The Rochester Aardvarks defeated Pittsburgh 32-19 Saturday in the Midwest DII Club Eastern semis, to advance to Sunday's final against Michiana.
The Ardvarks weathered some determined Pittsburgh forward attacks - especially from their solid scrum platform, which set up a series of tough-to-defend eightman picks. But out in the backs, Rochester held sway, executing well and expanding a 13-5 halftime lead.
"It was a lot closer than 32-19 makes it look," said Rochester's Jim Tobin. "We needed some great plays from out backline and a good goal-line defense from our pack."
Rochester led 25-19 with time winding down before scoring the killer blow late.
The Aardvarks clash with the Michiana Moose Sunday, as the Moose came back from a 14-0 deficit against Dayton to win. After dropping behind, Michiana led 19-14, only to see the Flying Pigs tie it up. A late try from Michiana put the game away.
"We're excited to play Michiana Sunday," said Tobin.
Meanwhile, the Midwest-West playoffs are slightly different from those in the East. In the West Saturday was the game to decide who would be first, and the Eastside Banshees shocked Wisconsin 37-15 to take the conference title.
Eastside is now done until the spring crossovers. Wisconsin has work to do, as they will face Bremer County.
BC held off the South Side Irish in a close game that hinged on a score late in the first half. With the wind, SSI led early, and going into the break they were just a little behind. But a try from Bremer County made it 22-14, and from then on the Irish were chasing, and while they scored late to get within a try, the final eight minutes did not yield the final comeback try.
South Side Irish play Milwaukee, which beat Des Moines comfortably Saturday, for the 4th seed out of the Midwest-West.
Pittsburgh and Dayton play off for 3rd and 4th Sunday in Toledo, Ohio.