By Matt Montalvo
- St. Bonaventure – 28
- SUNY Binghamton – 25
Ever since their 36-20 loss on October 8th the Devils have been dying for the rematch with St. Bonaventure. While the game was moved to St. Bonaventure’s B-field, it was the perfect atmosphere for these two powerhouses to clash for Division 1 supremacy.
The first half started with the Devils receiving the opening kickoff and after several hard pack runs the ultimatum was sent that the Devils meant business. About 5 minutes in, the Devils committed a penalty around their 40 meter line and the St. Bonaventure fly half was able to convert the penalty kick to make the game 3-0.
The Devils were quick to regain momentum in the ensuing kickoff thanks to a monstrous strip by Senior Lock Evan Haber in addition to hard pack crash plays by Senior Flanker Andrew Nenos and Senior Hooker Sam Ahmed. Eventually, the St. Bonaventure defense began to bend and finally broke when Haber trucked over a Bonaventure player and provided a quick off load to Senior Wing Matt Montalvo who darted his way into the try zone. Senior Outside Center Ryan Garrigan was battling ankle injuries throughout the game was unable to convert the kick making the score 5-3.
As the game progressed, St. Bonaventure began to drift away from their wing plays and focused more on forward pick and goes. In response the Devils defense dug in deep and repelled the Bonaventure assault multiple times. Ultimately the Devils were able to get their hands on the ball and march their way down into Bonaventure territory. Once again after forcing the St. Bonaventure defense to converge on the hard running pack balls, the Devils were eventually able to spin the ball out and it was Sophomore Lock Chris DeRise who was able to break the game line and score the second try of the day for the Devils. St. Bonaventure was quick to respond with a try of their own to help close the gap to 10-8 Devils.
Right before the half came to an end, the Devils committed a foolish penalty in their half of the field and Bonaventure was once again able to capitalize with a penalty kick giving them the lead. Refusing the accept another loss to St. Bonaventure, the Devils started the half like a revitalized team which caught St. Bonaventure off guard and soon back peddling.
About 10 minutes into the second half, a Devils knock on resulted in a scrumdown in St. Bonaventure territory. Immediately after the ball was fed in, the Devil forwards were able to wheel the scrum which made it incredibly difficult for the Bonaventure scrumhalf to collect the ball. The instant the defenseless scrumhalf managed to get some kind of possession, Senior Eight Man Nick Palazzolo and Nenos brought him to the ground and quickly poached the ball allowing Senior Scrum half Marc Ardito quick access to the ball. Ardito then tossed the ball to Senior Fly Half Spencer Mendelson who gained 10 meters on a run before being brought down. With Bonaventure still struggling to comprehend what was going on, the Devils executed a perfect red wing with Haber feeding the ball to fellow Lock Derise who hit the jets and score his second try of the day. Unfortunately the conversion was missed (Devils Rugby for you) but still resulted in the Devils being up 15-11.
With the smell of blood in the water, the Devils continued to pound at the St. Bonaventure defense. Only now they found holes in the Bonaventure defense instead of Bonnie players. Senior Inside Center Nick Espositio broke the Bonaventure line for a 30 meter gain before brining brought down around the Bonaventure 22. Thanks to quick rucking, Ardito once again had access to quick ball and the Devils were able to utilize the red wing play again which brought the ball down to the St. Bonaventure 5 meter line. From there Senior Full Back and Co-Captain James Konicoff was able to shake several St. Bonaventure players and soar into the try zone for his first score of the day and second of the season. The conversation was once again missed but the Devils were now beginning to pull away from St. Bonaventure, 20-11.
At this point St. Bonaventure began to wake up and once again got their forward game going. While the Devils were able to subdue the St. Bonaventure pick and goes, a quick tap 5 meters away that finally ended the St. Bonaventure scoring drought. The kick was converted but the Devils remained in the lead 20-18. S
Several minutes later after some tough defense, a St. Bonaventure forward was finally able to break the game line and before being brought down was able to offload the ball to a fellow player which resulted in another St. Bonaventure try. St. Bonaventure missed the conversion bringing the score to 20-23 Bonaventure.
In the final 10 minutes St. Bonaventure was able to score another try bringing the score to 20-28 and slowly out of reach for Binghamton. In the final seconds of the game, the Devils were able to get on the board from a try by Matt Montalvo who had received the pass from Haber. Although the try was not enough to win the game, it was enough to give the Devils a bonus point and bring them one step closer to locking up a postseason spot.
While the loss was tough to swallow, the Devils would need to get over it and prepare for their game on Sunday versus a a dangerous SUNY Buffalo team in Buffalo.
Some players who may have not been in the spotlight but left everything on the line for the Devils during the test were Senior Prop and Captain Garrett Adams, Sophomore Prop Ben Stang, Sophomore Flanker Christian Randell, and Junior End Wing Max Khalilullah. MVP: Evan Haber. The entire St. Bonaventure game film is just a highlight reel of him killing little boys.