Memphis Tigers vs Ole Miss (away)
Ole Miss campus at Oxford, MS. 1:00pm kickoff
Referee: Brad Cole
Selections: 1. Carter 2. Shipley 3. McCrary 4. Bauer 5. Hickman 6. Hairston 7. Cobb 8. Koleini 9. Hale 10. Campbell (Captain) 11. Lacey 12. Terek Ghawji 13. Walden (Co-Captain) 14. Simren 15. S. Smith
Alternates: Downing, Harris, Fitts, Doyle, A. Smith
The Tigers take the pitch at the opening whistle facing a motivated Ole Miss team ready for revenge of their recent loss in Memphis. However, the day is not kind with the temperature dropping to 39 degrees, the sun gone, the pitch wet and a 15 mph swirling wind that will effect the kicks throughout the day.
The Tigers get behind early. When Ole Miss kicks high and covers, Scott Smith does a great job of fielding the ball and is immediately dropped. Since no support is there, he thankfully holds the ball to accept the penalty under the posts. Very quick thinking on his part. Ole Miss goes up 0-3
Josh standing fly half, uses the boot and swirling wind to his advantage and Old Miss helps by mishandling and knocks. The Tigers use the foot to stay in Ole Miss territory. With the pressure on, Ole Miss gets caught with hands in the ruck at the 15 in front of their posts. Josh calls on Rookie Terik (KK) to drop it in. The wind pushes KK’s kick off of the left post, but thankfully it shanks in for the Tigers to tie 3-3.
Tigers get another break when Ole Miss is caught offside on their 20 meter line. Josh kicks in to take the Tigers up for the first time in the match 6-3.
Both teams make good use of the kick in the difficult field situations. With a long Ole Miss kick moving to the goal line, Josh helps the ball in goal for and expected 22 meter drop. However, the referee sees Josh carry the ball into goal and awards Ole Miss a 5 meter Scrum. (After the party, the referee reviewed the call and stated that Josh was correct in his actions. Since his foot was in goal, he can help a ball moving toward in-goal without penalty.)
The Ole Miss attacks from the scrum and after 5 phases of fierce goal line hitting by both teams, the Ole Miss left winger slips in to make the score 6-8. Thankfully, the swirling wind takes the conversion wide.
With 10 minutes left in the half, the Tigers fight inside the Ole Miss 22 and are awarded a penalty for the Rebels diving over the ball. Captain Campbell surveys the strange angle of the 20 meter kick, looks at the wind and ignores the screams of his coach to kick for points. He chooses to take the Ole Miss forwards head on. He pops a kick to himself, hands the ball to the forwards and “game on”. For 4 minutes and 10 phases of play, the forwards, with help from Doyle and Josh, pound at the goal line gaining and losing ground. Finally, Josiah, finds a crack in the defense and plows under the posts to score for the tigers. Josh chips in the conversion and the tigers feel more comfortable at 13-8.
Feeling good going into the locker room at the half, the tigers are up-beat and optimistic. The first half battle was not without loss, however. The last play left Josiah with a deep thigh bruise that would finally pull him from the match.
The boys know that the first 10 minutes of the second half is critical and the kickoff finds both teams in a tough brawl played between the 22s. Kicking keeps the Tigers out of trouble. Great lineout and scrum play give our backs clean ball to use. However, the Ole Miss backs will not bend and the fight goes on.
With 20 minutes left in the match, Ole Miss finally caught a break when fielding a kick that failed to find touch. They slipped few tackles and their backline went on attack with a 60 meters scamper touched by 10 players to score under the posts. Ole Miss goes up 13-15.
With 10 minutes left in the match, DC breaks three tackles from a ruck at the Ole Miss 40 and makes for the goal line. He is hit at the 20 and forms a maul with his support. The Tigers smell blood and all forwards are in on the play as they drive the maul to the posts. As the maul goes into goal, the ball pops loose and Lee (now playing hooker) fights to dive on the ball. With a conversion from Josh the Tigers are on top again 20-15.
The last 10 minutes of the match was fierce. Ole Miss was very motivated and the scoreboard was screaming that the time was running out and the “visitors” were on top. However, the tigers were able to hold them off for the win.
Man of the match for his excellent play in lineouts, scrums and open field play was Kian Koleini.
Lee Downing was awarded a medal for his contribution to the game with excellent play and ability to contribute at several positions including Wing Forward and Hooker.
Scoring: Joshua Campbell 7 points, Josiah Shipley 5 points, Lee Downing 5 points and Terek Ghawji 3 points
Coaches Comments: The boys played hard and earned this win. They played with incredible intensity and took their job seriously. Besides their hard hitting, I remain very encouraged by the attitude they bring to the game. They encourage each other during the game.
This attitude is in sharp contract to the internal conflict that we have observed while playing other teams. They listen to their captain, and work together as a team…. not focusing on referee calls but concentrating on their personal responsibility for the next play. It is a pleasure watching these players maturing as a formidable team. Coach Cole