The Potomac Exiles went 1-1 on a beautiful home Saturday, with the D3 squad winning a friendly against the Roosters, and the D1 team dropping a tough one against Pittsburgh.
The Division Three team got the squad out on the right food with a dominant performance against a scrappy Roosters team, as the boys continue to prepare for their first league match April 9th. Highlights on the day included two tries apiece from youngsters Alfred Beatty, Ballah Booakai and Cesar Diaz. Recognition of overlaps and playing within the system helped Potomac play a dynamic style of play on the day.
The Division One game started out strong for the home team, but shotty tackling proved to be their undoing. Potomac got the scoring going early with a try from lock Rob Newcomb following a Pittsburgh penalty. Pittsburgh answered with tries at 15′ and 20′ by going through the middle of the defense, a trend that was seen all too often. Another penalty deep in Pittsburgh territory led to a try from 8-man Joe Fotofili, and the successful conversion from scrum half Matt Quigley put Potomac up 14-12. A converted try from the visitors put Pittsburgh back on top heading into halftime, 19-14.
Five minutes into the second half, Pittsburgh extended their lead to 26-14, but Potomac would not go down quietly. Newcomb took an attempted clearance kick on the fly and outraced the Pittsburgh defense to close the gap, 26-19. Unfortunately, Potomac couldn’t capitalize as the defense again failed the team, and the Harlequins extended their advantage. At 60′ flanker Gabe Free took a nifty pass from Quigley and dotted the score down in the corner to close the gap to 31-24.
Unfortunately, that would be as close as Potomac would get, as they were outscored three tries to one in the final 20 minutes, with Newcomb finishing off a hat trick at 75′. Pluses on the day included significant strides schematically on offense, but unfortunately the poor tackling was just too much to overcome. Everyone should have a clear picture of what the team needs to work on at training this week, as the Exiles continue to chase the fourth and final playoff spot in the Mid-Atlantic.