In case you missed it, the Crusaders won the Midwest Championship on Saturday with a resounding 52-19 win over the Green Bay Celtics. This moves the club on to the National Round of 8 in early May with a location TBD. This is the Crusaders second midwest title in 3 years (off year for covid non-withstanding)
The Crusaders got off to a slow start against a larger physical Green Bay side going down 14-5 early on. Finally the Crusaders were able to settle in and withstand the Green Bay storm, to score the next 40 points.
The score was 17-14 right before half with tries scored by Wing Ty Kamcycz, Center Evan “Flapp” Bradshaw, and Fly Half Nick VIviani. A stiff wind and blowing snow at times made kicking tough in the first half so only 1 conversion was made. This is when moment likely shifted for the remainder of the match, Wing Alex Dine made a break up the sideline and after a few phases in the center, Fly Half Nick Viviani noticed an opening on the wing so he kicked a up and under high ball into the corner it was grabbed out of the air by wing Ty Kamcycz who took it in under the sticks to go into halftime with a 24-14 lead.
Stiff Crusaders defense after halftime demoralized the Green Bay side and the one way traffic began.
Hooker Mark Viviani scored off a series of pick and gos, followed closely by a try for Wing Alex Dine off a nice take where he beat multiple defenders on a cut back to score under the posts. A break by Flanker Preston Lowden was offloaded to Lock Justin Rutledge who touched down under the posts. All three tries were converted by Fly Half Nick Viviani to have a commanding lead 45-19 with about 15 minute left in the match.
Green Bay put up one last try and the Crusaders ended the match when Wing Steve Fritsch outpaced the Green Bay cover defense to touch down a Viviani kick into the try zone for a final score of 52-19.
Usually the Defensive Shield is awarded to one player after the match but in this case we recognized 3 players. Captain and #8 Spencer Duncan who lead from the front and was a workhorse all day. Lock Justin Rutledge who was ferocious on Defense and tough with ball in hand, and Prop Joe Brown who was a tank on both sides of the ball.
The Crusaders are proud of the great effort and sacrifice that was given to earn this title, but we look at this as a stepping stone to our end goal which is a NATIONAL TITLE.
The team will take some time to rest and recover, but will look forward to training for nationals and the spring season.
Lineup Vs Green Bay
1.) Frank Vitale – St. Ignatius
2.) Mark Viviani – Mentor HS, BGSU Rugby
3.) Joe Brown – Kent State Rugby
4.) Justin Rutledge – Mayfield HS, BGSU Rugby
5.) Terry Kilbane – St. Eds, BGSU Rugby
6.) Jake Fuchs- Black Pirate Rugby
7.) Preston Lowden – Kent State Rugby
8.) Spencer Duncan (C) – Notre Dame College Rugby
9.) Cory Graham – Notre Dame College Rugby
10.) Nick Viviani – Mentor HS, BGSU Rugby
11.) Ty Kamcycz – Strongsville, Kent State Rugby
12.) Charlie Jewers – Somewhere in England
13.) Evan Flapp Bradshaw – Notre Dame College Rugby
14.) Alex DIne – Hudson Rugyb
15.) NIck Musarra – Mayfield HS, BGSU Rugby
16.) Zach Webb – St. Ignatius, Kenyon Rugby
17.) Ryan Sands – Notre Dame College Rugby
18.) Chris Reed – Hudson Rugby
19.) Steve Fritsch – BGSU Rugby
20.) Scott Michaelis – Ohio State Rugby
21.) Walter “Woody” Woodruff – Baylor Rugby
22.) John Kern – University of Buffalo Rugby
23.) Brad Sekas – Ashland Rugby