The Air Force Academy's fourth game of the season was played on a muddy pitch in Albuquerque against the Lobos of the University of New Mexico. Both teams are in the Rocky Mountain Rugby Conference so the match was key for positioning in the conference table. Air Force was able to defeat the Lobos, 48-15.
The Air Force Zoomies fought through adversity and some very questionable officiating to defeat the Lobos despite having only 13 of 15 players for 20 minutes of the 80 minute match. The last 31 minutes of the second half, Air Force no more than 14 men on the field (13 for ten minutes of that) and was still able to hold UNM to only one try while scoring five of their own. Air Force received a whopping FOUR yellow cards during the match. Air Force plans to petition the issuance of at least one of the cards in which the video evidence is clear that no infraction occurs at all much less a card-able offense. Despite the questionable calls the Zoomies came together, fought on undermanned, and secured the victory. Nothing like a little adversity to bring the young men together.
AFA junior and team captain, Elliott Higgins put in an outstanding performance scoring FOUR tries but his leadership shown in calming the Zoomies and maintaining go forward ball was what made him really shine on the field. Hats off to the young man who proved what being a leader of character is all about.
Other Zoomie members that made things happen was rookie lock and Senior, Henry Hill, as well as Junior winger, Tyler Vaught. Both scored their first tries of the season. Cadet Hill is in his first season of rugby coming out of playing football for the Academy. He is no stranger to rugby and played for his high school team. His hard running is evident in every match played thus far this season. Cadet Vaught is a relative newcomer. He is coming from the AF lacrosse team so contact and aerobic endurance is nothing new to this athlete. Both are fitting in nicely to the Zoomie style of play. Senior flyhalf, Casey Rothstein also had a good game subbing in for Junior Eric Menser who is also rehabilitating an injury. Cadet Rothstein scored a try of his own and three conversions for 11 points total.
Another bright spot for the Zoomies was the return of Senior Winger, Braden Smith. Coming off an extensive rehab program from a shoulder injury last spring Cadet Smith was back in form stepping defenders and making gains down the sidelines.
See the video on our YouTube site here (thanks to UNM for the film):
Scoring line summary: