NAU RECAP: FLAGSTAFF FORCE HELPS CATS TO WIN
Arizona Third XV 37
Carter Harris (L) and Reed Hirshman (R) played key roles in the Wildcats' win over NAU. (Photo Credit: Kimberly Wainwright)
September 17- Arizona Third XV got their preseason underway with a bang on Saturday night at Rincon Vista Sports Complex, hosting Northern Arizona University in Tucson for their opener.
The Wildcats got momentum early in the scrum which led to territorial advantage and multiple opportunities in the Lumberjacks' 22. They capitalized on this in the first few minutes, as an Arizona maul led to a Chris McBride try, his first of the preseason. Arizona maintained their momentum soon after, as a Jayme Thomas linebreak set up Matt Sanders for the try, his first as a Wildcat after missing his entire Freshman season to injury. It was a special day for the Center from Southern California, with the coaching staff selecting him as captain as a testament to what he's persevered. Following some NAU possession, Arizona got in to their attacking mindset and continued to overpower NAU in the scrum, setting up Kyle Mooney for the try in the right corner before Scrumhalf Tanner Davison dotted down to give the hosts a 20-0 lead. A late NAU linebreak and try made it 20-5 before a Dan Hagan try set up by Davison made it 25-5 at the break.
With the preseason just underway, a number of reserve players entered the fray in the second half, giving the coaches a number of opportunities to view players. Carter Harris and Tanner Davison made up the bulk of the scoring in the second half, with the Flagstaff natives both touching down, the second of the game for Davison. Nick Taylor's conversion ended the Cats' account at 37-10 to give Coach Pat Coco and the Third XV a solid win to start the preseason.
"Thrilled to have a growing rivalry between us and NAU that means we have another collegiate side in the state. Thankful to them for a solid match and looking forward to the return trip" said Head Coach Sean Duffy. "Particularly pleased with the performances of guys like Matt Sanders coming back from injury and Carter Harris who is running good lines and showing a good understanding of the attack pattern." Arizona Third XV now faces an interesting timeline the next two weeks as they have a bye before taking on NAU in Flagstaff in the return match of the series.
Tries: Davison (2), Hagan, Harris McBride, Sanders, Mooney
Conv: Taylor- 1/1, Thomas- 0/6