SFGG best Raptors, Final hopes still alive

Photo Credit: Seth McConnell

A second loss.

By Marco Cummings

GLENDALE – Following an a 32-20 defeat to San Francisco Golden Gate (SFGG, 9-3) the Glendale Raptors (9-2) now find themselves in an uphill battle to secure a spot in the Pacific Rugby Premiership Final.

After an undefeated start to the season, the Raptors have now lost two-straight in a span of three days, and must secure a point against crosstown rivals Denver (2-8-1) in order to secure a postseason berth.

“We’re disappointed in the result, but we’re not disappointed in the way we played. I thought we created a lot of opportunities,” Glendale Raptors head coach Andre Snyman said following the loss. “Unfortunately, we didn’t finish those opportunities and made some basic errors.”

Glendale came out of the gates with the first points of the match, but SFGG quickly established a lead of their own with a try and a 7-3 advantage in the early minutes. After some back and forth, San Francisco held a narrow 15-13 edge by halftime.

DeWon Reed led the Raptors out of the gate with a try to regain a 20-15 Glendale lead, but SFGG responded with a converted try to regain a 22-20 edge. It would be all the visitors would need as Glendale was held scoreless for the remainder of the match.

Ultimately, the challenge of selecting players for a midweek game two days after a road loss proved to be a defining factor for Glendale. But Snyman was satisfied with the effort from players who fulfilled the call of duty on short notice.

“I’m proud of our boys because we were forced to put a team together up until a couple hours before kickoff,” he said. “We were scrambling to try to get players because we are a depleted side. We had some DII and DIII players in our side and I’m proud of these guys for stepping up. They did a good job.”

Despite their latest defeat, fate still lies in the Raptors’ hands. In order for third-place OMBAC to leap Glendale and have a shot at the final, they must secure all five possible points against Belmont Shore on Saturday and hope that Glendale secures none.

And if the Raptors are able to take care of business in their regular season finale, it could set up another rivalry match against SFGG; one that has been brewing since the inception of the PRP. Both Glendale and SFGG have played in the past two finals with each side winning a championship.

“It’s bittersweet,” Snyman said of the potential championship rematch. “As a league we would like to see teams like Belmont Shore and OMBAC and Denver have a shot. We’re just very fortunate that we and SFGG are always up there.”