[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Austin Blacks opened the 2016-17 season with a Div.3 league match at Ft. Hood. In addition to the 23 players on the roster, all four Austin coaches and the manager (your truly) also traveled with the team. It was necessary for the squad to park off post across from the Ft. Hood entrance and the Ft. Hood players shuttled us on post to play in the Ft. Hood Stadium. Because it is a football stadium, the field was only 60 yards wide and 100 yards long. But the surface was good and the field was properly marked, those the football lines caused some confusion – i.e., D3 coach and scrumhalf dove over for a “score” five yards from the line!

The match started off as an arm-wrestle, with neither team being able to maintain the ball through more than five phases. That’s not surprising, considering it was the first match for both clubs. Ft. Hood had the size advantage but Austin had the edge in skill and structure. Ft. Hood played with a stiff wind advantage but were unable to capitalize due to numerous handling errors and repeated infringements, mainly due to their lack of experience. Finally, at 26 minutes, flyhalf Diego Sotello-Girala slotted a penalty kick from 25 yards out to give the Blacks a 3-0 lead. This was followed 7 minutes later by a thundering run from prop Siaosi Finau who plowed through tacklers for 35 yards, finally carrying two players over the line for a try in the left corner. Conversion was missed but Blacks led 8-0 at 33 min. The half finished with no more scoring.
Austin turned around with the wind and took advantage, pinning Ft. Hood deep into their half. Austin had dominated the set pieces in the first half, with 2nd row Mark LeGare stealing numerous lineouts while maintaining a perfect record on Blacks throw-ins. It was no different in the scrums where three new Austin players dominated – Finau, Tyler Hawkins, and Chris Reed – stealing more tight-head scrums than Ft. Hood won on the day. That man, Finau, scored another single-handed try at 46 min and assisted in a driving scrum at 68 min that resulted in a penalty try. Captain Diego converted the penalty try to give Blacks a 20-0 lead at 68 min. By then all of the reserves had come on but Blacks still needed that fourth try to secure a maximum-points win. Two of those reserves obliged by hooking up for a length of the field try in the 78th minute. Matthew Schick made the line break and 2nd-row/prop Tommy Gilmore followed-up well to score the fourth and bonus-point try. Diego converted, resulting in the final score of 27-0. Siasoi Finau was the unanimous choice for man of the match.
Scoring for Blacks – 27 points: Finau (2 trys), Gilmore (1 try), penalty try, Sotelo (1 penalty kick, 2 conversions)
Scoring for Ft. Hood – 0 points

1 Siaosi Finau
2 Tyler Hawkins
3 Christopher Reed
4 Revaz Dzneladze
5 Mark LeGare
6 Matthew Graves
7 Myles Hernandez
8 Derek Watson
9 Ryan Little
10 Diego Sotelo Girala (Captain)
11 Alex Garcia
12 Kellen Burke
13 Vince Dutton
14 Ellis Glaw
15 Darah Callan[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text][player_details 4349][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]