WAYNE – Just about 20 minutes after seeing the Wayne State women advance onto the Final Four round, the Wildcat men took on in-state foe Creighton.
Sunday afternoon featured National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) Sweet 16 round action.
After Creighton knocked off Arkansas John Brown Saturday, it was Wayne State’s turn to battle the Bluejays.
The story of the day was that WSC, leading 17-7 at half, played the entire second half one man down due to a red card to hold on for the 36-31 victory.
Founder and coach Darrin Barner explained afterwards in his own words.
“Holy cow, talk about a thriller in manila and a knife fight in a phone booth,” said Barner. “It was right here at the House of Pain in Wayne. Wayne and Creighton for a decade have had games that are just back and forth and down to the wire.”
Just like in the women’s contest, it didn’t take long for the Wildcat men to strike first. Tylor Rowles took off down the sideline and was tackled high and earned the penalty try. Following the conversion kick, WSC led 7-0.
A few minutes later Creighton got on the board before Wayne State College closed out the half with scores from Austin Stride and again by Rowles.
With the ‘Cats leading 17-7, just before half Wyatt Olcott received a red card as the Wayne State men played 14 against 15 for the entire second half.
“It’s not looking very good at the kickoff of the second half,” Barner added. “But, they just hung on and that just boiled down to pride, just flat out pride of what they could do.”
Following a Creighton try seven minutes into the second half, it didn’t seem like the Wildcat men were phased playing one man down. The Wildcats used scores from Austin Urbauer and Joe Eddie on back-to-back try’s.
Creighton then mounted a comeback with a pair of try’s getting as close as three points.
But, Wayne State College sealed the game off when Zach DeJaeghere with about five minutes left. Creighton did add one more score with a minute left, but failed to make the conversion kick.
Final found Wayne State College defeating Creighton, 36-31 to advance onto the Elite 8 round.
Coach Barner talked about how fantastic it was hosting this weekend and with the high school recruits attending both the women’s and men’s contests.
“But, the way that our program is moving, and things are going forward,” Barner mentioned. “It’s great having those incoming calls and people coming 10 hours away to really see this view and our program right here and making the hard decision and the handshake of that commitment of being a Wildcat.”
The Wayne State men will have time to heal for their next 15’s match in the Elite 8 round to see who is crowned the Region 3 (West) men’s champions. WSC will host the winner of the Texas/Oklahoma/Louisiana region on Saturday, March 24, 2018.