The Metropolis RFC and Syracuse battled it out in the Emirates Airline USA Rugby Men's DIII Club Championship on Sunday in Glendale, Colorado. Metropolis won the match 46-25 and are the new Men's DIII National Champions.
The match was played on a beautiful Colorado afternoon and was filled with lots of scoring and fun rugby.
Metropolis started off the scoring in the sixth minute behind flyhalf Nate Osborne. They were able to make the conversion and quickly put pressure on the Syracuse team, who was able to swiftly answer back with a try by lock, Andrew Pelkey. The conversion brought the score to 7-7 after eleven minutes of physical rugby.
Both teams were able to hold their opponents in check for the following minutes until Scott Stafford of Metropolis bruised his way to a try. After a failed conversion the score stood at 12-7.
Metropolis was led by strong play from their forward pack, who set the tone for strong running from Isaac Johnson and Willie Hankerson. Metropolis was able to score their third try of the match in the twenty second minute after wing, Peter Christenson, found himself in the try zone. Isaac Johnson converted his second try and brought the score to 19-7 early on in the match.
Though they were down early, Syracuse played very hard and let everyone at Infinity Park know they belonged in the finals. Outside Center, Johnny Morse, recorded a try in the 26th minute that narrowed the Syracuse deficit to 5. Just seven minutes later Morse recorded his second try of the day, a crucial score that brought the point total to 19-17 in Metropolis' favor at half time.
In Metropolis' semifinal game against the South Bay Rhinos they failed to put any points on the board in the second half and were on the defensive end for the large part of the last 40 minutes of that match. Fortunately for Metropolis, they came out in the second half of the finals match with the same intensity as the first half, and thus were able to score a try just two minutes in to the second half.
The leadership by Nate Osborne and Isaac Johnson was key for Metropolis throughout the whole game and they were able to keep the ball from Syracuse for a large portion of the second half because of this.
Syracuse was able to record a penalty kick off the foot of Jeff Devennie in the 46th minute, but this would be the last time they scored until the 81st minute when the game was already settled. The defense by Metropolis was quite disruptive for the Syracuse offensive rhythm and it created multiple opportunities for gashing counterattacks.
The score was 36-20 in the 72nd minute when the speedy replacement wing for Metropolis, Willie Hankerson, bolted down the touch line for his first try, only to repeat the same feat one minute later to record his second try and the deciding score of the game.
Syracuse was able to answer the two Hankerson tries with one of their own in the 81st minute, but it was too little too late. The last try by Brandon Gibbs of Syracuse brought the final score to 46-25 in favor of Metropolis.