Asked if he and his team felt pressure because everyone expects St. Mary’s to be good at 7s, Garrett Brewer said the pressure is mostly self-inflicted.
(See video interview)
Still, it’s there. St. Mary’s succeeds by playing a damn-the-torpedos style where they will run from anywhere. It’s a high risk game where the risk is mitigated by excellent fitness and a solid overall team IQ. That’s in 15s. The attack-from-your-22 approach works nicely in 7s, but St. Mary’s hasn’t put it all together yet. But they’re close.
In a Battle in the Bay tournament where some teams were, admittedly, resting some talent, St. Mary’s nonetheless won, beating a Cal team that featured the likes of Brad Harrington, Jake Anderson, Alec Gletzer, and Russell Webb, to name just four. They then dispatched Central Washington 32-19 to finish things off.
“We played a pretty sloppy game [in the quarterfinal],” said captain Cooper Maloney of his team’s 19-5 defeat of Cal Poly – a team that went on to win the Plate. “We were flat. But overall we’re kind of a looser team than a team like Cal. We have structures, but we have fluidity to our game and we also are having fun when we play. We’re just playing a game out there.”
It’s a game they play quite well. St. Mary’s 7s Coach Tony Samaniego said the players took on the hard work and the game plan with enthusiasm, and married it well with the St. Mary’s way. The Gaels have some star players, but, said Samaniego, it was when the well-known athletes started to share the spotlight that the team really began to sing. Perhaps, then, this is a harbinger of bigger things to come.
“We do the work, and we have our structures, but we have a lot of variables within that structure,” added Maloney. “We can take those variables and just play. When we do that, things go well.”