Adam Wilson helped steer another strong attacking performance for the Wildcats.
Oct 17- Arizona Second XV concluded their preseason on Friday night, welcoming Northern Arizona University to Tucson. The Wildcats, fresh off comprehensive victories over Arizona State and Grand Canyon University, looked to secure some preseason bragging rights in the state, but met a stiff test against the first side from the Flagstaff. Bringing early defensive pressure on the visitors, turnover ball led to a try from Lucas Bartzis, the first of two for the Freshman center from Illinois. An NAU try was responded to well, with the Wildcats adding a penalty from Adam Wilson before the Flyhalf's up and under try to end the half gave Arizona their first lead.
The 15-10 lead at half was the closest margin the Wildcats have faced this Fall, and neccessary adjustments were made, including getting the ball in to the hands of some of their exciting young backs. The strategy worked, as the Wildcats exploded for 29 points, all from their backline. Brandon Strong got the second half scoring underway with a headsup play on a missed touch finder, and Marek Easton continued his strong preseason with a long try of his own. This set the stage for some excellent play from Fullback Nick Fadelli, as the Arizona Football crossover touched down twice in the final five minutes to put the game out of reach and secure the 44-17 victory.
There were a number of strong efforts in the game, with Bartzis and Fadelli's two tries each definitely noticed by the staff. "Both Lucas and Nick have had strong preseasons. They've been great finds and given their ages they are both nice pieces for the future" said Duffy. The staff also highlighted the unsung heroes in the game, particularly Flanker Zach Heisterkamp and Wing Mikey Joseph, who turned in strong performances. "Zach was all over the place, these last two weeks he's been dominant over the ball and in the defensive trenches, and Mikey running a great line to set up Nick's try was a nice ending to a strong game from him" said Duffy.
The Wildcats' win took place in front of a large crowd, with 2016 Family Weekend at the university setting the stage. Arizona's second side concludes a 3-0 preseason where they outscored opponents 157-31, and now turns it's attention to the 2nd Annual Red-Blue Game November 18th to close out the Fall.
Tries: 7- Bartzis (2), Fadelli (2), Wilson, Strong, Easton
Coversions: Wilson- 3/5, Easton- 0/2
Penalties: Wilson- 1/2