Longtime DII power Snake River is back pushing for a national club title after getting by Red Mountain 34-20 and Tulsa 26-20 in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Coached by former Eagle Mike Saunders, Snake River played good defense when they needed to, but sometimes struggled to keep possession, usually a Snake River hallmark.
The Idaho club managed to scramble defensively, which kept the team in the games until they figured out how to move the ball more effectively.
Saunders credits the strong competition in the Pacific Northwest for preparing Snake River for the national tournament.
“Every year our goal is a national championship,” said Saunders, who tthinks his team might be getting hot at the right time.
With 20-year-old scrumhalf Harley Davidson sparking the offense and veterans Mik Lose and Grant Miller playing well also, Snake has a good group of young players.
Lose played high school rugby for a quality team Luther Burbank and also played college football for Boise State on the team that famously defeated Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl in 2007. Miller is a forward who has only played rugby for a couple of years, but he is a really good athlete who has learned the game quickly. Davidson is profiled in the upcoming issue of RUGBY Magazine.
Coach Saunders believes his team has a great shot to win the title, but they must take care of the ball better. “We turn the ball over way too frequently, which puts a lot of pressure on our defense,” Saunders explained. “When we take care of the ball, we’re pretty good. When we don’t we have to scramble to win just like we did on the [first playoff] weekend.”