STEUBENVILLE – The Franciscan rugby team played in front of an energetic homecoming crowd and gave the fans a lot to cheer for as the Ruggers defeated Robert Morris, 24-22, Saturday afternoon.
The Barons struck first as David Prezzia got in for the first try of the game and gave FUS a 5-0 lead. Robert Morris answered, however, and tied the game at 5-5. Junior Matthew Hostutler scored in a great phase from the backs and created the line at an opportune time and was able to touch it down.
Robert Morris answer with a pair of tries and conversion kick to take a 17-10 lead at halftime.
"Every single RMU try was a direct result of a Franciscan mistake," remarked head coach Dan Kramer. "They put up 22 points on us today, but it could have been 0 if we had played cleaner rugby.
RMU scored after a bad restart by the Barons, and one from an unnecessary penalty deep in our own half. Robert Morris got a try from a muffed defensive kick and finally from multiple missed tackles. Each score by RMU was avoidable and we need to make better decisions and execute properly."
The Barons settled down in the second half and played better rugby. Jacob Borden scored on a great phase of good passes and unselfish play before David Hahn scored on an 8-man pick off an attacking 5-man scrum.
"We made a ton of mistakes today and mental miscues," continued Coach Kramer. "We had a lot of opportunities to break the game wide open but were our own worst enemy. Our attack showed glimpses of our potential, but we committed countless knock-ons and poor passes."
Despite the mistakes, the Barons pulled out their fifth win in a row and are at the top of the 3RRC standings going into the final weeks of regular season action.
"We hope to clean up our messy play this week. I told the guys that we are a much better team than what we have demonstrated in our past two matches," remarked Coach Kramer. "The captains and veteran leadership agreed with this and seem determined to change the course. Despite being 5-0, we have a lot of learning to do. We still need to work on coming together as a team and play as one unit instead of 15 individuals."
The Barons have the chance to change the course of play as they welcome Grove City to Memorial Field on Saturday, October 14 at 1pm. The game marks the final regular season home game for the Barons and they will honor their seniors during the game.