In the 15th Annual Rugby Ruckus Sunday Sept. 15, Franciscan University of Steubenville’s rugby team fell to the Pittsburgh Harlequins, 43-31, after a promising first half.
Franciscan’s rugby team started off strong and fought neck-and-neck for a lead against the Harlequins. The two teams went back and forth across the field, scoring try for try, but the Harlequins ultimately gained a narrow lead, ending the half 19-17.
In the second half, the teams took back to the field, but the Barons were unable to stop the Harlequins from increasing their lead. Pittsburgh’s club team dominated the second half, keeping the ball on the Baron end of the field for most of the 40 minutes.
With six minutes left in the half, the crowd began to roar as the Barons broke through to the Harlequins’ half of the field. Senior 8 man/center PJ Ernst scored the first Baron try and conversion of the half, bringing the score to 43-24.
The Barons fought hard for the remaining minutes of the game, and their determination paid off. Following an epic spurt of sudden sprints, back throws and tackles, the team got the ball to sophomore flyhalf Rafe Lewis. With only six seconds left on the clock, Lewis broke away from the pack and scored the final points of the game, bringing the score to 43-31 Harlequins.
Despite the smaller turnout at the Big Red Stadium this year, the Franciscan fans in attendance showed a great amount of spirit for their team, and every success — major or minor — on the part of the Baron ruggers was met with enthusiasm from the stands.
“We have to make sure we don’t get complacent or not too overconfident,” said head coach Jason Adams after the game. He said that the team’s record outside of this game is 2-0, so the rest of the season looks promising.
The next Baron rugby game will be on the Memorial Fields Saturday, Sept. 21 at 1 p.m. against Geneva College.