Two Saturday Match-Ups Kick Off the 2019 USARL Southern Division Season

Lakeland Renegades Lose 25 May Game Against Tampa 30-16
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Lakeland Renegades Lose 25 May Game Against Tampa 30-16

TAMPA, FL — Two Saturday (25 May) match-ups kicked off the 2019 Southern USA Rugby League (USARL) season. Given that there are now five clubs in the Southern USARL, each Saturday will have a team taking a bye week this summer season. Last Saturday, the Atlanta Rhinos had the first Saturday off. So, they will start their season this coming Saturday (01 June).

Jacksonville Axemen Defeat the Southwest Florida Copperheads

On Saturday, the Jacksonville (JAX) Axemen defeated the Southwest Florida (SWFL) Copperheads 42 to 14. JAX scored and converted four tries in the first half of the game (24 points). As for SWFL, the club tacked on one converted try and a penalty kick for their eight points. This gave JAX a 24 to 8 advantage as the first half ended.

In the second half, JAX scored two more tries and conversions, giving the club 18 more points after halftime. SWFL scored one converted try, which earned the club eight more points. These second half points, combined with the points each club before, gives the matchup’s final score JAX 42 to SWFL 14.

Jacksonville Axemen’s Take on the Game

The Jacksonville Axemen (1-0-0) began their endeavor of defending their title with a win over the SWFL Copperheads (0-1-0) RLFC. The reigning champions begin the season with the challenge of two away games in a row and were eager to see how the team would look in the absence of any preseason match ups this year. Also, there are a good number of new players in the Axemen player pool who are new to playing rugby league. This, along with a new group of experienced import players, and after training for the past month, was the first look into how these players would gel with the Axemen veterans.

Tampa Mayhem Beats the Lakeland Renegades

The Tampa Mayhem (1-0-0) traveled east Saturday to take on the USARL’s newest team, the Lakeland Renegades (0-1-0). Tampa defeated Lakeland 30 to 16. After the two clubs traded tries at the beginning of the game Tampa pulled out a 12 to 6 lead prior to halftime. In the second half, the Mayhem scored three converted tries prior to full time. Also, the Renegades scored two more tries, including the final score as the game ended.

For the Mayhem, Jon St. John led the team with two tries. Also, Michael Grimmett, JL Hauser, and Justin Branca all contributed one try for Tampa. While he did not reach the try zone, Charlie Hutchens scored the most points (ten) for the Mayhem, going five for five on conversions.
For the Lakeland Renegades, David Ulch, Danny McGrath, and Vert Stephens each scored one try for the club. Also, Renegade David Ulch scored four more points, going two for three on conversions.

What Lies Ahead for the USARL South Next Saturday?

Next Saturday (01 June), the Tampa Mayhem will host the Jacksonville Axemen. Also, the Atlanta Rhinos will travel to Florida to take on the Lakeland Renegades. SWFL has this Saturday off.

About Brian C. Cole 53 Articles
Mass Comm Grad Student at USF in Tampa Bay, FL (US); write about Rugby as well as Music, Politics, and Weather; Photographer; covers SE Division of USA Rugby League (Atlanta Rhinos,, Jacksonville Axemen, Lakeland Renegades, Southwest Florida Copperheads and the Tampa Mayhem); works with Tampa Mayhem & Tampa Bay Krewe RFC.