With two weeks left in the spring season before the Northern California DI Men’s Club Playoffs start on April 16th in Vallejo, Calif., the top two seeds in the South have all been sewn up with the North yet to be decided. Life West and the EPA Razorbacks lead the South division and Santa Rosa is at the top of the North.
The remaining spot in the North will be decided between San Francisco-Golden Gate and the Sacramento Lions, who share the same record. The Lions have one more standing point than SFGG, so the last two weeks will be critical for each team’s playoff future.
Life West at Santa Rosa
In a battle of the division leaders, Santa Rosa hosted Life West at For Pete’s Sake Field in Santa Rosa, Calif. After being held to 14 points last week, Life West returned to its high-scoring ways by scoring nine tries in route to a 64-27 Gladiator victory.
“For the first quarter of the game, both teams were going at it,” Life West head coach Adriaan Ferris said. “[Santa Rosa] is a formidable side, so there wasn’t much scoring in the first 20 minutes. We were laying the foundation for what would become a high-scoring game. From there, certainly our forward pack answered the challenge the coaching staff laid on them this week. We felt that we underperformed last week. We were looking to put a performance out that we could be proud of and we’re pretty happy today.”
The Gladiators received a hat trick from Junior Helu and two tries each from Setefano Latu and Tevita Tonga. Fancy Namulauulu, Charlie Brennan, and Craig Nell also got in on the act with tries and Latu and Nell combined for seven conversions.
For Santa Rosa, prop Justin Stine’s penalty kick were the first points of the match and were awarded a penalty try late in the half. Eightman Willie Tamaibeka had two tries in the second half and flanker Ratu Bevu scored one more for Rosa.
With both teams needing wins to preserve their playoff spots, the EPA Razorbacks relied on their defense to bring the win home against SFGG, 31-13. EPA rebounded from its tie last week and stopped the four game winning streak of SFGG with the victory.
“In the beginning, they matched our forwards pretty good,” EPA captain Siupeli Sakalia. “We finally put our game structure in at the end of the first half and into the second half. We played great defense. They scored one time off a missed tackle, but other than that, it was great defense on our side to keep them out of the endzone.”
Pau Maile, Vake Sanft, Matangi Tonga, Tomi Sau, and Ronald Dwyer each scored the Razorbacks and Sau added three conversions. SFGG’s Tai Enosa scored his team’s lone try and fullback Max Heath connected on two penalty kicks and a conversion.
SFGG captain Jack Webb reacted to the loss by saying, “We got a little disconnected. All the progress we had made in the last couple of weeks of performing as a unit and transition ball from the forwards to the backs became unraveled this week. We didn’t play our best ball.”
Fresno at the Sacramento Lions
After enduring a four game losing streak, the Sacramento Lions got back on track with a 52-10 win over Fresno. The Lions play their cross-town rivals, Sacramento Blackhawks, next Saturday and finish with Santa Rosa in two weeks.
“It was a big improvement from last week,” Sacramento head coach Isereimi Tawake said. “We have a lot of young guys that are new to the team and they are blending well. From the three games that we lost to last week, they have improved and today was another level up. The boys stuck to the gameplan that I gave them. We know that we good with ball in hand and a lot of continuity in the game today.”
Eddie Matakibau (2), Sione Tanoa, Sitiveni Vatuvoka, Nemani Volavola, Timoci Mule and Viliama Finau each scored for the Lions and Finau, Samuel Buitu, and Peni Baleisuva combined for six conversions. Avery Horn and Travis Jury had one try apiece for Fresno.
San Jose Seahawks at the Sacramento Blackhawks
The Sacramento Blackhawks picked up their first win in DI last week and then doubled down this past Saturday beating the San Jose Seahawks, 36-30. “It was our second win in DI and it was a good reward to come from behind and get the win,” Sacramento head coach Ben Parker stated. “It was very pleasing and showed a lot of character to make their home fans very happy.”
The Blackhawks were up 21-6 at the half and then San Jose came back to go ahead, 30-28, in the second half. Sacramento’s Josh Toy kicked a penalty to retake the lead and Erick Jarquin extended the advantage to 36-30 and, ultimately, the win.
John Latu (2), Robert Carter, and Rich Knight also scored for Sacramento, but it was Josh Toy, with four conversions and one penalty kick, who earned the game ball. “Toy controlled the game really well,” Parker remarked. “His distribution was outstanding and in his decision making, he recognized fast break opportunities to break from deep in the first half.