Pygmies Bounce Back to Defeat Lobos 43-33
SOCORRO, N.M. March 8, 2010 – One week after a short-handed 64-7 loss in Denver to the Colorado School of Mines, a full-strength U.S. Collegiate Division II New Mexico Tech outgunned speed-laden Division I University of New Mexico 43-33 at home Saturday. Tech’s eight forwards overcame first-half difficulties gaining ball possession to unleash a second-half attack the Lobos could not match.
|Vice captain Jerod Aragon drives UNM’s Udzi Nare in a tackle during Saturday’s 43-33 Tech victory over the Lobos.
Fly half Royce Beaudry touched down a try in each half while flanker and fellow captain Jerod Aragon signaled his return from injury with two five-pointers. UNM speedy fullback Udzi Nare notched three tries to help keep the visitors within range for most of the match.
In pleasant spring conditions, the Lobos took first advantage after six minutes when wing Chris Wisdom took a pass and sprinted down the left side to score. His conversion kick attempt failed and UNM led 5-0. Tech regrouped after the kickoff and four minutes later inside center Nick Aldape picked up the ball after a tackle and bolted 35 meters to score. The scores remained level when Beaudry’s conversion attempt sailed wide.
The Lobo forwards dominated first half restarts by driving their opposites in the set scrums and claiming nearly 100 percent of both teams’ lineout (inbound) throws. Tech countered with aggressive defense, and the pressure paid off with frequent errant Lobo passes the Pygmies were able to recover. At 25 minutes Beaudry converted his own try for a 12-5 lead after following up fullback Isaiah Sanchez’s well-weighted kick behind the UNM defense. Udzi Nare countered three minutes later with a blistering run to even the scores before outside center Marshal Spradley gave the home team a 19-12 halftime lead with a 50-meter intercept try.
The Lobos struck soon after the five-minute intermission with Udzi Nare’s lightning return of a misplaced kick, which Wisdom converted to knot the scores at 19. Halftime adjustments to their scrum translated to increased possession time for Tech, and the Lobo defense began to show signs of fatigue. At six minutes Tech’s forwards stole the ball and it came to Beaudry, who dummied a pass to the outside before straightening his running line to score between the goalposts. His conversion from directly in front was academic for a 26-19 Tech lead.
First-year wing Brock Romero places the ball after being tackled during New Mexico Tech’s 43-33 win over the University of New Mexico Saturday. Photos by John Rundberg
Two minutes later Tech fullback Isaiah Sanchez executed a long weaving run from a UNM kick. Lock forward Matt Kretz picked up and ran after Sanchez was tackled and an impressive phase of support play saw the ball transferred to Jerod Aragon, Blaine Trujillo, Nick Aldape and Jastin Paul before Aragon performed the scoring honors. The conversion was unsuccessful to keep Tech’s lead at 31-19.
Tech’s forwards, led by Aragon, Max Crowning and Graham Payne, began to assert themselves with increased ball control and play increasingly gravitated toward the UNM end of the pitch. Tech No. 8 Graham Payne stole a botched lineout throw and drove ahead to begin an irresistible surge ahead by his fellow forwards. First-year flanker Jacob Smith nearly scored from a powerful run and Aragon was there again to finish the try. Beaudry’s long kick was true from a difficult angle and UNM was 38-19 adrift with 25 minutes to play.
Udzi Nare revived Lobo spirits with a superlative kick and chase to bring matters to 38-26. Soon after that, scrumhalf Trevor Morris made a sensational pass between his legs to set Wisdom loose to score on the outside. Suddenly clinging to a precarious 38-33 lead, the Pygmies combined to slam the door when scrum half James Fallt came up with a loose ball and ran forward with several teammates in support. Starting hooker Roosevelt Theodore, who had moved to flanker in the second half, made a strong run before completing a spectacular overhead pass to Dustin Webb, who also made a pressure pass count for Beaudry to touch down. Webb’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful but Tech had all they needed for the 43-33 win.
Roosevelt Theodore was named Man of the Match by captains Isaiah Sanchez, Jerod Aragon and Royce Beaudry. The Pygmies now head into a two-week midterm and spring break hiatus with a record of 2-2. Their next match will be Saturday, March 27, in Santa Fe against the Santos, whom Tech have never beaten in 15-man rugby.
– NMT –
By Dave Wheelock /Tech Rugby Director