The Wheeling Jesuit rugby team exacted some revenge on the St. Bonaventure Bonnies, scoring two tries in the last five minutes for a come-from-behind 33-27 victory on the road on Saturday.
The Bonnies had beaten the Cardinals on a similar late game try in the spring season.
The final heroics came on the last play of the game after the Cardinals built multiple phases to penetrate deep in SBU territory. Zach Reichenbach dove over the line for what everyone thought was the game winner, but the referee judged Reichenbach out of bounds and instead awarded a penalty to WJU. The Cards then quick tapped, spun the ball wide to the wing, and Luke Titus dove over for the winning score as time expired, and WJU walked off with the victory.
With eight minutes still left to play, it looked as though the Bonnies were going to sneak away with another victory, leading 18-27, and controlling most of the possession.
Pete Malcolm then scored in the corner following a long break and a feed from Corbin McInnis. The score brought the Cardinals within a point of tying the game, and decisively changed momentum, leading to the Luke Titus game winner.
“I think we’re pretty lucky to come away with this win to be honest,” said WJU Head Coach Eric Jerpe. “We came out strong, but struggled to find our rhythm for much of the game and our tackling left a lot to be desired. The Bonnies played great, I’m just glad our guys had the mental fortitude to be able to stick it out for all 80 minutes.”
The Cardinals did come out strong to open the match, getting the first try of the game early when Pete Malcolm took the ball off the base of a lineout and dove over for the try. The lead wouldn’t last long however when the Bonnies answered back and added a penalty kick to take a 10-7 lead.
Poor tackling, decision-making, and handling plagued the Cardinals for most of the match following. Max Lum and John Stapleton (who had a personal total of 13 points) added tries for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals, now 1-1, will next take on their biggest challenge to date in the young program’s history when they travel to St. Louis, M.O. to take on the Lindenwood Lions, the 2012/13, D1-AA National Runners up.
Tries: Malcolm (2), Lum, Stapleton, Titus
Convs: Stapleton (4)
St. Bonaventure 27