UNM RECAP: FRESHMEN IMPACT IN OPENER
Arizona Second XV 51
New Mexico 15
Jon Rogers scored four tries in the opener to help the Wildcats to 1-0 in the preseason. (Photo Credit: Kimberly Wainwright)
September 11- Arizona formally commenced their preseason schedule on Saturday as their Second XV traveled to Albuquerque to take on New Mexico. The side was led by a new duo, with Assistant Coach Patrick Coco taking the lead and Number Eight Doug Neary temporarily skippering the side in the opener.
The young team was understandably excited for the opener, as 13 players in the 24-man group were making their debuts as Wildcats. Those nerves were quickly overcome, however, by Wing Jon Rogers, who took advantage of some well worked attack to score in the second minute. Rogers and the Wildcats' attack got off to a strong start, with the Wing from Granite Bay scoring two more times in the first 20 minutes before a New Mexico try made it 15-5. After a spell of back and forth play, a snappy bit of offloading helped set up Jack Bradfield in the right corner, the first of two on the day for the Fullback from Ohio. A Robert Figley conversion put the Wildcats up 22-5 at halftime.
Luckily for the Wildcats, the second half started just as the first had, with Rogers scoring his fourth try early in the half. The Forwards then started to get in on the scoring, as Lock Steven Benson and Flanker Riley Kerr eached touched down in addition to Bradfield's second score, a Robert Figley penalty, and two conversions by Scrumhalf Koto Fujimura.
In all, the day was a very positive one for the team and the program. "Well worth the trip, UNM were great hosts and we were able to get a ton of guys their first minutes in the jersey which is important" said Head Coach Sean Duffy "kudos to Coaches Coco and Bunnin for their work in prepping the guys, and to the veterans that were in this team today like Doug Neary and Hector Ramirez for showing the young guys the way. Guys like Chris McBride, Steven Benson, Billy Esposito, and Riley Kerr did a ton of work around the field to put us in good spots to put pressure on them." The Freshmen class certainly made their presence felt, with all eight tries scored by members of the 2017 recruiting class, led by Jon Rogers' four scores.
Arizona Second XV now shifts their focus back to training before their next match October 7th against Grand Canyon University. Arizona Third XV kicks off their preseason on Saturday, welcoming Northern Arizona to Tucson.
Tries: J. Rogers (4), Bradfield (2), Benson, Kerr
Conv: Figley- 2/3, Fujimura- 2/2, J. Rogers- 0/3
Pen: Figley- 1/2