Merlins Rugby News#MerlinsMagic off the press
D1 Merlins Men Defeat Huns in Final Regular Season Match
Glendale 42 – Austin 33
With snow flurries and then light rain dampening the turf, the Glendale Merlins notched their collective belt on Saturday, defeating the Austin Huns in the final regular season match of the Red River Conference.
Photo by Justin Purdy
Match recap brought to you by:
Glendale came out of the gate strong, with breakout scrumhalf Trevor Wilder touching down for five points just 8 minutes in, and booting through his own conversion. Austin responded at 19 minutes with a try and conversion of their own to bring the scores even. The Merlins found the try zone just four minutes later, with flanker Alex Fitch touching down for five. The back and forth play continued in the first half, with Wilder kicking through for two points just ahead of another try, this time by Clint Cook. The conversion at 26 minutes put the Merlins ahead 21-10.
At 31 minutes in the Huns put 3 more points on the board with a penalty conversion, but Glendale responded with another try and conversion of their own, Mose Timoteo, the club’s 41-year-old playing flyhalf – a player Head Coach Luke Gross describes as “probably the fittest guy on the field” – touching down ahead of another Trevor Wilder conversion. Austin was able to cut into the Merlins lead slightly with a second penalty conversion in the 40th minute, but entered the break down 28-16 to the Glendale side.
The Austin squad struck first in the second half, electing to take a penalty kick and edge 3 points closer to the Merlins lead at 44 minutes. Glendale answered when Trevor Wilder found the try zone for the second time in the match, converting his kick at 48 minutes to put the Merlins up 35-19. Despite being down in points, the Austin side never gave up, storming back down the pitch and putting in a try of their own at 51 minutes. Merlins Head Coach Gross was impressed with the competition: “We have to say a big thank you to the Huns for coming out. Something about that team, they just never quit playing. They have some really good quality players.” The successful conversion put the match within striking distance for Austin.
The Merlins answered in kind, putting 7 more on the board with a Kyle Stoffers try and Wilder conversion at 56 minutes. The teams’ defensive play would characterize much of the rest of the contest. The Huns were able to touch down a final try in the 77th minute, and though the conversion was successful, not enough time remained to further chip into the Glendale lead. The Merlins secured the final victory, 42-33. Merlins Head Coach Luke Gross was very pleased with his team’s performance: “Our boys played really well. They played the system and they played consistent from minute one to minute eighty. It’s down to these guys gelling well and playing out there for each other.” Zach Rademacher was named Player of the Match.
Zach Rademacher – Player of the Match
The Merlins Women’s D1 traveled to Utah to face the Utah Vipers, where they were defeated 51-10. Even sustaining the loss, the team will now move into the playoffs. Their regular season concluded, the Merlins Men’s D1 team will now enjoy two weeks off: time for rest and preparation for the forthcoming Red River Conference playoffs. The Glendale squad sits firmly in third place in the conference, with the Dallas Rugby Reds in second and the Austin Blacks atop the standings. The Red River Conference Division I playoffs will take place May 5-7, with venues in Austin, Texas to be announced.
Follow all of the Glendale teams on Facebook and Twitter for full-time scores on all games and additional information. All Glendale Merlins home games will be played on Infinity Park’s turf field in 2018, and are free and open to the public.