The final scoreline of the Midwest’s 61-17 defeat of the Pacific Coast Saturday doesn’t tell the whole story.
For the first 40 minutes the Pacific Coast kept pace with the Thunderbirds, trailing just 19-12 at halftime, but the Midwest proved to be too talented at several key positions and blew the game wide open in the second half.
Bowling Green's Nick Viviani, Indiana's Kyle Strohman (the Thunderbirds' captain) and Davenport's Max Heath all scored tries in the opening half for the Midwest, Utah's AJ Tuineau and Garrett Brewer of St. Mary's touched down for the PacCoast.
Brewer would also score the PacCoast's only second-half try.
Stealing the show after intermission was Davenport's JP Eloff, who started the game at fullback before moving to outside center and flyhalf. He scored three tries in the second stanza, blazing the way for the Midwest's rout.
"He led form the back when he had to and insterted into the line at pace," said Midwest coach Ron Bowers of Eloff. "And he made some great tackles when they got some momentum after our first try."
Eloff was just a couple Viviani misses away from scoring even more points. The Bowling Green senior was given the kicking job after looking sharper in the pregame, but Rooney said if he'd struggled, Eloff would have gotten the nod. Viviani nailed eight of his nine attempts.
"He was making some great kicks," said Bowers of Viviani. "He was on today, and it was a challenge because Eloff pushed him in the competition to see who was going to kick. They had a great competition all week and I think it was good for them."
Eloff's teammate, wing Mason Baum, also chipped in two tries, and did so coming off the bench late in the second half for Bowling Green's Rocco Mauer.
Tries: Viviani, Strohman, Heath, Eloff (3), Hollingsworth, Baum (2), Rooney
Cons: Viviani (8)
Tries: Tuinau, McGowan (2),