Men's DII Clubs

Written by Pat Clifton    Wednesday, 26 March 2014 14:59    PDF Print Write e-mail
Logjam Atop Mid-America DII
Clubs - Men's DII Clubs

The Mid-America DII competition is one of the tightest in the country, with three of the league’s four teams still in the running to win it or secure one of two playoff bids.

The first-place St. Louis Bombers are 6-2 in league play with no games left to play. Kansas City is 5-1 with two games left. Omaha is 3-2 with three games left. All three could win the league, or miss out on the postseason altogether – the first round of which is the ACR3 semifinals May 3-4 with the top two teams out of the Eastern Rockies.

Saturday’s match between the Omaha Goats and Kansas City in Overland Park, Kan. will go a long way toward deciding the league. If Kansas City wins, it’s into the postseason and Omaha's out. Kansas City's final league game against Bremer County would then decide whether it or the Bombers took the top seed to the ACR3 semifinals.

If Omaha beats Kansas City (and they'll presumably score a bonus-point win over the last-place St. Louis Ramblers April 5) then the Midwest's Bremer County Bucks would play a big role in deciding the playoff picture of a league they’re not a part of.

Because the Mid-America has just four teams (Tulsa bolted last summer for the Red River Conference), it was determined each team would have to play two out-of-conference games against DII teams that would count toward the league table. None of the Mid-America teams played the same two teams, but both City and Omaha have matches left with Bremer County – the Goats April 12 and Kansas City April 5.

Kansas City won the first meeting with the Goats in Omaha last fall, but by just three, and that’s with Omaha’s best player, No. 8 Jake Bowers, being shown a red card early in the second half. The Goats had possession of the ball in the attacking end when time expired, and an errant drop goal attempt gave City the win.

Omaha is fresh off a 36-0 loss to the Bombers in St. Louis, while City has a 40-13 win over the Eastside Banshees and a 34-17 victory over the Ramblers under its belt this spring.

Written by Brett Anker    Tuesday, 25 March 2014 19:16    PDF Print Write e-mail
Tight Race In Red River Updated
Clubs - Men's DII Clubs

(This article has some updates thanks to us unearthing some missed results.)

With a handful of games remaining in regular season action for the Men’s DII Club Red River conference, three teams from the North Division are vying for a division title. Oklahoma City sits atop the standings with a 6-2 record while Little Rock, still with a game in hand, trails with a 5-2 record.  Tulsa remains in 3rd with a 5-3 record.

All three teams have a shot at taking the league title as a result of both Oklahoma City and Little Rock stumbling last weekend.  Shreveport, who sits in 4th place with four losses, decisively defeated league leaders OKC by the score of 51-5.  Luckily for OKC, Little Rock fell to Tulsa 31-21.

With their backs against the wall, Tulsa must run the table in order to have a chance at advancing to nationals.  A victory over Little Rock kept their aspirations alive but the outcome of a rematch with OKC will determine their post season fate.

Traditionally a DII contender, Tulsa has dominated the rivalry with OKC.  However, an unexpected loss to OKC earlier this year has forced a must win situation for Tulsa.  Falling 20-13 at OKC, Tulsa will be looking to avenge that loss on their home turf.

Brimming with confidence after their thumping of OKC, Shreveport looks to further muddy the standings when they take on Little Rock this weekend.  In their other two remaining matches, Little Rock faces a struggling Katy squad and finishes the season with a matchup against OKC. In the first matchup with OKC, Little Rock defeated the league leaders 29-8.

HURT has clinched the South Division while the D1-B division is still up for grabs. to HARC leads by the strength of a bonus point but the Austin Blacks are right on their tails as they have an additional game in hand.  New Orleans and the Austin Blacks are currently in good position to win the division or pick up the wild card spot but could be caught by any of the three Northern contenders depending on how the final weeks play out.

The three division winners plus one wildcard spot will advance to the conference playoffs. With many D2 leagues facing parity issues, most of Red River remains competitively balanced.  The close standings will make the final weeks of conference play even more compelling.

Latest Standings

Red River North W L T Pf Pa Pd BT BL Pts
Oklahoma City 6 2 0 268 151 117 4 0 28
Tulsa 5 3 0 226 154 72 5 1 26
Little Rock 5 2 0 312 123 189 5 0 25
Shreveport 3 4 1 279 207 72 5 0 19

Red River South W L T Pf Pa Pd BT BL Pts
HURT 7 1 0 374 139 235 7 0 35
Alamo City 3 4 1 185 308 -123 3 0 17
Katy Lions 1 6 0 89 361 -272 1 0 5
Bay Area 0 8 0 0 380 -380 0 2 1

Red River DI-B W L T Pf Pa Pd BT BL Pts
HARC 6 3 0 211 254 -43 5 0 29
New Orleans 6 3 0 250 158 92 4 0 28
Austin Blacks 5 2 0 272 84 188 4 0 24
Dallas Reds 4 2 1 239 76 163 4 2 24
Austin Huns 3 4 1 158 132 26 2 2 18
Dallas Harlequins 3 5 0 215 210 5 2 0 14
Griffins 0 8 0 67 498 -431 1 1 2

Written by Brett Anker    Sunday, 23 March 2014 14:02    PDF Print Write e-mail
Charlotte Firing On All Cylinders
Clubs - Men's DII Clubs

The Charlotte Rugby Club has been making some noise this season, and Saturday beat Augusta 71-5 in the Carolinas/Georgia Men's DII club league to move to a perfect 11-0.

In regular-season play, Charlotte has scored a whopping 684 points while yielding only 92.

Head Coach Chris Maughan indicated that the squad has a good combination of older and younger players. The potent offense has been led by a solid forward pack.  Although their forwards are not as large compared to most of their opponents they are very mobile and aggressive, and incredibly strong in the scrum.

"The strength of our forwards lies in our front row, anchored by captain Jason Hinchman and a young hooker, still in high school, Alex Maughan," said Maughan, who added that the rotation of Matt Hughston, Eric Collins, Ruan Swart, Stuart Pollock in the back row are all "very mobile, aggressive in rucks and good ballcarriers."

Charlotte also has a set of dynamic backs, led by scrumhalf Jake Finger and flyhalf Mike Miller. Despite suffering an injury earlier this season, Miller has catalyzed and explosive Charlotte offense by consistently distributing the ball and putting his centers through space.  Powerful centers Zach Moyer and Louis Keefe create space for a potent back three.

That Charlotte back three excels under the high ball and is a dangerous counter-attacking weapon. Blessed with tremendous speed, wings Nelson Hicks and Ty Elkins and fullback James Mezzanotte frequently outpace their opponents and exemplify the team's wide-open style of play.

Club President Mike Myers said the success on the field has helped the club off the field, too.

"I think all we needed was a little structure and specific tasking," Myers said. "Out top two tasks this off-season were to secure a coach and get our facility in order. We have seen success in both."

While Myers believes the team has added some structure to the organization, Maughan praised Myers for providing that structure.

“Mike stepped up to be the president when the club was in some tough times. He has been a driving force behind the teams success both on and off the field,” Maughan explained.

For the last three years Charlotte RFC has improved its infrastructure by making capital improvements, and that in turn has helped depth. 

"The depth in the squad allows for good competition at most positions," Maughan said. "It helps drive the team on and produces some interesting times during practice as everyone wants to play A side."

Although Charlotte is happy with the current success, Maughan and the squad are not satisfied.

"While we have had a great season so far, we have been focused from the beginning on making a run at Nationals, and know the competition will get harder each step we take," said the coach.

Written by Brett Anker    Friday, 21 March 2014 22:36    PDF Print Write e-mail
Continuity and Unity Driving Chattanooga Success
Clubs - Men's DII Clubs

The 2013-2014 campaign has gotten off to a solid start for the Chattanooga Rugby Club.  Currently sitting atop the True South DII league with a 7-0 record, Chattanooga is in prime position to return to the playoffs.

It was not long ago, however, that the team boasted a losing record. First year coach, Jeff Bollig, indicated that the clubs recent success can be attributed to the teams work ethic and continuity.

"We have had a core group of about 10 players that have been playing together for five or six years.  Every member of the team works extremely hard at practice developing good rugby decision making skills." Bollig stressed the importance of every player, regardless of position, being able to do everything. "Whether it is a forward making a skip back or a back clearing out a ruck, we emphasize creating complete rugby players."

As a result of the team philosophy, the team is cohesive.

"Everybody is a good teammate and everybody goes out there together," said Bollig. "There is a tremendous team atmosphere."

Bollig attributes much of the teams cohesion to former coach, Kirk Neubauer. Chattanooga has attempted to create complete rugby players, holding each person accountable for their own performance as well as the teams.

"The recent success has been created as a result of Kirk’s good foundation," Bollig added.

While the team stresses unity and that it takes 15 quality rugby players to win a match, Bollig praised several members of his squad for their individual performances.

No. 8 Pat Flynn and Prop Ethan Winel lead a strong pack of forwards.  Known for their big hits and bruising runs, these two individuals bring tenacity to the Chattanooga pack.

 Clayton Parr and Sam Koebley complement the two heavy hitters.

"They do all the little things you need. They run good support lines, clean out rucks and take balls out of the air."

In addition to praising members of his pack, Bollig credited much of the team's success to two backs.  Captain, Clay Hicks, and  Flyhalf, Luke Collins,  have help progress the teams offense over the last few years.  Bollig added that Daniel Tardy is Chattanooga's workhorse, having played nearly every minute of every game this season.

Individual performances and team unity have certainly played a large role in the teams success this year; however, Bollig believes that does not paint the whole picture.

"We have a great support system. From the executive board, fundraising and sponsorship, the team has great resources," And they also have a team mom. Bollig called Angie Kasey a saint for her dedication to the program.

With a strong infrastructure, great team camaraderie and a group of talented players, the Chattanooga Rugby Club is poised to make a deep run in the division two club rugby playoffs.

Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Thursday, 20 March 2014 22:56    PDF Print Write e-mail
Northern California DII Schedule Fixed
Clubs - Men's DII Clubs

The Northern California DII club league has found a solution to an unsettling scheduling problem.

The league scheduled its regular season through May 3, because organizers understood that they had to schedule 12 games for each team. But the schedule turned out to be too long, conflicting with the most reasonable date for a playoff crossover with the Pacific Northwest, May 3.

NorCal administrators have announced that they are moving the May 3 games to April 19, a bye weekend.

The winner of the Northern California DII league will play the top team out of the Pacific Northwest at the PNW champion’s venue on May 3.


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