Game Report: Round 1
The 121 Financial Jacksonville Axemen got off to a disappointing start last weekend with a loss to the Atlanta Rhinos in Round 1 of the regular season competition.
The Axemen, who went undefeated throughout the season last year struggled early with defense and made some costly mistakes, allowing the Rhinos to score three tries before the 20 minute water break with a 16-0 deficit. Jacksonville regrouped after the break and gained some points with a try scored by Pio Vatuvei, but the conversion was no good. Improved Axemen defense held the Rhinos from scoring again before going into the half, and the score remained 16-4.
Atlanta received the kick going into the second half, and the Axemen built on their momentum when they recovered a fumbled ball and scored the second try of the day from John Hamilton. Sam Dickey was good for the conversion and the gap began to close at 16-10, Rhinos still in the lead.
It was mistakes and interceptions that once again plagued the Axemen, and the Rhinos took advantage of them with two more tries scored increasing the lead to 26-10. Refusing to let Atlanta run away with the score, the Axemen got back some control of their offense and scored a third try from Steven “Meaty” Hill, conversion was no good. Rhinos remained in the lead 26-14 but the Axemen continued fighting to tie up the score.
One last try from the Rhinos as the clock ran out sealed the loss for the Axemen and the final score was 30-14.
Although it was a frustrating start to the 2017 season, Coach Sean Rutgerson is looking forward to some improvement this week. “I am very disappointed about the way we started the game. Poor ball control allowed Atlanta a whole heap of possession and they scored early tries off that. Our defense was soft and we had no direction when we did get down to their end of the field. As the game went on we got better defensively, but ball control is not where we need it to be. Once we got a fair share of ball possession we started to make some positive progress so I am expecting a massive improvement from this team in Round 2.”
The Axemen travel again this weekend to Deland, FL to take on the Central Florida Warriors, who are also seeking redemption after a 50-10 loss last week to Tampa. Game time in 5pm at Spec Martin Stadium. We’d love to have our CHOP ZONE out there for support!
Photo Credit: Edge Sports Photography