TUKWILA, Wash. – A thrilling first day of action from Starfire Sports Complex set up a Men’s Cup Semifinal round compiled of three very deserving squads.
Host and reigning Club 7s National Champion Seattle-OPSB dispatched New York Athletic Club to advance to the Semifinals to face Belmont Shore, who got past a youthful Chicago Lions team, 21-14, in the Quarterfinals. Belmont, led by player/coach Peter Sio, did not seem to have enough left in the legs to keep up with star-studded Seattle and fell, 26-5.
On the other side of the bracket, dark horse Kansas City Blues beat fellow West Region rival Denver Barbarians, 19-12, in the Quarters to continue their surprise run. They would face a team that is no stranger to the big stage in Old Blue after the boys from New York ran past Mile Pulu and the East Palo Alto Razorbacks. In the Semifinals, Old Blue ended Kansas City’s stellar weekend after a 17-7 outcome in the east coast team’s favor.
In Sunday’s Cup Final, Seattle got on the board first after Tim Stanfill took the corner and used a nasty fend against Marcus Henderson to score the match’s opening points. Old Blue showed it was not intimidated by Seattle’s Eagle-filled roster and answered right back with a try from Henderson.
Mike Palefau, who would be named the Smith & Forge Hard Cider MVP, scored Seattle’s second try, but Old Blue would silence the hometown fans with back-to-back converted tries leading to a 21-12 lead at halftime.
Old Blue, who was already playing without playmaker Nate Augsburger due to an injury suffered on day one, lost star player and Eagle winger Luke Hume late in the second half to a leg injury. Meanwhile, Seattle desperately needed a try down two points with just over a minute left and turned to their deep and talented bench hoping for a big play.
The big play would come from Rocco Mauer who, receiving the ball on the sideline, broke inside and made two defenders miss to score under the posts as the clock expired. Following the conversion, Seattle claimed its second consecutive Club 7s National Championship, 29-26.
In other day two action, Kansas City did not let the disappointment of missing out on the Cup Finals hinder its bronze medal match. The Blues beat Belmont, 12-10, on Michael Mercer’s conversion.
The Denver Barbarians earned a nice consolation for yet another trip to Club 7s Championships without a title in the form of the Plate trophy. The Barbos received tries from Brendan Shea and University of Oklahoma’s Michael Al-Jiboori to beat NYAC, 14-7.
In the Bowl Final, Schuylkill River used some fancy footwork and nifty offloading to run away from the Hawaii Titans in a 38-7 victory.