Cal Maritime Can't Slow Down Bears' Youth Movement

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The Cal rugby team's reserves may have been the ones playing, but looking at the scoreboard you wouldn't know it.

Coach Jack Clark started five freshman, nine sophomores and a junior in the Bears' Wednesday night tilt against Cal Maritime in Vallejo, Calif.

At the end of the first half alone, Cal (11-0) hung 50 points on the Keelhaulers (4-1) at Bodnar Field en route to an 85-0 victory.

"Today was a big step forward," freshman Paul Bosco said. "I can't say anyone really had a bad game."

Following outside center Brad Harrington's try in the third minute, the Keelhaulers pushed back some, but the Bears steadfastly grabbed the reigns yet again. Harrington went back-to-back, scoring again in the 14th minute.

Harrington was not the only Bear to find the try zone twice in the first half. Bosco scampered 30 meters for another Bear score in the 19th minute after recovering a loose ball off a lineout. The sophomore's second score came toward the end of the half, giving Cal a 45-0 edge.

Flanker Tyler Colin noted that the team was acutely aware of the challenge Maritime posed last year in Cal's 39-3 victory. Yet again, the game was not as one-sided as the score would indicate, Colin stated.

"We always come out here and expect to play a good, intense game with these guys," he said. "Cal Maritime is by far one of the best opponents (the freshman-sophomore team) gets a chance to play."

Despite playing against what Colin deemed a "bunch of hard-nosed players," the Bears executed with great efficiency. Cal's extreme preparation and strong communication paid dividends, according to Bosco.

The Bears routinely found open field, with match-day captain Jake Anderson and lone junior Ahmed Chehade both running about 40-meters for two of Cal's eight first-half tries. The Bears finished with 13 on the night.

Maritime attempted to skirt the shutout in the 34th minute, but flanker Rufus Walker missed a 22-meter penalty kick.

"They weren't very threatening," Bosco said. "Most of their best opportunities came from us messing up. We recovered, and so they never really had an opportunity to score."

The Keelhaulers, coached by Cal product Steve Hiatt, managed to keep the Bears off the scoreboard for the first 14 minutes of the second half prior to a try by Cole Huntley.

Another six minutes passed before Cal scored again. Over the course of seven minutes, however, three different Bears scored.

This performance was particularly satisfying for a reserve team that has had a week and a half since its last match at Stanford.

"A lot of us played in the Stanford game (in which) we didn't really play up to the level we should've," Bosco said. "We came out this week with a chip on our shoulder wanting to prove ourselves."

To Clark, their display warranted extra attention. When players turn in strong performances, they are usually rewarded with a fist bump from the coaches as they come off the pitch.

"There were quite a few fist bumps," Colin said. "They were going left and right. I think he was a little too generous with them."


Christina Jones covers rugby. Contact her at [email protected]

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