In their first outing since their merger, the Potomac Exiles shut out the Raleigh Vipers 17-0. Light rain fell during the game in Bethesda, Md. as both teams sought field position. The game was actually a lot closer than the score depicted, as wet ball caused handling errors for both clubs.
Most of the game was played between the 22s and ball retention was key. Each team had their opportunities, however, the Exiles were able to capitalize on Raleigh’s mistakes. Each team would look like they were on the verge of breaking for a big play only to commit a penalty or cause a turnover.
Potomac started the scoring with a penalty kick at the 20-minute mark. Raleigh was called for offsides and Exiles’ flyhalf J’Son Townes kicked it through for a 3-0 lead. Potomac continued to press for field position, but was not able to make the most of its possessions.
At the 34th minute, center Iosia Luka scored Potomac’s first try following three phases after playing advantage from a Raleigh knock-on. Townes converted the kick to extend the lead to 10-0.
Raleigh tried to rally back with two penalty kicks in the closing minutes of the first half, but they both missed. In the 38th minute following a not-rolling-away penalty, fullback Ryan Ford missed from 30 meters, and then in the 40th minute, flyhalf Bryan Maxwell missed after a offsides call. As the whistle blew, the Exiles had a 10-0 lead going into the second half.
Approximately 30 seconds into the second half, Potomac’s Ed Sharkey was yellow carded for not rolling away. Raleigh challenged the Exiles’ defense, but was unable to exploit the man advantage. With a man down in the 46th minute, Potomac pushed over its second try off a backline set play where flyhalf Connor Mannix passed to Townes on a good line for the score. Townes kicked the conversion to increase the lead to 17-0.
For the rest of the game, the Vipers and Exiles battled for field position and ball retention. Each club had the chance to break open the game, but were turned away each time. The match ended with both teams playing hard, but the Potomac Exiles won their first game, 17-0, over the Raleigh Vipers.
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