:
Newport News (4-1) had a huge victory over 2014 Matrix Champion James River RFC (3-1), defeating them 43-5 at home. News had just come off a suprising 22-38 defeat of Blacksburg RFC (2-1) and showed tremendous resilience in the victory. James River will have the opportunity to regroup with a bye week followed by a visit to Rocktown RFC (0-2).
Virginia RFC (3-1) hosted the Norfolk Blues (1-2) this past weekend and defeated them 34-17. Virginia will now travel to Newport News (4-1) in what will be a very telling and crucial match up in the race for the playoffs.