New Mexico Tech Beats UTEP on the Road
Tech's Steve Bernsen (13) and Jason Lee encounter a loose ball during the second half of New Mexico Tech's 48-12 victory over the UTEP Miners. Moving into a support position behind Lee is Rourke Nakai.
Forwards of the University of Texas at El Paso (left) and New Mexico Tech (right) rugby teams prepare to scrum in Anthony, N.M., during Saturday's 48-12 Tech victory. The UTEP team play their games on a rugby pitch carved out of a former winery.
Photos by Emily Randall
The Pygmies struck first after five minutes as prop forward Matt Perry scored his first-ever try from a pileup close to the Miner line. Fullback Joe Wilch kicked the two-point conversion for a 7-0 lead. Tech got five more points from their forwards after nine minutes when open side flanker Jason Lee scored after a blocked clearing kick. Wilch again connected to make it 14-0.
At 15 minutes, blind side flanker Javier Koerdell rambled 30 meters before passing to Lee, who in turn offloaded a pass for wing Dylan Clendenin to complete a long-range try. Center Steve Bernsen added the conversion for a 19-0 Tech advantage.
Tech got two more five-pointers before the half, with wing John Mark Stiles showing his pace on a long run down the right touchline and Bernsen gliding through the defense after taking a pass from rookie forward Moises Veleta.
With the outcome evident at 31-0, UTEP rallied somewhat in the second half. Their big forwards managed a close-range try just two minutes into the half, and added a similar score toward the end of the match. Meanwhile Jason Lee and Matt Perry each tallied their second tries of the day, while Steve Bernsen added a conversion kick.
Lee scored on a penalty play engineered by Bernsen and Perry’s short dive came after the Pygmy forwards destroyed a UTEP scrum close to their own tryline. Tech’s final try of the day was a beauty.
Head captain and No. 8 Blaine Trujillo ran from the base of a scrum five meters from UTEP’s try line after lock forward James Chavez blocked an attempted clearing kick. Wing Alex Malone streaked up on the short side to take a pass as
First-season player and former U.S. Marine Moises Veleta was named Tech’s Man of the Match for his constant presence around the ball. Scrum half Rick Cosentino’s passes provided a steady link between the forward and back units, where John Mark Stiles was a constant threat at the wing position.
Tech will take on the undefeated UNM Lobos at home March 1. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at the Tech athletic ground.
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By Dave Wheelock /Tech