College Pretenders: 12-26 :Alumni Avengers
The Alumni Field Report
This past weekend will live in Guilford Rugby infamy forever, or at least until next fall. In an epic rainsoaked rumble that deserved the signature of Tolkien himself, a large compliment of graduated (and not-so graduated) alumni brawlers laid waste to a young and petulant clan of footy wanna-bes. Captained by the treacherous Matt Baker of Richmond Lions duty, the larger and more experienced maroon-and-blacks flexed their numerous degrees and laid down a cold, harsh welcome to the rigors of real-world rugby.
Though Guilford plays an effective, fast-paced game that will likely demolish their collegiate foes this year, the Alumni team had planned for chaos and ball-dropping. The addition of a steady rain and a wet paddock greatly enhanced only one of those strategies, and no points for guessing whose. That said, Alumni first-five Tito Kohout's hands (on loan from Austin Huns) were impeccable on the day and he dropped nary a pass that was noticed in 100 minutes of rugby. His starting second-five Chris Pugliese was as impressive, dotting down a try and showcasing the linebreaking talent that earned him a bullshit under-the-table degree in jungle pseudoscience from Blockbuster University. Chrissy was later hailed as the backs' man-of-the-match by the college side in the postgame BBQ of Warriors at the community center. He has yet to pay his dues. Or tuition.
Referee George Huber was once more risen from the grave to lend his services to these Elysian Fields festivities. Huber's reffing style is best described as whimsical and hazardous to all players under his whistle, but his two blind eyes and lack of fitness also go well toward fantastic flow of the game. Indeed, each team was equally maligned by his calls, which is perhaps the highest compliment that can be given to any referee. With a crack in the clouds after the match, a ray of sunlight disintegrated and banished his hated form back into the shadows, and thankful gifts of whiskey were placed by his tomb.
Sporting a hefty 300lb advantage in the packdown, the grizzled alumni forwards employed a smart strategy of lockout-and-lean (and punch) that made sure they only lost about 85% of the scrummages on the day. The plan was to collapse 100% of them, so to find the ball popping out favorably on occasion was an added bonus. Jeff Frisby and Joe Rumly made trouble up front for astoundingly long periods of time, given that their undying endurance on match day could only have come from pent-up hatred for rugby and humans in general, and not from fitness. Captain Baker at number 6 and a simply evil Drew Gottlieb (Triad Rugby) in the 7 shirt were able to slow enough ball and conceal enough penalties at the breakdown to force Abel Montes and the Innocent Children into a non-compete agreement. Forwards Kevin Woodcock (Duke Grad Rugby,) Dan Miller (Hussar Sevens,) and Byron Myers (Lizard People,) were present throughout to dish out unwarranted punishment and degrade the health of their joints. Miller propped from the full-squat position to compete for scrum space with world's largest toddler David Watters. Woodcock nearly slotted a penalty from his own half, only missing at the last second because the uprights were built thirty meters to the left of his kick a year ago. Ryan Kitaif fought somebody. Probably Crosby.
Legendary enforcer of many codes of law, Dan "Thunder" Hayden was the proud police pillager of five points on the day as he brutally tazed his way through Andrew Slater and Abel Montes to score a cop try before arresting college prop Randal Aldana in front of his mother. Gabriel Guindon and Cory Williams were everywhere on pitch, and squashed numerous uprisings against their harsh and unfair rule in the outside backs. Morgan Kerr swerved through every lane of traffic for 14 hours on his drive down from Maine to finally crash head-on into the Guilford uprights, throwing himself through the windshield and landing face down on a ball that had been worked into the tryzone, earning himself 5 points and a trip to Moses Cone hospital.
Wing Derek Loehr and fullback Cody Martin combined on several occasions to return counter-attacks and make all the right knock-ons. Their kicks and runs were effective and nullified young 15 Joel Popkin's ability to break through the defense or into local politics. Loehr's shoulder did not come out once, and Cody came out at the social. John "Two-brace" Stephenson left both braces in his kit bag, but did well to prevent attacks down the touchline and acquire attractive bruises before his upcoming wedding. John is wished well, and hopefully he keeps his children away from rugby. Self-proclaimed "Beer Coaches" Max George and Nick Hunter made nonsensical substitutions between irrational complaints, and neither one of the injured duo hurt themselves further while surveying the battle.
Detestable Ben Snyder scored the last meaningful try of the scrap, which went a long way toward redeeming his many failures on the pitch and in life. Kohout converted on three out of four in the wet, sealing the alumni contribution at 26 points. He and Pugliese, Hayden, Guindon, Stephenson, Kerr, Williams, Martin, Loehr, Harry Lorello, and others all put together shows of ball movement in the back line that made no sense given the wet conditions or the relative skill of any member in that combination. Lorello made several forays into action, gaining ground with forty-meter runs and eighty-proof breath. Max Kochinke was uncatchable and ran such a commanding game at halfback that he lost his voice completely. That was preferable, however, to Matt Elverson's lost dignity at #8 due to his now classic "kick from anywhere" strategy. Speaking of #8's with zero dignity, Tyler Cope made a lot of money for those who placed bets that he would make zero passes, but used his head as a battering ram for the unholy goals of his horde.
These nomadic Alums traveled from as far as Nantucket, Texas, and the West Coast just to collectively spite their former teammates and current standard bearers. The annual victory tally now stands at 1-1, with next year's rubber match already anticipated as Guilford Rugby hastily outpaces every season behind it, and every alum grows colder, more wicked, and another year closer to death.
PICTURES COMING SOON