Memphis, TN November 16, 2013 – The Tigers hosted the Alabama Crimson Tide Saturday, November 16 and won the contest 49-40. We were beaten by Alabama in my first season when we traveled to their house. The team and I had been waiting for a chance to even the score. This was our weekend to be the victor.
As the Tiger program develops, the style of play advances as well. The players are able to handle more sophisticated strategies for the offense and defense. We have been dabbling with the bringing six attackers on offense, the use of blockers in the backline and with the use of power pods of forwards directed by the scrum half. Alabama would be our first test to see how our implementation was going.
Come game day, we were looking forward to a strong contest at home for our fans. Our supporters were not disappointed. The test was tough and with lots of scoring on both sides. While the match was fun to watch, it was nerve wracking to coach. Moments of brilliance by the Tigers was punctuated by some really bone headed plays and defensive lapses.
The Tigers took the kickoff, formed a maul, controlled three rucks, worked the ball through the hands of 8 players and Phil Elliott dotted the ball in the southwest corner. The play took a minute and a half. Alabama looked stunned. The Tigers were pumped.
The hours of practice have worked. We have a solid offense.
Here is one bonehead play that I was referring to. Following a kickoff, that no-one wanted to touch, the ball rolled to our 5 meter where it was picked up for a quick throw. Our backs were ready for the quick throw, but so was Alabama’s big fast smart number 8. He took the ball at the five and crashed over the try line. (The names will remain anonymous, until the end of the year roast where these players will be BBQ’d. Ha!)
Three minutes later, Thomas Strickland scored down the north touchline. Again in three more minutes, August Myers took a dangerous shot to the head at the try line and was awarded a penalty try. JC Russell curled in a conversion from a tough angle. JC is becoming a kicker we can count on.
Alabama scored on a 5 meter penalty dished off to their big fast number 8 who ran over Jonathan Brewi while the forwards watched. (That will never happen again. I have a commitment from the forwards.)
Jonathan Bauer scores two tries and Phil converts to bring the halftime score to 33 – 12.
This year we have a lot of new players and we let them get some playing time in
development. So, in the second half, the scoring slowed down as the error rate increased, but we still maintained our offensive dominance. Thomas Strickland scored again as well as Donavon Thomas. JC and Brewi took the conversions. (I believe I missed a few, I need to review the tape.) The Alabama # 8 scored a few two more times. Final score, 49-40.
All in all it was a good effort and demonstrated steady progress by this team in their development. The win over Alabama just felt good and avenging the loss was just right. At the social several Alabama players commented on the maturity of our program. 30 players suited up for the match, we gave Alabama a hard run and treated them to a first class social at Ubee’s where we served burgers, fries and Gatorade The lads mingled with the opposition while we watched the match on the TV. Memphis is doing it right.
Adam consulted the team and it was determined that the Man of the Match was Jonathan Bauer. He is one tough forward. Best back was Donavan Thomas, tough as nails runner and defensively solid. Good job lads.
Photos by Pam Brewi
Referee James Wilson