By Dion Rabouin
ATLANTA – In the first home game of the fall season, High Country wasted little time putting up points and made a habit of it throughout a lopsided win over the Atlanta Bucks. Despite a gaggle of newcomers and a few missing veterans, the game was never in question. High Country won big, 82-17.
“For the most part, mission accomplished,” head coach Mitch Jaffe said to his team after the win. “You rucked well, hit holes hard and at pace.”
High Country got scored almost immediately off the opening kickoff and never looked back. Newcomer Doug Deer got the scoring started from the fullback position, finishing a long breakaway by center Edwin Bono with a try. Deer scored twice in the game and was selected as the man of the match for the backs.
Deer’s try was followed by four unanswered scoring drives, all with long breakaway runs by High Country players in both the forwards and the backs. High Country led 31-0 going into the game’s first break. The Bucks were low on numbers and rather than two 40-minute halves, the game was broken into four 20-minute quarters.
No matter the game’s timing, Jaffe said the win came down to solid fundamentals.
“We had good rucking, good unselfish play, decent tackling – not great – and good offloads,” he said.
The dominance continued into the second period where High Country outscored the Bucks 12-7 to take a 43-7 lead into halftime. One man who didn’t get on the board in the first half was High Country captain Troy Albright. That was apparently intolerable for the fly half.
“I went to the sideline and said to myself, ‘Troy, this is unacceptable,” Albright said. “There’s no ‘I’ in team, but there is a ‘me.’”
Albright scored three tries in the second half.
Corey NaLampoon, who stepped in at 8 man and scored his first try of the season to begin the second half, was selected as the man of the match for the forwards. He gave the credit for his success to some great mentoring.
“I had never played [8 man] in my life,” he said. “I was a little nervous at first, but under the tutelage of Jonathan M. Fine I was able to work it out.”
Nalampoon also pointed to a solid nutrition program he adhered to the night before the game.
“I didn’t have a heart attack, you know, I had sushi last night and didn’t crap myself,” he said.
The Bucks got two scores from their captain Joe Pennington and the third from High Country’s Mark Primavera, who was subbing in for the shorthanded side.
Deer’s two tries were his first with High Country and thus after the game he was welcomed to the club by performing a zulu.
High Country was bitten slightly by the injury bug with back Abram Vera and forward Lee Meche leaving the game with injuries. Coach Jaffe was less than impressed with Vera’s attention to injury, noting, “Ligaments are like rubber bands. Plus, Abram is a jackass. Make sure you write that.”
Next week, the team will play at home against league foe Macon at Walter Park.