Game Report: Round 6
The Dr. Clayman Plastic Surgery Center Jacksonville Axemen remain undefeated after a close game against a much improved Tampa Mayhem squad in Round 6. The conditions were less than ideal after nearly 12 hours of rain, but there was no lightning in sight and the game kicked off as planned. The Axemen scored first with a try by Steven “Meaty” Hill in his first game back after injury but the Mayhem responded with a try of their own to even the score to 6-6 for the first quarter.
The rain started to lessen into the second quarter but the wet field caused both teams to struggle with the ball. The Axemen persevered with a solid try from Apple Pope up the center and another good conversion kick from Mat Keely upped the score to 12-6 for Jacksonville. Tampa was determined to create some Mayhem before going into the half, and a clever kick led them to catch the ball in the try zone, making the score a close 12-10 at halftime. With the rain finally over by the third quarter Apple Pope scored his second try of the game for the Axemen with a dive across the try line. Keeley’s good conversion extends the Axemen’s lead to 18-10. The third quarter was riddled with penalties and dropped balls from both teams, but Tampa managed to recover with another try to bring the score to 18-14 without the conversion.
In one of the closest rugby league games seen at Hodges Stadium, both teams fought hard in the final quarter of the game to come out on top. The Tampa Mayhem caught their first glimpse of gaining the lead when they scored early in the 4th quarter. The conversion kick was no good and the game was tied 18-18. Axemen player/coach Mat Keeley broke the tie after he recovered his own kick through the defensive line. Max “Camel” Schwartz followed this up with a hard fought try over a toughly defended Tampa try line and brought the score to 30-18 with Keely’s perfect game for conversion kicks. The clock ticked down to only one minute left in the game but Tampa refused to give up with another try to make the final score 30-24. In this tough game Coach Keeley named his top three players who maintained the right attitude and rose above for the Axemen victory. With 1 point is Steven Krueger. “I have been really impressed with Krueger’s performance this season,” says Keeley. “He started the year on the bench and earned his way into the starting team, purely through hard work and commitment to that jersey. I threw him into the fullback position with Bobbin out and he looked like it was his natural position. I do believe he will become an Axemen leader in the future and it’s great to see the talent pool we continue to draw from UNF”. Earning two points is rugby rookie Mike Scott. “Matt Thornton told me at pre-season he has this kid coming out and he is a talent. Six weeks ago Mike didn’t know how to play the ball and today he was one of our best. You forget sometimes that he is only 19. An absolute pleasure to coach and has one of the best attitudes I’ve come across in my coaching career.”
With three points and game MVP is Axemen veteran Apple Pope. “Apple’s athletic abilities combined with his experience continue to make him a leader. Week in and week out you know what you’re going to get. It was wet out there today so Apple rolled up his sleeves and did what needed to be done. We talk a lot about attitude and pride in the Axemen jersey and Apple sums it up every time he takes the field.”
The Jacksonville Axemen will go on the road in the final week of the regular season to take on the Central Florida Warriors at Deland’s Spec Martin Stadium. Game time is 5pm and remember all CHOP ZONE member passes get you into the game!