USARL Season Underway and the Axemen took the first win
A great crowd helped the Axemen open the season with a good win
The afternoon opened with the “Firehouse Subs Southeastern Rugby League Championship” that consists of the feeder teams for the Jacksonville Axemen. In the inaugural game the Daytona Gearheads, who are coached by long time Axemen prop Craig Howitt, got the first win with a convincing display over the Jacksonville Hatchets. The game was a played in full 13 format with each team fielding 19 players. The games are played in two 20 minute halves. Three players from that game also got the call up to the Axemen bench. New Daytona recruit, Brett Swann, Casey Clark, who the younger brother of Axemen Prop Matt Clark and rookie Anthony Rodriguez. All three saw game time in the later stages of the Axemen game.
The Axemen then took the field and the opening 15 minutes of the game was nothing short of a sporting war with some very heavy defense and some bruising runs from both teams.
Tough defense from both teams started in the opening minute and lasted all game
The Axemen got on the scoreboard 1st with some clever plays close to the line and then again not long after to go up 10 points to 0. The Warriors however found some spark in their play and soon got within 4 of the home team. After the 20 minute mark the Axemen found the timing they had been looking for and started to find some holes in the Warrior defense and import hooker Luke Srama gave the Axemen forwards lots of room to move and the outside backs also started to get into holes. The Axemen seemed to be on a role into the half time break and also came out ready to fire when rookie starter Chris “Houston” Luyster suffered a compete ankle dislocation in a very heavy tackle. Dr. Kevin Murphy, who is one of the orthopedic surgeons for Heekin Orthopedic (A proud Axemen Sponsor) was very fast to rush from the sponsor reception that was being held in the VIP suite, and acted quickly to relocate the ankle. Due to the quick work of Dr. Murphy and the Axemen medical staff of Dr. Alex Moore, Athletic Trainer Mary Slover and PT Scott Crawley, “Houston” was able to remain with the team for the rest of the game on the sidelines. He will see Dr. Murphy this week for evaluation on how long the injury will sideline him.
Houston leaving the field with the help of the Axemen medical team
The game resumed after 10 minutes and the Axemen began to really get some rhythm with the big men working hard to create space for the outside backs. Credit to the New Haven team who never once stopped applying pressure and although the score seemed a little one sided, the Axemen were tested often on goal line defense and they certainly had their share of wounds to lick after the brutal encounter. Final score was 48 to 10.
Axemen big man Bob Knoepfel suffered a broken nose and split forehead and hard-man Matt Clark also came to the sidelines for some treatment on a cut above the eye