By Matt Montalvo
- SUNY Brockport – 20
- SUNY Binghamton – 43
After practicing for 4 weeks straight, the Devils finally began Empire league play on Saturday, September 17th against SUNY Brockport in Brockport. The last time these two teams met up in Brockport, it was a very dark day for Binghamton Rugby (forgot the score but it wasn’t pretty). However, this time around it would the be the Devils delivering the bruising.
The Devils started the first half by bolting out of the gate and punching Brockport in the mouth. Using a combination of pack plays, Brockport was caught completely off guard and was on their heels from the start. With the offensive pressure continuing to keep Brockport disoriented and forcing most of Brockport’s players to converge near the rucks, the Devils spun the ball out wide and it was Fullback James Konicoff (Senior) who broke through the Brockport defense and found the back of the try zone.
With Brockport already starting to succumb to fatigue, the Devils began to aggressively attack the game line. From 40 meters out Flanker Andrew Nenos (Senior) was able to shed several tackles and give the Brockport End Wing a shoulder check before touching the ball down in the try zone.
As the half progressed, the forwards began widening their runs and attacking the Brockport backs for several phases. After roughing up the Brockport backs, the Devils were able to let their wings go wild on an exhausted Brockport team.
Around the 25th minute, the Devils had a scrum on their 40 meter line. While the ball came out of the scrum awkwardly, Flanker Christian Randell (Sophomore Rookie) was able to pick it up and offload it to Fly-Half Spencer Mendelson (Senior). From there the Wing broke the Brockport line and scored on a 60 meter sprint, a combination of beautiful passes, which finally ended with Inside Center Dan Smith (Sophomore) putting the ball down for the Devils.
While Brockport was able to to kick twice for points bringing the score 15-6, the Devils responded by scoring two tries of their own. One try was scored by End Wing Max Khalilullah who made a marvelous run down the sideline and was able to out sprint the Brockport team. Prop and on field Captain Garrett Adams (Senior) gave Max a spectacular offload after having several defenders commit to tackling him. Garrett played the entire 80 minutes in a variety of positions and won Man of the Match for his remarkable performance throughout the course of the game.
The final score of the half occurred in extra time, with the Devils about 10 meters away from the Brockport try line, off a red ball Lock Evan Haber (Senior) was able to bowl over and then drag several Brockport players in his march to the try line.
Unfortunately, Brockport came out hard the second half and were able to score a quick try before the Devils locked up their defense. Although the Devils were still up 29-13 it was clear that Brockport was going to try and salvage whatever they could from this match. And while they fought valiantly for 10 minutes, the Devils nailed the coffin shut with two consecutive trys. One was from Captain Garrett Adams receiving an pop pass from Spencer Mendelson. The second try was scored by Lock Chris DeRise (Sophomore).
With the game in hand, the Devils began utilizing their subs and while Brockport was able to score one try around the 70 minute mark. The rest of the game was lights out defense. It was great to see all 6 subs come in and play great ball. Really adds testament to how much depth the Devils have.
The final score was 43-20, Outside Center Ryan Garrigan made several kick conversions but as to which ones I cannot remember. Side note: Hooker Sam Ahmed (Senior) played like a possessed man, making countless tackles and runs and was also nominated for Man of the Match but lost out to Garrett Adams.
Thank you alumni for the support thus far! The effort and time put in by the Alumni has really transformed the Devils over the past 4 years Although this was a great win for the program, everyone on the team knows that the Devils can preform at a much higher level. There are many areas the Devils need to improve on for this upcoming game against Syracuse. The game is set to kickoff at 1pm on Saturday, September 24th. Hope to see as many Devil Lords there as possible!