By Curran Daly
On a wet and windy March 4, the Humboldt State Men’s Rugby team defeated Sonoma State 24-17.
From the beginning of the game, Humboldt State was pressing Sonoma. For much of the first half it looked like the Lumberjacks would score the first points of the game. However, a number of defensive stands by Sonoma at their own try zone, rugby’s end zone, kept the game deadlocked at zeros.
Sonoma’s biggest stand came with seven minutes left in the first half. Soon after, Sonoma was able to break through the Lumberjack line to score the opening try. After a successful conversion Sonoma led 7-0. Justin Herrera, a senior in the lock position, admitted that getting scored on was a bit of a shock to the Lumberjacks.
“We were kinda a little bit lost at first, we got scored on, then we focused up and got it together,” Herrera said.
Humboldt came right back and was pushing deep into Sonoma’s end, but were unable to score. The half ended with Sonoma leading 7-0.
As halftime the weather began to turn. What had been a drizzle in the first half, turned into a full on onslaught of rain. According to Ricky Gomero, a junior scrum half, the shift in the weather caused the Lumberjacks to shift their approach to the game.
“It started to rain, we know our game has to be a lot different,” Gomero said. “After the first half, we started seeing our guys focusing down, nailing it, and running like good rugby players.”
The Lumberjacks came out fast in the second half scoring a try after only three minutes of play. A missed conversion left Sonoma in the lead 7-5.
The game was back and forth, until Humboldt scored again 10 minutes later to take a 10-7 lead. Then, Sonoma scored and missed the conversion to lead 12-10 with 20 minutes remaining.
The Lumberjacks kept pushing, but could not find a way to put points on the board. At one point the Jacks celebrated a try only to have it called off by the ref. With five and a half minutes remaining the Lumberjacks would not be denied anymore. Freshman winger Cameron Arnold, picked up the ball off of a Sonoma kick and ran through the line to give the Jacks a 15-12 lead. After a successful conversion the Jacks lead 17-12.
“The turning point of the game was when Cameron scored a try, because that just really put us over,” Herrera said. “He ran it all the way back from the 22, that was the uplifting point, we were like ya we can do this and we had it on lock down.”
Arnold’s go ahead try was his first try for the rugby team.
“It was a great feeling, scoring my first try for the team,” Arnold said. “It got the team pumped up.”
Humboldt went on to score another try pushing the score to 24-12. Sonoma scored on what was the last play of the game and the game finished 24-17.