Battleship Match Report - 3-27-10
Written by Ian McNulty   

Battleship Match Report - 3/27/10

NORFC 64 - Battleship 3

Win Gives New Orleans a home Playoff game and Third Consecutive Deep South Championship Crown

The New Orleans Rugby Football Club finished the 2010 regular season in fine form Saturday with a commanding 64-3 victory over the Battleship Rugby Football Club of Mobile. The win, racked up at the home pitch in Gretna, brings the New Orleans record to 6-1 for the season, secures the team's third consecutive Deep South Championship and sets the stage for a showing in the USA Rugby playoffs beginning next month.

"My congratulations to the team for another great regular season run and for another Deep South championship," says New Orleans head coach Jerry Malina. "The team put in a lot of hard work to get to this point, but as we prepare for the playoffs we know every step from here on in will get a whole lot harder. Everything we've done, we now have to resolve to do it better and with greater focus."

Saturday's match was the second meeting this season for New Orleans and Battleship, and the home team knew it had to control the game to assure the best start in the coming playoffs. The scoring began just a few minutes into play when wing Casey Mackintosh put the first points up and fullback Andrew Quackenbos converted. Minutes later, in possession again and within Battleship's red zone, the ball flowed down the New Orleans back line to center Joe Palermo, who juked a defender and passed to prop Matt Upton, who put the ball back in Mackintosh's hands for a second try.

Battleship responded by exploiting a good break near the 50 meter line, bringing the visiting team within striking distance of the New Orleans try zone. A penalty against New Orleans set up Battleship's Jeremy Williams for a straight and true kick through the uprights, bringing the score to 12-3.

The next few minutes of play were rotten with penalty calls, but soon enough a New Orleans scrum delivered the ball to center Eric Mackintosh, who made a clean drawing pass to fly half Ross "Screech" Bellaci, who turned on the jets through a gap and scored untouched. Quackenbos put up three more points with a penalty kick, then, on the restart, Bellaci sprinted the ball along the touchline back toward the Battleship red zone. Strong support on this dramatic break ensured the ball made it to lock Jerry Zifodya, who broke several tackles along a 40-meter run into the end zone. Just before the half, the New Orleans pack turned a five-meter scrum into another try as lock Chris Beacher peeled off and shoved the ball into the gut of flanker Rob Hoffman who barreled in for the score, bringing the tally to 34-3 at the whistle.

As the second half began, the ball was stalled behind the New Orleans 22-meter line for an eternity of line-outs and scrums before a long kick by Bellaci sent the tide over to the Battleship side of the pitch. Eric Mackintosh gathered the ball from the kick and offloaded to scrumhalf Joel McLain for the try. "Huugeee Garryowen," prop Sean Malek was heard to bellow at that play.

A penalty soon set up New Orleans for another run at goal, with hooker Jimmy Rehkopf toeing the touchline to score in the corner. Minutes later, Quackenbos followed much the same route to score his own try. A break by wing Brad Guarisco led to a score by flanker Thad David and shortly thereafter Bellaci pulled off a surprise drop goal, adding another three points.

The final score of the day came from a 60-meter break that turned out to be a showcase of combined effort and rolling support. It began when hooker Adam Massey trotted the ball up field with a few fakes before offloading to Bellaci, who accelerated toward the Battleship end zone and set up a lightning quick offload routine. The ball went to center Jeremy Boyce then to fullback Jeff Ahlemeyer then to scrumhalf Tony Breaux then back to Ahlemeyer and finally back to Breaux who scored under the uprights. The whistle ended things at 64-3.

The win brings the team's regular matrix season record to 19-1-1 over the past three seasons. New Orleans will host a South Quarterfinals playoff game on April 10, and will play the second-place finisher from the as-yet-undecided central pool. Stayed tuned for details on rugby playoff action in New Orleans.

Final Score - New Orleans 64 - Battleship 3

New Orleans RFC

1) Matt Upton (c); 2) Jimmy Rehkopf; 3) Sean Malek ; 4) Bogdan Negulescu; 5) Jerry Zifodya; 6) Rob Hoffman; 7) Seth Magden; 8) Chris Beacher; 9) Joel Mclain; 10) Jeff Ahlemeyer; 11) Casey Mackintosh; 12) Eric Mackintosh; 13) Joe Palermo; 14) Andrew Quackenbos; 15) Ross Bellaci; 16) Jason Rich; 17) Tony Breaux; 18) Adam Massey; 19) Timur Alptunaer; 20) Thad David; 21) Gauthier Merlot; 22)
Brad Guarisco; 23) Jeremy Boyce

Tries: C. Mackintosh (2), Bellaci, Zifodya, Hoffman, Mclain, Rehkopf, Quackenbos, David, Breaux

Cons: Quackenbos (4 for 8), Ahleyemer (0 for 1), Bellaci (0 for 1)

Pen: Quackenbos (1 for 1)

Drop Goal: Bellaci (1 for 1)

Copyright © 2010 New Orleans Rugby Football Club. All Rights Reserved.  A busbeepbeep production. Some images by Mark Steve Guillory.