Vail routs Breckenridge
In June, the Denver Highlanders and the Missoula (Mont.) Maggots came to the Vail Athletic Field and came away pointless. Saturday, Breckenridge, broke into the scoring column with two penalty kicks, but Vail’s tryline remained uncrossed in 2002 as Vail raced away to a 60-6 win.
“We want to try and stop anyone from scoring against us anywhere,” Vail player-coach Fred Waititi said. “We’ve had three games here. So there’s a lot more business ahead. We do spend a lot of time working on defense. The more we’re able to win the ball on the attack, they have less chances to attack us.”
Doing a lot of the attacking was Vail vet Greg Tarpy, who touched down four times.
“It was fun. We were a little stronger than they were,” He said. “It helps to be coming around a stronger pack. I thought we’d do better in the wet, though. Our whole team’s English and it was raining. You’d think they’d be used to it.”
Saturday’s renewal of the battle of Vail Pass was a soggy one, indeed, during the first half, when heavy rain and hail pelted the field. And while thunder and lightning cracked from the sky, Vail produced a few fireworks of its own.
Andy Muir started things in the opening minutes with Vail’s first try of the game. After Alex Agre’s penalty kick closed Breck to 5-3, Tarpy scampered 25 meters for five.
Andrew Banks followed with the first of his tries on the afternoon. Tarpy scored the next two, including one after a scrum at the 22-meter line where he simply picked the ball from the pile cleanly for the breakaway.
Leading 29-6 at intermission, the weather cleared but Vail continued to storm on. Dan Knox came off the bench and quickly found the Breck tryline. Tarpy fed Scott Stolbert, who ripped off a nifty 35-meter scamper. Marcus Dracup, who also took care of the kicking duties nicely on a blustery day, was the next to score and Vail had a comfortable 43-6 lead.
New Zealand import, Mick Gollogy, Andrew Moffet and Banks later added tries to make the rout complete.
“I’m pleased with the result. We won. You’re always pleased with that,” Waititi said. “Our middle combination went well, Mof (Moffet) and Marcus (Dracup). Our fullback, Vinny, played well. In the second half, Dan Knox came on. He made a load of difference, made sure that we got the ball going forward. He helped with our second-half effort and got us on the way again. Scotty Stolbert too.”
Vail moved to 6-0 with the win. In addition to winning rivalry bragging rights, the game served as tuneup for next weekend’s Ski Town Tournament in Aspen. With a championship-game matchup against Aspen a possibility, the Blue and White knows there’s work to be done.
“We can’t 50-50 as we did all day,” Tarpy said. “We must have made about 30-40 unforced errors. That’s one thing we can’t do. We need to tighten it up and make sure we don’t make the same mistakes.”
Breakdown Balls: Despite some chippy play, the Vail-Breck rivalry remains a friendly one. After the A-game, several Vail players suited up for the Blue Goose in the B-game. “We always enjoy playing Breck because we’re neighboring towns and it’s always a lot of fun,” Vail RFC president Scott Marino said. “They’re one of the few teams that sticks around and they always treat us well when we’re there and we usually have good, fair games against them.” … Waititi said that no player of the game had been designated. But we’ll give out the fan of the game to 12-year-old Ronnie Variot of Novi, Mich., whose family was in town visiting. Variot is Tarpy’s nephew. … From the Tri-Nations: New Zealand 41, South Africa 20. The All-Blacks move to 2-0, while South Africa and Australia are both 0-1. Australia and South Africa play next weekend.