The Tempe Old Devils have been no stranger to the DII national championship match having made the final two years ago and then falling in the semi-finals last year. That experience paid off big time as they used an early surge to overwhelm the Detroit Tradesmen 54-21 at Infinity Park. Tempe played a solid match from start to finish and got key contributions from a number of players, including scrumhalf Alex Taefu, fly-half Iopu Sanonu, and wing Maceo Brown. In particular Brown showed a lot of skill and speed in the game and should be a player to watch in the future.
Detroit would eventually find their rhythm late in the match but by then it was too late as Tempe had gone on an early tear to put the game out of reach shortly after it had started. It began with big prop Kakalia Pule scoring a try after several phases of pick and go. Then it was Brown who collected a long kick and went untouched for the score. Just like that Tempe were up 12-0 with not much time on the clock.
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One of the big problems for Detroit early on was the number of penalties they gave away. Those proved to be costly as they gave Tempe time and territory with the ball. Soon Tempe were over again, this time through Rick Darrow, to take a 19-0 lead. Detroit did have some opportunities but the Old Devil defense stayed strong.
Taefu would be the next to score. It looked like the Tradesmen would finally get a try of their own but the breakaway player spilled the ball. Taefu then scooped it up and ran the other way to push the lead to 24-0 at halftime.
Detroit made a positive start to the second half but they couldn't convert. On the opposite end of the field it looked like they had stopped Tempe from scoring but the clearance kick wasn't a good one and Brown sliced through the defense for his second try. Taefu would add a couple of penalties and Kueli Danielson would have a try to make it 42-0 with 52 minutes played.
It got worse for Detroit when they had a man sent to the bin and soon afterward Lavi Taumoepeau scored to get close to the 50 point mark. The Tradesmen eventually got the on the board when energetic substitute Ismail Bazzi scored and converted his own try. Tempe struck right back through Mike Pettes but Kevin Kregar and Conrad Bontrager finished off the match with efforts for Detroit.
The Fairfield Yankees are the DIII champions after beating the Euless Texans 41-33. The Yankees ran out to a 10-0 lead early with a try from Matthew Leonard. Brendan Pahulu rebounded with a try for the Texans but then a penalty try and Karl Rempe pushed the lead to 24-5. The Texans scored one more try to make it 27-12 at halftime.
As dominant as the Yankees were in the first half the Texans were nearly as strong in the second half. The Yankees did score first through James Perkins and got another from Rempe but tries from Euless at the end of the match brought the score a respectable eight point margin.