By Justin Rutledge and Zachary Webb | 5.21.18
To cap off a taxing spring season, the Cleveland Crusaders traveled with a bare-bones crew to Cincinnati in search of victory. A scant 34 men made the trip to the southern wilds of the state. Not all came back in one piece, but the club came back with a victory.
The DII side took the field first. The starting XV had five fresh faces getting their first caps. Among the debutantes were brothers Steve and Alex Dine, as well as Everett Chambers and the man affectionately known as Pickle Rick (Chris Margrett). Not only did they earn their caps but they stood out above some of the established players.
The combined efforts of all 15 men found Cleveland’s Finest Club tied at the half and a first victory will within reach. Unfortunately, the tides turned in favor of the hosts with 20 minutes remaining in the match. Coming from a Cleveland Spring – 45 degrees – to actual warmth, 85 degrees, took its toll on the Crusaders. The Wolfhounds plugged away and widened the gap on the scoreboard to an insurmountable lead for the win.
The DIII took the field next against a tough Louisville side. The reserves started off strong, looking to wear down the opposition’s big forwards. This tactic worked out well and paid dividends throughout the match. Brian Liberatore punished the defense at 12, racking up over one hundred meters with the ball in hand. Grant Woods orchestrated the offense with precision and purpose. Players like Jason Generaucous benefitted, punching runs up the gut of a bewildered defensive line. The DIII side salvaged the Spring season with a 22-10 win.
The win came at a high cost though. Chris (Pickle Rick) broke the line and was on the charge when he got tackled by two defenders. A loud snap rang out and everyone instantly knew something was wrong. All players stopped to help the man off the field. The word from Chris is that his surgery went well and he should make a speedy recovery. We know nothing can keep him down for long.