DELAND, FL – The Jacksonville Axemen won their match-up with the Central Florida Warriors by a score of 32-12 Saturday evening at Spec Martin Municipal Stadium. While the Warriors kept the score close through the first half, the Axemen dominated the last 30 minutes of the game to take win away from the home team.
As a result of the Axemen’s defeat of the Warriors, Jacksonville maintains first place in the Southeast (SE) Division of the USA Rugby League (USARL) with a record of 3-0-0. This puts the club just ahead of the Tampa Mayhem, who are 2-1-0. Central Florida remains tied with the Atlanta Rhinos for third place, both with records of 0-2-1.
The two teams keep the game close through the first half
The two teams kept the game close in the first half, as the Warriors matched up with the Axemen well for the first forty minutes of the game. Jacksonville scored and converted a try early in the match to take a 6-0 lead over Central Florida before lightning in DeLand forced the suspension of play for about 30 minutes. After play resumed, Jacksonville once again scored and converted a try to extend their advantage to 12 points. However, Central Florida responded quickly with two converted tries, allowing the Warriors to tie the game 12-12. Just before the half, Jacksonville scored an unconverted try, bringing the halftime score to Jacksonville 16 – Central Florida 12.
Axemen take control in second half to win over the Warriors
For the first 12 minutes of the second half, the Warriors held the Axemen, keeping Jacksonville out of the try zone and keeping the game competitive. However, with 27:39 left in the second half, Jacksonville scored a converted try to build its lead to ten. Right before the 60-minute mark water break, the Axemen scored another try and conversion to take a 16-point lead over the Warriors. Then with 15 minutes left in the match, Jacksonville tacked on one more try (but missed the conversion), bringing the score to 32-12. The Warriors fought hard in the closing minutes of the match, trying to score and get back into contention for the win. However, the Axemen’s defense held, and the final score for the game remained Jacksonville 32 – Central Florida 12.
Commentary from both sides regarding the game’s outcome
Jacksonville Axemen Coach Ben Nicoll had the following to say about the game:
“The game was very tough. The score shows it was a blowout, but it wasn’t like that on the field. The lightning delay was hard for both teams. Both sides laid it out on the line and played for the full 80 minutes, but we [Jacksonville Axemen] got a few lucky tries on them [Central Florida Warriors] to win the game.”
Central Florida Warriors Coach Gareth Walker commented on his club’s performance in the game:
“I’m disappointed we [Central Florida Warriors] lost, but seeing the guys put their efforts into the game makes it a little easier. It shows we have the heart. We’re getting used to the new systems. It’s a development year. We knew they [Jacksonville Axemen] were tough and we just didn’t have enough fire power to stop them.”
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P.s… Keep up with the Axemen, Warriors, and SE USA Rugby League (USARL) this season with the help of Rugby Wrap Up. For more information about the Central Florida Warriors, please visit the team’s website. To learn more about the Jacksonville Axemen, please visit the club’s website. For additional information about the USA Rugby League (USARL), please visit the USARL website.