By Maxx Steinmetz
For the first time in two years the Rutland Roosters rugby football club made the two and a half hour trip to play Saranac Lake’s Mountaineers for the home team’s season opener. The shorthanded Roosters had to borrow some Saranac players as well as players from nearby Paul Smith’s college.
Due to having such a mixed side there were many players who ended up playing in positions that they rarely or have never played before in their career —most notably the position of second row, often called “the engine room” by the forwards for their role come scrum down time.
With the motley squad ready, the Roosters kicked off to start the match. For the duration of the first half, Rutland was able to go toe-to-toe in the set pieces (scrums and line-outs), although the Mountaineers were able to capitalize on breakaways and scored two tries, scored by Kevin Morgan and Kenji Jones. Both were converted by Forrest Morgan, allowing them to go into halftime with a 14-0 lead.
The Mountaineers kicked off to Rutland to start the second half, and after an aggressive rumbling drive up the middle of the pitch, Rutland’s Matt Manjuck was able to dive through a gap just left of the uprights to score Rutland’s first try of the day.
The remainder of the second half was a battle much akin to the first half, with the Mountaineers’ Kevin Morgan and Bob Schmidt both scoring tries (only one of which was converted) to bring the score to 26-5.
Another Rutland drive up the pitch later in the half found the Roosters in the shadow of the uprights once again. This time, Maxx Steinmetz was able to take advantage of an overloaded Mountaineer defense, diving for the try line to score Rutland’s second try.
The remainder of the game saw Rutland hold back any further Mountaineer attack as the final whistle blew with the score standing at 26-10 in favor of the home team.
Next week, the Roosters travel to Keene, N.H., to play the Monadnock Wolfpack.