It shouldn’t be a surprise anymore. Metropolis is for real.
The Minneapolis-based DI club is perhaps the deepest good club in the Midwest, and in beating the Milwaukee Barbarians 36-13 are firmly atop Pool 2 of the Midwest-West DI league.
“I feel really good about it,” said Head Coach Nate Osborn, who is not given to hyperbole. “We had taken a week off and it was interesting to see how the guys responded. They needed a little bit of time to recover from bumps and bruises. We told the guys that last Saturday they could come out for a completely optional training before our DII match. Everyone showed up. That was great to see.”
Osborn said he is thrilled with the coachability of his players.
“They are playing really good footy right now,” he added.
What’s helping Metropolis is the work being done at Spearhead Academy, and, not unrelated to that, their depth.
“Rob Holder is running Spearhead and he’s come out and helped coach with us and it’s been a really great partnership,” said Osborne.
From that program, USA U20 lock Nick Barrett, converted to lock from flyhalf at Spearhead, has joined Metropolis and played superbly.
“Nick has endless potential,” said Osborne. “The partnership with Spearhead has been good for both of us, and it’s really helped our depth.”
Ah yes, depth. Metropolis is 3-0 in DI, 3-1 and pushing Bremer County for the lead in their conference in DII, and are undefeated in DIII while playing a non-playoff-bound schedule.
“We have three full teams, three good full teams,” said Osborne. “What that means is we always have depth for our squads. It also means there’s really good competition for places. I have 26 players I could choose from for the 1st side, and it’s a tough decision every week.”
They need it because competition with other clubs is coming soon. The Midwest schedule is a little strange, with ten teams split into three pools. Metropolis plays Palmer twice and Milwaukee twice before playing three Chicago teams – Griffins, Lions and Blaze, with the Griffins pitching-up twice – for the remainder of their schedule.
Osborne is not happy about playing none of the East teams. Meanwhile, he looks at Palmer, which finishes their season against Milwaukee twice, Cincinnati and Indianapolis. It’s a completely sweepable list of games for Palmer, currently 1-2.
“We look at this coming match with Palmer as a must-win, and I am sure they do too,” said Osborne. “If we lose that game, Palmer will be 2-2 and could win the rest of their games to be 6-2. We would be 3-1, but with four really tough games to come. So it’s important to get some breathing room for us.”
Osborne said he expects Palmer, 29-27 losers to Metropolis on September 8, to be ready for revenge.
“Playing these teams twice in quick succession means they can really formulate a game plan against you,” said Osborne. “We beat Milwaukee 56-20 in our opening match, and this game was much closer, much tougher. You could tell they had focused on some things to beat us. That’s why this schedule is so strange. But we have been working too.”