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September 21, 2023

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Rugby extends winning streak against Central Michigan, continues to improve

The BG Rugby team moved up to 2-0 in the Mid-American Conference and 6-0 overall with a 44-12 victory over Central Michigan. The victory continued a win streak against the Chippewas who have never beaten the Falcons in their entire 45-year history.

“The games have been less and less lopsided of late,” said BG head coach Tony Mazzarella. “[Central Michigan has] a new coach [Tre Yarmuth] who came up through their program and he has changed the culture on that team in terms of discipline and player commitment. Our games with them aren’t going to be ‘gimmes’ anymore.”

The streak includes three games where the point total topped the century mark.

That new standard of commitment immediately caused problems for the Falcons in the form of a hard hitting swarming defense.

“I think we came out a bit flat foolishly thinking we had another 70-point victory in the bag like we did last year,” said BG captain Dane Szente.

Nonetheless, once the Falcon offense started to click, BG started doing a little swarming of its own by capitalizing on every single Chippewa mistake and turning it into a try.

Perrysburg product, Matt Marquette, seemed to be everywhere at once. Running out of the fullback position, he scored on three 50-plus yard streaks up the sideline on three of the five times he touched the ball. When he wasn’t on a scoring run, Marquette dished off to wing Steve Fritsch who added another two tries.

“Fritsch is not your typical wing, who usually top out at 175 pounds,” stated Mazzarella. “At 210 pounds, he combines speed with power and can be quite a load to try and bring down.”

Alson scoring tries for BG were wing Ryan Koenig and hooker Mike Brown. Prop Dane Szente converted three of BG’s seven tries and added a penalty kick.

“Our defense is getting there,” added Szente, “But I’m sure everyone agrees that the offense still needs a few tweaks before we are clicking like we were last fall.”

BG easily handled Central in the second match [non-conference]. Freshman Sean McFarland scored a pair of tries and booted a conversion and wing Sam Polzin added three tries in the 53-5 victory. Fullback Griffen Palmer, lock Alex Cranmer, fly half Ian Dalton and center Ted Kilgore got solo tries and wing Cole Shaffer booted three conversions.

The Falcons will host West Virginia next Saturday at 1 p.m. at the College Park Rugby Field.

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