Jack Teller, Contributing Writer
Under the blue Irving sky, with a south wind at their backs, the University of Dallas Hoggies took on LeTourneau University (LU) in the final rugby match of the 2013-2014 season. The game was a battle to the end, but the Hoggies did not disappoint. The team played its best game of the season and seized the victory.
After receiving the kickoff, LU pushed the Hoggies back until senior Kevin Flannery made the biggest hit of the game, taking his opponent clean off his feet. Senior and acting captain David Bible’s perfect kick led to the first try of the day from freshman Peter Krewet off a powerful eight-man pick. Freshman Ed Houser knocked in the conversion kick to put the Hoggies up 7-0.
Taking momentum from Krewet’s try, the Hoggies never looked back, due largely to the lineout connection between Flannery and freshman Nate Swope. An aggressive defensive backfield, led by freshman Jacob Tom, won the ball back and Houser had a perfect kick for touch to set up his twin brother, freshman John Houser, who muscled in the Hoggies’ second try. A strong, forward-oriented offense advanced the ball for the Hoggies, while the backline made countless try-saving tackles. No one hit better than freshman Johnny Wignall, who was later named “Tackler of the Match,” and Ed Houser, who held up two potential LU tries in the try zone. After a huge hit from Wignall, Bible brought the ball in for a try in the last seconds of the half to bring the score to 17-0.
After halftime, LU came out strong, relying on the speed and skill of its backline, which brought the team two immediate tries. A member of the LU team took the ball 60 meters for the go-ahead try to bring the score to 19-17. After a huge hit from sophomore Rob Turner, the Hoggies gave the ball to their forwards, who cleanly moved it up the field only to lose the ball directly on the try-zone line. Flannery, however, stole a lineout to give the Hoggies their chance. Freshman scrumhalf, Titus Willard, snuck the ball in for the first of his two tries to give the lead back to the Hoggies.
After receiving the kickoff, the Hoggies moved the ball back down the field with an offensive drive, featuring power runs by John Houser, Flannery and junior Zach Kraus. A pinpoint-accurate kick by Bible topped off the drive, setting up Willard for the game-winning try in the last seconds of the game. Willard’s two clutch tries, along with his leadership on offense, earned him the title “Man of the Match.” The final score was 27-19.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better way to go out,” said Bible, after taking off the blue and white for the last time as a Hoggie.
When asked for his thoughts on the game, coach Matt Jones said, “We played our most complete game all year and really brought everything we’ve learned this year together.”