On Sunday Oct. 23 the Plattsburgh Cardinals men’s rugby team traveled to Potsdam to take on the Clarkson Golden Knights. Plattsburgh had come off a match against the Middlebury Panthers, where they won by a comfortable margin, 20-5. The teams faced off earlier in the season where the Golden Knights beat the Cardinals. Both teams featured rosters of inexperienced players, and since their last meeting the both teams have been improving, waiting for another opportunity to face each other. That opportunity came this past Sunday on Bagdad field in Potsdam where the Cardinals got their revenge by a score of 55-19.
The Cardinals struck first when winger Nolan Makley took the ball to the outside and out ran the defense for a 45-meter long try. Clarkson would strike back and barrel their way into the try zone taking the lead after scoring the penalty kick. Later in the first half, prop Marc Domery, would be put into the game and would muscle in a try from a meter out giving Plattsburgh the lead 10-7. Domery saw his first action after suffering a head injury earlier in the season.
“ I felt like I never left,” Domery said. “As soon as I got the ball, I knew I was scoring,”
Plattsburgh worked their way back on offense close enough where kicker Kevin Graber was able to notch in the 3-point field goal kick from 15 meters out, giving Plattsburgh the lead 13-7 with time ticking down in the first half. Clarkson was not not finished as they were able to strike back quickly to reclaim the lead at the end of the first half 14-13.
Scrum half Tyler Callahan felt the athleticism of the team and their ability to get to the ball quicker than the other team was going to be something that would play in Plattsburgh’s favor in the second half.
“The strategy was to take advantage of being the team in better shape. “Getting the ball out fast to the backfield and working on both phases of the ball,” Callahan said.
That proved to be the winning strategy for the team. Just as the first half began, the second half began, with another long Nolan Makley try for Plattsburgh to score his second of the game to take the lead 20-14.
“We knew we wanted to beat Clarkson because we heard they were disrespecting us and calling our team a joke,” Makley said. “Scoring my trys felt super exciting and it felt good to contribute to beating Clarkson and shutting them up.”
Just like they did before, Clarkson, slowly but surely made their way down the field, punching in a try from close in tightening the gap to a score of 20-19. That would be their last score of the game for Clarkson. Full back Alejandro Sosa would continue to score for Plattsburgh, which would begin their final winning push with a score from 8-man Jack Bernie twice. Outside center Kevin Graber proved not only he could kick, he could also score getting into the mix scoring a try of his own.
The final scoring push in the final 15 minutes of the game proved to be the one that ended Clarkson’s day by a large margin by a score of 55-19. The Cardinals look Oct. 30 where they will travel to St. Lawrence to take on the Saints.