Tech Falls Short Against Santos Rugby Squad

SOCORRO, N.M. September 21, 2009 -- The Santa Fe Rugby Club overcame a strong challenge from New Mexico Tech in Socorro Saturday to come away with a 28-19 win. The Pygmies held a 12-7 halftime lead before going ahead 19-7 midway through the second half, but Santa Fe found the key to score three converted tries over the final 20 minutes.

New Mexico Tech senior scrumhalf Jay Hererra runs the ball in Saturday's 28-19 loss to Santa Fe. Supporting his effort are (R to L) Royce Beaudry, Max Crowning, and James Fallt (foreground). Photo by Dave Wheelock/New Mexico Tech

The Pygmies (4-2) will travel to Farmington on September 26 for a match with the San Juan Silverbacks.

Under partly cloudy skies on a soft Tech rugby field, the Pygmies drew first blood after 14 hard-hitting minutes. Fullback Isaiah Sanchez fielded a Santa Fe kick and started a running and passing counterattack that saw the ball handled by Jay Herrera, James Fallt, Nick Aldape, and finally center Royce Beaudry, who touched the ball down for a try converted by Herrera. Santa Fe struck back three minutes later when John Bent followed up a charging run by former Tech star Patrick Simons. Cory Micander slotted the conversion kick to draw the teams level at 7-7.

At 27 minutes Tech freshman Enrique Koerdell got over the try line but two tacklers prevented him from grounding the ball to score the try. Three minutes before the close of the first half, Isaiah Sanchez was more successful with a short run after a break through the defense by Herrera. The conversion kick was unsuccessful but Tech went into the 5-minute intermission ahead 12-7.

Fifteen minutes into the second half veteran forward Max Crowning ripped the ball loose in a tackle near the Santo line and freshman prop Jericho Montano came up with it and barged over for a try. Herrera’s kick was good to stretch the lead to 19-7. 

The Pygmies launched numerous attacks throughout the second half. Tech’s lineout throw connection between co-captain Bart Hegarty and a soaring Matt Kretz was much improved from last week’s victory over the Clovis Nomads, and the scrums were solid. But the home team was plagued by loose ball-handling in the tackles and repeatedly turned the ball over. In the final 20 minutes of play it was Santa Fe’s turn to go on the offensive, and the veteran-laden team made better use of their opportunities.

Santa Fe center Elden Pennington turned up in the right place at the right time to record three five-point tries down the home stretch, as gaps began to appear in a tiring Tech defense. Each try was successfully converted by the deadly kicking boot of flyhalf Cory Micander. The lead changed hands at 21-19 after Pennington’s second score, and his last-minute tally came on an intercept when

Tech threw caution to the wind in an attempt to score from near their own line. 

Tech’s Marcus Chavez was selected Man of the Match for his play at both hooker and flanker.

-- NMT --

By Dave Wheelock/Tech Rugby Director