The top eight teams are decided in the men’s collegiate 7s championships after Saturday’s action in Greensboro, NC produced some drama.
Davenport shocked Central Washington with an impressive defensive front and with Nicholaus Glocke making some key plays, including the opening try.
Central could not find any way through the Panther Defense until late in the second half, when Jacob Bates raced in.
But even though the Wildcats adjusted the focus of their attack, they couldn’t avoid the Davenport tacklers or their own mistakes, and Davenport won the game, and Pool D, 10-7.
The game ended on a bizarre note. Davenport knew time was up and kicked the ball out. But it didn’t go into touch and Central got one more shot to score and win … but they knocked the ball on in the tackle.
The loss was a tough one for Central, but they ended the day with a +73 point differential, good enough to secure them a place in the quarterfinals.
That was just a taste of things to come. Dartmouth suffered through some tackling missteps, and were under all sorts of pressure from Cal Poly, especially from Max Tacket. Tacket scored two tries and Nate Nunno added one for a 17-5 Cal Poly lead.
But Dartmouth inserted Kevin Clark, and Madison Hughes, who had been one of those to miss tackles, turned it on. First Hughes made a break and set up speedy John Abraham for a try. Then Hughes just burned his opposite to go in at the corner to tie the game 17-17. Then, with time up, the two teams turned the ball over repeatedly until Hughes once again shot through a gap and weaved his way in to score a brilliant, and game-winning, try - 22-17.
And then even more drama. Lindenwood took control of their match against Air Force when Andrew Quinlivan danced his way over in the first minute. Kolton Nelson capped off a long period of attack for Lindenwood, and then Morgan Findlay scored to put Lindenwood ahead 17-0.
But Air Force replied. Huston Harrison broke free for a long range try, and then, after concerted pressure from Air Force, Lindenwood found themselves on the business end of two yellow cards. Still it was tough sledding for Air Force to score. But they did, and then did again with time up – the last with Joseph Rippe capping off a long break wherein Jack Bristol featured prominently.
Rippe could potentially have pulled out to try to score under the posts to tie make the conversion easier for the tie, but he went for the try with the hopes the kick would go over. The conversion attempt was short, and Lindenwood won 17-15 to take Pool C. But with that try, Air Force passed Cal Poly for 2nd-best points difference among the 2nd-place teams. That may have been enough, then, to get them into the quarterfinals.
All that remained was Life v. Navy, where Navy needed a big win to make the quarters.
But Harley Davidson, the Idaho native profiled in RUGBY Magazine, burned Navy early and was a constant threat to score every time he touched the ball. Life ran away with it, and Air Force thus finished 8th.
The Top Eight to play for the Cup are (in order):
1 Arkansas State
3 St. Mary’s
7 Central Washington
8 Air Force