Vail beats Steamboat one more time |

Vail beats Steamboat one more time

Luke Graham
Bret Hartman/Daily file photoThe Vail Rugby Football Club put itself in a great position to win the Rocky Mountain Rugby League title with a 28-25 come-from-behind win against Steamboat Springs Saturday. Vail's win was the third of the season against Steamboat, and all of them have come thanks to late-game scores by the Blue and White.

STEAMBOAT – It was deja vu for the Vail and Steamboat Springs Rugby Football Clubs on Saturday.Vail’s 28-25 win against the Steamboat, which puts Vail (5-1) in a prime position to wrap up the Rocky Mountain Rugby League Title, was almost an exact mirror of its previous two meetings.The Blue and White won by four points the first time the two teams met up earlier in the season after falling behind early. Then, in the semifinal match-up of the 12-team Ski Town Tournament in Breckenridge, Vail used a last-second score to earn a two-point victory.

Saturday, much like the the previous two meetings, Vail scored in the final minutes of the match. Steamboat held a 25-23 lead with two minutes to go. After some sloppy play by Steamboat, Vail capitalized with a go-ahead try. Steamboat had an opportunity to tie the score with a penalty kick, but the try just fell short.”I guess we’re making a habit of snatching the win from the jaws of defeat,” Vail coach Steve MacKinnon said.Still, Saturday it seemed Steamboat would break out of its funk against Vail.

Steamboat took advantage of two Chris Bowman tries to jump out to a 14-7 lead. Tom Valentine scored for Vail late in the first half to knot the teams up at 14-14 heading into halftime.Coming out of halftime, it looked like Steamboat may run away with the game. They scored twice to go up 25-17. Then, Steamboat received a red card and had to play a man down for the last 10 minutes of the game. Playing shorthanded coupled with inexperience left Steamboat reeling. “Every time we’ve thrown the game away in the end,” Steamboat captain Michael Hurley said. “It’s such a close rivalry with these boys, we just can’t put the game away.”

“It’s just a lucky game,” Vail captain Brandon McDonald said. “That was one of the most competitive games we’ve played in all season.”Vail will host Boulder next Saturday at 3 p.m. for Old Boys Weekend.Vail, Colorado

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