AIR FORCE PREVIEW: WILDCATS TAKE ON WEST CHAMPS IN LAS VEGAS

 

#15 Arizona vs #18 Air Force

Saturday March 4

Las Vegas, NV

Silverbowl Park- Sam Boyd Stadium Complex- Field #16

10:00 AM

 

 

 

 

Shane Dempsey looks to help the Wildcat to their second straight victory at the Las Vegas Invitational.

March 1- Arizona has named the team that will travel to Las Vegas this weekend as the Wildcats take on Air Force in a neutral site match with playoff implications. The 15th-ranked Wildcats are led by Captain Kyle Rogers at Flyhalf with Lock Sean Coleman as Vice Captain, with the duo coming off a gritty 35-25 victory over Arizona State last weekend.

 

In the front row, Steven Branham, Jake Hedge, and Kurt Vecchio get the starting nod while Coleman pairs with standout Freshman Bronson Teles in the second row. Zach Heisterkamp slides to Openside Flanker in place of the injured Ryan Fitzpatrick, elevating Sam Peri who joins with Tyler Hansen in the back row.


Rogers is joined in the halfbacks by his brother Matt, who comes off a strong performance in last week's victory. The centers from last week also remain unchanged, as Shane Dempsey pairs with Luke Thayer, giving the Wildcats a mix of experience and youth in the centers that worked well last week. On the edge, Dante Weeks returns to the starting lineup and pairs with Ben Joseph while Kalanie Aholelei makes his first side debut at Fullback. "I have a great feeling about this backline" said Head Coach Sean Duffy "from our starters to our impact reserves to the guys we get back from injury soon, they're really starting to click and work well off each other."

 

On the bench, a number of players are ready if called upon, led by Hooker Zach Biggs, Prop Karl Steffany, and Prop Cody Hunt in the front row. Ben Scoular and Bryce Mantell provide cover in the back row, while Lucas Bartzis, Ryan Hudson, and Jack San Pietro ready to go in the backline.

 

The match against the Zoomies and the Wildcats is the first since 2014, when an unranked Arizona side took down #11 Air Force in Tucson. This weekend's match features important ramifications, with the West conference champions assured of a playoff berth and the Wildcats battling to be the PAC Conference rep in next month's playoffs. Last year in Las Vegas the Wildcats defeated Colorado 56-12, but expect a stiffer challenge from that conference's champions.

 

Arizona Second XV also travels to Las Vegas this weekend, where they will put their undefeated record on the line against Air Force Junior Varsity. 

 

 

Air Force Lineup (click for bio)

1. Steven Branham

2. Jake Hedge

3. Kurt Vecchio

4. Sean Coleman

5. Bronson Teles

6. Sam Peri

7. Zach Heisterkamp

8. Tyler Hansen

9. Matt Rogers

10. Kyle Rogers (C)

11. Ben Joseph

12. Shane Dempsey

13. Luke Thayer

14. Dante Weeks

15. Kalanie Aholelei

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16. Zach Biggs

17. Karl Steffany

18. Cody Hunt

19. Ben Scoular

20. Bryce Mantell

21. Lucas Bartzis

22. Ryan Hudson

23. Jack San Pietro

 

 

 

 

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