It’s a crosstown rivalry match as the Cleveland Eastern Suburbs take on the Cleveland Rovers in Midwest DII action.
It’s also a clash of two teams at 3-1. The winner is likely to be 1st in the Midwest East Pool 1 after Saturday (although 3-1 Pittsburgh, playing winless Akron, will have something to say about that).
All three of those teams have played each other, with Eastern Suburbs having beaten the Rovers 37-31 in the opening game of the season, Pittsburgh beating the ’Burbs 29-18 two weeks later, and then the Rovers shocking Pittsburgh 48-18 last week.
Suburbs won their previous match against the Rovers thanks in part to some clutch tries from Gary Springer and Nick Musarra and Adam Wheaton’s goalkicking.
They were shaken after Pittsburgh beat them, but rebounded well against the Kelts, with Mike Ciccolini scoring three.
Now it is the Rovers’ turn to rebound.
“In our first match, we aggressively tried to poach ball on all tackles,” said Rovers Head Coach Dale Linville. “This game plan hurt us.”
The referee’s interpretation of the breakdown laws didn’t jibe with the opinions of the Rovers forwards, and as usually happens in such situations, the whistle won. The Rovers gave up 18 points in penalty kicks.
“We’ve worked hard to correct this,” said Linville. “In our last three matches we’ve only given up six points in penalties. I feel that this improvement, along with our stellar defense, will get us a victory this weekend.”
Led by Bowling Green products Tony Brown at No. 8, Scott Liechty at prop, and Colin Murphy at lock, the forwards continue to play well. Flanker Tommy Moran has been a defensive monster.
“He’s our hardest hitter,” said Linvolle.
In the backs, Derek Imes, another BGSU product, has moved from flyhalf to scrumhalf and has played superbly. He also kicks the points. Centers Tyler Best and Steve Burke are als in good form.
“It seems as though each week we have different players who step it up,” said Linville. “Our subs have also been able to make an impact as well, scoring late in the second half or contributing great defense.”