Sunday, November 5, 2017

Central Washington Win College Fall Classic

Photo: Connie Hatfield
Central Washington are the College Fall Classic champions after beating Arizona 15-14 in a tight final.

Despite not being favored in the match Arizona were the first to score in the final. Freshman John Rogers benefited from some great teamwork to dot down and put the team up 7-0. Central Washington did have plenty of possession and it soon paid off with their first try. However, the conversion was off keeping Arizona in front 7-5. Arizona put forth a good defensive effort and made Central Washington work for it but they were simply too disciplined and too skilled to keep of the board. They were in again but the conversion was off for the second time. Still, they led 10-7.

Arizona sent a single at the end of the half that they weren't done. Staying patient they were finally able to break down the Central Washington defense and score under the posts. Thanks to two tries close in they took a 14-10 halftime lead.

Take the jump to read more.
Penalties played a big factor in the match. Central Washington couldn't stay on the right side of the whistle either on offense where they were called for holding on or on the defensive end. It nearly led to an Arizona try if not for a good break. That break even nearly turned into a positive for Central Washington as they turned it the other way only to be put into touch just short. They had another shout just a minute later but were once again called for holding on. Still, it didn't matter as they put in another try from Alex Mackenzie to take a 15-14 lead. Arizona had a few chances to win it at the end but Central Washington was able to hold on for the victory.

Prior to the final there were two matches to determine who would play Central Washington. The first must-win match of the round came with Cal Poly and San Diego State going head to head. A breakaway try put San Diego State up 5-0 early. With about three minutes to go in the half they added to the lead to go up 12-0. San Diego State were strong at taking their chances early on and keeping the ball away from Cal Poly. As the weekend progressed they seemed to get better and making the right decision and then going with purpose. Continuing to score tries built up their confidence and soon they were up 22-0. Cal Poly made a little bit of a comeback in the second half but all of the damage was done in the first and San Diego would stay alive with a 27-10 win.

That meant they played Arizona for a spot in the final. They had to get through San Diego State first. Arizona had the most of the possession in the first half and it turned into a try. They could have had one earlier but in trying to get closer to the posts an Arizona player was held up. It didn't matter as they scored right after. However, San Diego State did find their way back into the game and with Arizona having a player sent to the bin SDSU scored to take a 7-5 halftime lead. They nearly increased that lead in the second half but Arizona did well defensively to steal the ball. A few phases later it was in the other tryzone to put Arizona up 12-7. The Wildcats eventually saw more space open up to add in a couple more tries to finish the game at 24-7.

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