Milwaukee defeated 1823 in the final of the Minnesota 7s, Saturday at the Eagan Community Center, Eagan, Minn., this being the second of the Midwest RFU Summer Sevens Series.
The Minnesota 7s tournament hosted by YoungBloodz 7s was split into two brackets; Midwest Qualifier and Open, with Milwaukee RFC winning the Qualifier competition and the host YoungBloodz's second side won the Open.
Eight teams from across the Midwest competed in the Qualifier, the Midwest's second of the young 7s season.
Qualifier pool scores by round:
YoungBloodz 40-7 Blacksheep
Chicago Griffins 38-5 Cassowary 7s
1823 57-0 St. Paul Pigs
Milwaukee 28-5 Metropolis
Chicago Griffins 26-7 Blacksheep
YoungBloodz 33-7 Cassowary
Milwaukee 31-0 St. Paul Pigs
1823 38-7 Metropolis
YoungBloodz 33-0 Chicago Griffins
Cassowary 7s 19-17 Blacksheep
Milwaukee 31-15 1823
Metropolis 48-0 St. Paul Pigs
The top three teams from each pool advanceD to the knockout rounds, with the pool leaders (YoungBloodz and Milwaukee) gaining a bye to the semis. That set up the Chicago Griffins taking on Metropolis in one semifinal and 1823 facing off with Cassowary in the other. The Griffins fell 43-5 to Metropolis, while 1823 won comfortably, 48-0, over Cassowary.
The two teams finishing at the bottom of their pools played for 7th place, with the Blacksheep beating the St. Paul Pigs 20-19.
The 5th place match was a rematch from earlier in the day with the Chicago Griffins facing off against Cassowary 7s. The Griffins won in pool play and in the fifth-place bout.
That set up a semifinal between 1823 and the YoungBloodz, two teams that had already faced each other twice last week at the Iowa 7s. That first match had ended as a 19-19 tie, and the second a 19-10 win for the YoungBloodz.
1823 and the YoungBloodz are similar in that they're essentially all-star college sides. 1823 draws kids from all over Ohio, while YoungBloodz gets the majority of their players from the University of Minnesota. That connection has created a relationship and friendly rivalry of sorts.
"That's why we've kind of built a good relationship with them," said 1823 coach Paul Holmes. "I really respect them because they've been built up from nothing."
Both were also missing key pieces due to the National Collegiate All Star Championships in Glendale, Colo.
1823 was without eight players, including stars Luke Markovich, Mike Pelagalli and Pat Rahill. The YoungBloodz were missing just two, but one was Nate Augspurger, the engine that makes the train move at scrumhalf.
The contemporaries were tough on defense and chased each other down to save tries from scoring, and only a conversion separated them at halftim, with the YoungBloodz up 7-5.
In the second half, 1823 settled themselves down and scored two tries to lead 17-7, but YoungBloodz battled back scoring a converted try to make it 17-14, which is how it would end.
Both semifinal matches took place at the same time, and in the other Milwaukee and Metropolis played a hard, physical game that Milwaukee won 22-14.
YoungBloodz and Metropolis moved on to the third-place match, which Metropolis won in a close one.
In the final, Milwaukee and 1823 put their hearts on the line and left everything on the field. Milwaukee was able to score a few tries early in the match, and while 1823 scored one to claw closer, Milwaukee were the fresher team and pulled away 33-7.
With tournament winners getting 6 points, 4 for runners up and 2 and 1 for 3rd and 4th, the Midwest 7s Series Standings are as follows:
1. 1823: 8 points (2nd in Minnesota and Iowa)
2. YoungBloodz: 7 points (4th in Minnesota, 1st in Iowa)
3. Milwaukee: 6 points
4. Tied: Chicago Griffins & Metropolis: 2 points
6. Bremer County: 1 point