Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs Rugby Club on Saturday continued its quest to win back-to-back Mountain League titles, downing Breckenridge, 37-7, at Whistler Field.
After starting the year out just 2-2, including a 47-21 loss to Breckenridge's Gentlemen of the Blue Goose, Steamboat has won five consecutive games.
"I think concentration is a lot of it," Steamboat coach Graham Muir said. "The team that concentrates more usually wins."
Despite some early troubles, there wasn't going to be any stopping Steamboat on Saturday.
Erik Wernig, Charlie Pappas and Collins Akwanyi all had first-half tries to help Steamboat build a 20-7 halftime lead.
The turning point, however, came at the midway point in the first half. After an unlucky bounce gave Breckenridge a try to cut the Steamboat lead to 12-7, the green and gold answered right back.
Akwanyi took the ball up the left side of the pitch and scored a try on Steamboat's first rush after Breckenridge's score, to go up 17-7.
"We just wanted it more," Wernig said. "It was good."
Steamboat added three more tries in the second half, including another one from Wernig and one from No. 8 man Chris Baumann.
With the win, Steamboat gets right back into the thick of things in the Mountain Rugby League.
Steamboat essentially controls its own destiny. With two games against Glenwood and single games against Vail and Aspen left on the schedule, Steamboat is in a position to wrap up another league title if the team keeps playing like it has.
"I thought they had a little too much confidence coming in," Muir said of his Steamboat team. "We didn't train too well all week, but it's a win."
Muir, who wasn't with the club in its first loss to Breckenridge, said the biggest difference for the team has been its defense.
After limiting teams to just three tries in the Cow Pie Classic last weekend, Steamboat only allowed one try to Breckenridge on Saturday.
Muir said part of that is better training and moving some players into new positions. But the biggest part, he said, is that the young Steamboat team is starting to understand the game better. With that, Muir said the green and orange have every opportunity to win the league title for the second straight year.
"We haven't played Glenwood, but I watched them, and they're pretty good," Muir said. "And Vail and Aspen are obviously good, but we're just going to keep this train going."
- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org