By Alex Solomon - April 3, 2017
Photo Credit: Steve Zomberg
LAFAYETTE, Colo. – Life University already owned the rights to the 2017 Mid-South title before getting on a bus for Michigan, but its 45-11 win over Davenport earned the Running Eagles its fourth consecutive undefeated conference season. Elsewhere in the Mid-South, Lindenwood celebrated Senior Night by crushing Clemson, 71-15, at Harlen C. Hunter Stadium.
#2 Life 45 – 11 #12 Davenport
A week after scoring a try in his first career start for the Running Eagles during their win over Lindenwood, freshman flanker Justin Johnson scored the game’s first points with a try in the ninth minute.
A Duncan Van Schalkwyk try converted by Player of the Month Sam Cowley increased Life’s advantage to 14-0 before Davenport managed to chip away at the lead before halftime. Fly half Noah Zomberg converted two penalty kicks late in the opening half to pull the Panthers to within eight points of the conference champions before the halftime whistle.
Jamie Berrisford’s second try of the season increased Life’s lead to 21-6 after Cowley made good on another conversion, but Davenport was able to counter with a Reece Czarnecki score in the 50th minute to keep itself in the game. Unfortunately for the Panthers, the winger’s try would be the last points Davenport could muster.
Harley Wheeler, who has six tries in six Mid-South games, initially punched back by getting over the line. The sophomore wing was soon followed by reserve back Nikey Roberts, before Alexander MacDonald and Zander Van Schalkwyk finished the game with a pair of converted scores in the final two minutes to send the Running Eagles to a 45-11 win.
Lindenwood 71 – 5 Clemson
Senior Lungi Tshuma recorded 12 points before the 20-minute mark and Lindenwood never looked back on its way to a dominant victory against Clemson. The full back first connected on a penalty kick before converting his own try, as well as one by Deion Mikesell. Tshuma added a third conversion before halftime when Lorenzo Thomas took a short ball over the line, and Wesley White added a score to send the Lions into the shed with a commanding 29-0 lead.
Lindenwood’s attack only opened up further in the second half. Included in eight second half tries was a second by Mikesell and two more from White, giving the freshman loose forward a hat trick.
“It was rewarding to see us settle in,” said inside center Mickey Bateman. “Nick Feakes took control of the team and did a good job kicking us around the field. Our set piece gave us a clean platform and we were happy to lay down some attack.”
After playing three consecutive home games, the Lions will travel to Davenport next week in what will be the final Mid-South game of the 2017 season.
“We’re excited to finish this regular season strong and prepare for a playoff fun,” said first-year Lindenwood Head Coach Josh Macy. “It’s been a wild season and we’re in a great spot. The guys are enjoying each other and enjoying their rugby.”