By Justin Rutledge | 09.17.15
The Cleveland Crusaders are on the road again this weekend, though the groups traveling resemble the Light Brigade rather than an army of crusaders. Though injury and obligations have depleted the number of Clevelanders traveling to Dayton and Mount Pleasant, the groups going are solid and should be able to take a tough 80 minutes on the road and bring home wins.
The Crusaders heading to Dayton will be looking to rebound after getting into a slugfest – literally – with the Tradesmen last weekend and suffering a loss. Some of the big guns are missing from last weekend’s lineup for the Crusaders. Tony Brown, Michael Travis, Evan Johnson and Taryn Avon are out with various injuries in the forwards, while Tyler Best and Derek Imes will be absent this weekend in the back line. That’s the bad news. Now for the good news. The bulk of the lineup has remained unchanged in the back line and the forwards filling in are just as dangerous as their injured counterparts.
Scott Liechty will join Tom Nemeth and Pat Rahill – no “y” – in the front row, while Justin Rutledge and Joe Brown will be in the second row completing the engine room of the Crusaders’ scrum. Trent Szente and Terry Kilbane will take up flanker duties. If people in Dayton see two red streaks to be flying across the field it’s these two making their presences known.
The back line has been more shuffled than altered for Saturday. Nick Musarra will be in the mix more, running scrumhalf in Imes’ stead. Stene Burke will be bumping in towards the middle of the field a bit more to take the center of the field with Billy Regan. Steve Fritsch makes his DII debut at wing, opposite Scott Wallace, and Preston Lowden will get the start at fullback.
Kritter Regan will be the lone replacement for the Crusaders.
This weekend’s competition was near the bottom of the table last year, whereas the Tradesmen were at the top. The danger in playing teams that had such different finishes last year is mentally writing off the lesser of the two evils. If the Crusaders go down to Dayton expecting to walk on the field and walk over Dayton to get the win, there will be a rude awakening and likely another loss. If the Crusaders treat the Pigs like the Tradesmen, taking home a win is a definite possibility.
The BlueSaders have a tough road to travel in Pennsylvania this weekend. Not only is Greensburg an unknown team, players will have to deal with Allegheny referees, who are notorious for making questionable calls. If the BluSaders play with discipline and purpose they should be able to solve the mystery and overcome any other issues that might arise during the match. What is known is who the BlueSaders have on the field and what they can do.
The pack remains unchanged for the BlueSaders. The mixture of experience and intensity remains unchanged in the forward pack. Mo Pahulu was the hero of the day last weekend, so if the BlueSaders get in a tight spot expect him to be the one to pull out another stellar play to put his team ahead in the end. The remaining pack members are expected to continue their solid performances and keep their counterparts under control on Saturday.
Like last week, the back line can lay the wood or breeze past defenders, as they choose. In the later minutes of the match, once the opposition tires, the backs should be able to release into the back field more easily and get some link play going on. Ryan Sands and Jason Geanuracos will punish the middle of the field in an effort to gain yards. If that doesn’t work it will open up space on the side for the team’s speed merchants, the two Steves – Wolnik and Anthony. The BlueSaders will debut excited rookie DeVonte Martin on the wing. This should be fun.
Consolidated as the team’s rosters might be, the Crusaders and BlueSaders are traveling with groups that are more than capable of bringing home wins. As long as they play DAS RUGBY – that’s rugby with Discipline, Aggression and Speed – Dayton and Greensburg don’t stand a chance.
“…Honour the charge they made, Honour the Light Brigade.”
|September 19, 2015||1:00 PM||USA Rugby Men's Club Division 4||2015|
|Greensburg - Mammoth Park|
|747 Blacksmith Road, Mount Pleasant, PA 15666, USA|
|23||Mark Staron II||Scrum-half||0||0||0||0|
|25||Miles Papa||Number Eight||0||0||0||0|
|38||Jason Geanuracos||Number Eight||0||0||0||0|
|1||Greensburg D4 Player||Wing||3||3||2||0|