The Mid-Atlantic defeated the West 34-5 in the Tier 2 final of the Men's National Collegiate All-Star Championships, capping off a fairly dominant weekend in Glendale, Colo., for the Sharks.
Penn State flyhalf Joe Baker was outstanding, leading the backline effectively and also kicking well, converting all four MARFU tries and adding two penalties. Baker linked well with his Penn State halfback teammate Chris Saint in what was a solid team effort.
"It's so good to have a kicker like that," Saint told RUGBYMag.com. "Joe's been lights out all year and it's great to know if we get a penalty in their half he can get us points, and when we score a try he can turn it into seven. I've been playing with Joe since my junior year in high school and we've got that connection, which helps too."
That connection helped free up a dangerous backline.
"I think the best team we had in recent memory was in 2006 and I think this team was on a par with them," said MARFU Head Coach Gregg Jones. "We had a lot of speed in the backline and some physical, hardworking forwards.
It wasn't a perfect performance, said Jones.
"We wanted to starve them of possession and we kept kicking the ball around," Jones said.
But the defense held.
"Our defense was been good all week," said Saint. "Our line speed is really good off the ball and everybody has been working hard to make their tackles. It was really a team effort."
Two more players stood out for the Sharks. Kutztown flanker Mike Lawrenson scored a try and was the leader on defense. And on the wing, freshman Trevor Tanufum from Maryland turned a lot of heads.
"We knew nothing about him until he came to the tryout," said Jones. "And I tell you, a lot of people are talking about him now."
Tries: Erickson, Lawrenson, Karas, Voigt
Convs: Baker 4
Pens: Baker 2