Davenport became the first team to qualify for 7s Nationals Saturday, winning the MAC Schools Tournament held inside Bowling Green’s football Stadium. The Panthers went 5-0 on the day, toppling the host Falcons 36-12 in the final.
The championship match was close in the first half, with Davenport holding just a two-point lead (14-2) going into intermission.
“I think in the final it’s going to kind of be a hotly contest match anyway between the two clubs. We’ve got a bit of a history as it is,” said Davenport assistant coach James Wood of the old Midwest-East and Mideast rivals.
“It lived up to what I figured what it was going to be. I thought it was going to start out pretty physical and kind of be an emotional game. The first half played that out pretty well, but really all the pieces of the puzzle we’ve been working on fell into place for us.”
Davenport’s defensive structure took shape in the second half and the Panthers held Bowling Green scoreless while managing four second-half tries to put the game away. Scrumhalf Nick Glocke contributed three tries in the final and led Davenport in scoring on the day.
“He puts himself in good position,” said Wood of Glocke. “We really expected a lot out of him in terms of giving us good set pieces and putting the opposing scrumhalf under pressure. We worked on a lot of good scrum setups and whatnot, different situational things, and he played well.”
JP Eloff was fantastic as usual, playing most every minute of the tournament and acting as an on-field coach. He also scored in the second half of the final. But the heart and soul of Davenport is Ryan Hargraves.
“He’s kind of our emotional leader,” said Wood of Hargraves. “His work rate, I don’t know what to think of the guy sometimes. He just goes and leaves everything on the field. There’s never a time when you have to go to him and say, ‘Hey, I need more out of you.’ He takes care of that on his end.”
Finals Box Score
Tries: Ziegler (2)
Tries: Glocke (3), Welmers, Eloff, Houston
Cons: Glocke (3)
Bowling Green was pleased with a competitive showing after not doing as well in a similar tournament last season.
“We started two freshmen and had a third freshman on the squad,” said BGSU’s Roger Mazzarella. So for a young team I thought we did great. We knew that last year was going to be a rebuilding year.”
Mazzarella said two of those freshmen, Mike Powell and Mitch Sora, played pretty well on the day, along with first-year transfer from Ohio Mike Ziegler and senior Dominic Mauer.
Mazzarella took some satisfaction in beating Wheeling Jesuit 14-5 in the semifinals, too.
Cup: Davenport 36-12 Bowling Green
3rd/4th: Notre Dame 12-7 Wheeling Jesuit
Plate: Ohio 21-12 Northern Illinois
Shield: Dayton 24-7 Cincinnati
Cup: Davenport 19-0 Notre Dame
Cup: Bowling Green 14-5 Wheeling Jesuit
Plate: Northern Illinois 8-5 Dayton
Plate: Ohio 12-7 Cincinnati
Bowling Green 21-5 Western Michigan
Davenport 26-0 Ball State
Notre Dame 33-12 Central Michigan
Wheeling Jesuit 40-0 Miami
Davenport 22-17 Wheeling Jesuit
Davenport 31-0 Cincinnati
Bowling Green 28-0 Northern Illinois
Bowling Green 35-5 Ball State
Miami 17-10 Dayton
Notre Dame 33-14 Western Michigan
Miami 12-7 Central Michigan
Notre Dame 5-0 Ohio
Central Michigan 17-0 Dayton
Ball State 12-5 Northern Illinois
Western Michigan 24-12 Ohio
Wheeling Jesuit 24-17 Cincinnati