Denver East bested Cherry Creek in a battle of undefeated teams in Colorado Wednesday. The Angels were swift to the breakdown, relentless in obtaining possession and the delivery of turnover ball, and crafty in their exploitation of windy conditions.
East second pivot Jeremy Tabor’s territorial boot pinned Creek in their end for nearly the entire first half, and though Creek fullback Preston Weems returned several lofts with dandy counters, the home team could not establish the continuity necessary for sustained play in East’s half of the pitch.
Each side was pinged for failure to release at the tackle initially, but the first costly penalty came when Creek was judged offside at the breakdown in the 10th minute. Matt Fitzgerald exacted payment in the form of a penalty from 25 meters out.
The Angels were back in the hosts’ end after an offsides penalty enabled Tabor to boom the ball into touch inside the Bruins 22. A series of rolling mauls had lock Will Bible primed for a short dash into goal for the touch down, and with Fitzgerald’s conversion, East led 10-0.
Creek inside center Hayden Teehan got his side on board with a penalty from 22 meters out as time ran out in the period. East took a 10-3 lead into intermission.
A series of penalties in rapid succession by Creek gave East possession-and-penalty twenty yards from Creek’s try line. A quick-tap put deceptively speedy loosehead Duncan Frost through the defense and into goal. Fitzgerald’s conversion went slightly awry, leaving East up 15-3 near the 43-minute mark.
Creek was pressured hard inside East’s 22 when its offensive was halted by obstruction, which enabled Tabor to clear his lines at minute 46, but a subsequent dangerously high tackle by East captain and No. 8 Meshach Ricketts garnered a yellow.
With Creek’s forward pack driving hard into East territory with a rolling maul, East’s openside flanker managed turnover ball and careened into space for a 30-meter scamper into Creek territory. As he was brought to ground, a slick offload saw inside center Bennett Rodriguez fend off a defender en route to a 45-meter try. Fitzgerald’s conversion put East up 22-3 in the 50th minute.
Ricketts returned from the bin three minutes shy of full time and had his forwards attacking 30 meters from Creek’s goal when turnover ball had the Bruin backline on the attack. A lengthy pass fell short of its intended target as it was held up in the wind, and popped instead into the hands of Neil Roper for an uncontested final try for East. Tabor’s last conversion made it 29-3, and Denver East stands alone as undefeated in Colorado league play.
Tries: Bible, Frost, Rodriguez, Roper
Cons: Fitzgerald (3)
Match Official: Marc Nelson