Results: November 4
Kansas City Blues 22
Cincinnati Wolfhounds 31
Playoffs.. They were the best of Times… They were the worst of times
The dust has settled. Players that live in other countries or other states have gone home. End of year dinners have been eaten, goodbyes have been said and bodies have begun to heal. The post season depression and sadness has started to lift. Now it is time to tell the story.
The Blues vs Cincinnati Semi final started off well for the Blues. We maintained possession for most of the first 15 minutes. We had multiple scoring chances, including a scrum on the Cincinnati 5 meter line and a penalty kick for points from roughly the 35. The scrum ball came out to Flyhalf Wayden, who cut forward and made it to the 2. He was rucked over and the ball flew wide but it was behind the wing Osi, who had to backtrack for the ball, losing all his momentum and ended up getting pushed into touch. The kick for points fly wide and off the mark. The ball then went to Cincy for their first real possession of the game and they drove down the field and scored with a wide ball to their star 13. 0-7 Cincinnati.
We took the next possession right down the field again. Gaining a lineout on their 5. Ball went up and down into a Blues maul. The maul sheared right but a whistle blew. Penalty for disconnected maul on the blues. Play bounced around back and forth around midfield until the Blues once again drove down to the Cincinnati 22. Soon to be man of the match Jono Bloomfield picked out of a ruck and rumbled 20 meters through several defenders for a much needed try and spark. 7-7
Cincinnati however took full advantage of their next possession, driving down and running crashes until they -- scored in the corner. Kick wide, 7-12 Cincinnati. The next Cincinnati possession was once again driven down and wide and scored. Kick converted, 7-19 Cincinnati. The Blues responded with a nice possession of their own, getting deep into Cincy territory and gaining a penalty. Penalty kick for points good, 10-19 Cincinnati. Halftime.
Coach Scott Kram gave some nice adjustments and coaching at halftime. Cincinnati had scouted us and knew we were strong in the backs. They were spreading early and keying on Aren Martin (they hit him every play, even if he didn’t have the ball. Called for a penalty on it only once). He gave direction to keep it tight and physical and smash it up the middle where they were thin. Run crashes and make meters and suck them in, then send it wide. The team took the words in and put them to action and, like most good coaching, worked like a charm. Early in the second half we bruised them up the middle with big runs from Ezzy, Jono and the other forwards, sucked them in and then Ezzy bounced it out wide to the space into Flanker Danny Apgar’s arms who dove in for a try. Kick made. 17-19 Cincinnati. Feeling good.
The next kickoff was won by Cincy, which put a damper on our momentum. Then we got a very unfortunate yellow card in a breakdown around our own 22. Cincinnati capitalized and scored. 24-17. Shortly thereafter we had a lineout on their 22. It was called not straight and Cincinnati took the scrum. They got the ball out and their 12 stiff armed his way through our defense and then popped to the 13 who finished it off. 17-31 Cincinnati.
We weren’t finished. We powered it down and Zach Cohen scored with about 5 minutes left. The score happened on the quarter edge of the field. 22-31 Cincinnati. The conversion kick, which would have made it a once score game went wide. Our last breath again was not yet taken however. Daniel Tapusoa made an amazing run and beat 4 defenders on the edge and took the ball to the 2. He tried popping out off the ground after the tackle to a trailing Aren martin, but the ball bounced away. Final Whistle, 22-31 Cincinnati. As heartbreaking of a loss as it was, we had a majorly successful season. The boys came home with sadness in their hearts, but also a sense of pride and a bellyfull of Skyline Chili.
Cincinnati went on to take on the St. Louis Bombers in the final. STL jumped out to an early 19-7 lead, but Cincinnati battled hard. Final score ended at 37-28 Bombers, who finished out with a 10-0 record and the Midwest Premiership Championship.
We send off our foreign players back home with giant thanks. They gave their all for us all season long. Jono back to New Zealand, Ezzy back to Australia and Seif back to the UK. They return home but will be Blues forever. We also want to thank our supporters, those who came out to games, gave their time to help the program and those who donated to the playoff cause. We are a team, a brotherhood and a family. Blues Nation is proud of its 2023 season and looks forward to the next. #LBO3
Kansas City Blues D1 at Cincinnati Wolfhouds
1) Isikeli Fukofuka 2) Stephen Lomas 3) Seif Esylad 4) Tonderai Kambarami 5) Matt Wirken 6) Zach Cohen 7) Danny Apgar (C) 8) Jonathan Bloomfield 9) Tuuaga Lavea 10) Wayden Mosinkie 11) Kyle Renner 12) Sam Chapman 13) Aren Martin (VC) 14) Osi Nauer 15) Ty Lewis 16) Chris McBride 17) Omar Tapia 18) Scott McAvoy 19) Ryan Ellison 20) Daniel Tapusoa 21) Nick Hartley 22) Blakeston Bryant 23) Chase Higgins
Scott Kram - Head Coach
Jamie Dever - Pack Coach
Darragh Leader - Backs Coach
Casey Cummings - Assistant Coach
Darlwin Nelson - Assistant Coach
Kyle Izard - Manager