(Metropolis with ball. Dropkick photos)
The Midwest swept the South in the DI Round of 32 Saturday, with Metropolis, Chicago and Cincinnati all coming out winners.
In Cincinnati, the Wolfhounds jumped on Boca Raton early and raced out to a 17-0 lead. Cincinnati played a territorial game to pressure their visitors, and on several occasions the pressure mounted until Boca committed a costly penalty.
“I think the pressure that we put on them, whether it was them diving over or whatever it was, just us putting pressure on them in the corner and them having to circle around on defense caused them some difficulty,” Cincinnati coach Nick Lauterbach said.
Cincy kicker Shaun Grobler converted seven of those penalties into points, accounting for 21 of Cincinnati’s final tally of 26.
Boca made a game of it in the second half when they threw caution to the wind.
“They were quick tapping on penalties and capitalized on a few of our mistakes,” said Lauterbach. “They weren’t going to take any setpieces, because they were down 17-0 and they decided they were just going to run against us.”
The run was stopped short, as Cincy led 26-14 when time elapsed.
In Atlanta, Metropolis needed all 80 minutes, and then some, to upend the South champ Renegades. Atlanta led by two scores with under five minutes left, but Metropolis found some instant offense to win 34-31.
The entire game was neck-and-neck, as Metropolis and Atlanta were tied 12-12 at intermission, and perhaps Atlanta thought the bit of separation they’d created near the death would be enough.
“We kind of let it get away from us at the end,” said Metro coach Chad Augeson. “I don’t know if the Renegades thought they had it won already, but we took a scrum against the head and our eight man ran probably 50 meters and passed it inside to our scrumhalf and scored. Then we came back and went a couple phases off to about their 22, our flyahalf went back weakside and took it in.”
Metropolis, down two scores late, was playing somewhat sluggish until a powerful tackle ignited the comeback.
“Our loosehead put a hit on one of their guys and crossed the gainline about five meters back from where they trying to get to, and it was one of their big runners, and he put him down hard,” said Augeson. “When you see that kind of hit, it can’t help but elevate the whole team and everybody sort of sucked it up from there.”
Augeson estimates the final score came about seven minutes into extra time.