Rocky Gorge Closes Out the Season with a 27-18 Win Over Norfolk
By Evan Lappen
Rocky Gorge picks up its 11th victory of the season ahead of its Mid-Atlantic Conference Semifinal against the same opponent from Saturday, the Norfolk Blues.
As reported on by Rugby Today: http://www.rugbytoday.com/clubs/rocky-gorge-schuylkill-victorious-mac-playoff-previews
In Columbia, Md., Rocky Gorge survived a scare from an intense Norfolk team. The Blues went up 10-0 with a quick-tap try from #10 Jake Humphrey, Humphrey’s conversion, then a penalty kick from the big flyhalf.
Rocky Gorge answered with a long rumbling try from Brady Smith, who leaked out from prop to flanker to wing as the season progressed. Another Humphrey PK before the break put the visitors up 13-5 at the half.
Gorge kept pounding away with its forwards early in the second and was eventually rewarded with a try from prop Bryan Perez. Nick Kuhl converted and hit a penalty to put the home team ahead, 15-13. Kuhl then hit Smith with an inside pop for the try to extend the lead, 20-13.
Gorge put this one away with an offload from captain and eightman Josh Brown to Derrell Kittrell, converted by Kuhl to go up 27-13. Norfolk fought to the end with a try at 73’ from eightman Eric Hagen. The Blues regained possession and were knocking on the door deep inside Gorge territory. Unfortunately, a penalty gave possession back to the hosts, who booted the ball into touch to end the game.
“Norfolk played strong in defense and made us earn every inch,” said Rocky Gorge coach Nick DiMichele. “They are a physical and well-coached team and the difference in this match was possession... We will focus on Norfolk and nothing else [this week at training]. We know they will come back stronger next week.”
When asked about how his team could earn the playoff win Norfolk coach Chris Porter pointed to possession and patience, especially when his team is in the scoring zone.
“I think when we get inside the 22, we have to be patient. We get inside the 22 and we think we can just score on every single phase instead of running the pattern that got us down there. If it takes us 18, 19 phases, we have to know that that’s a good thing. One, it keeps the ball with us and two, it keeps the ball away from them.”
These two clubs will meet again on Saturday in Columbia.