Dawgs take hump out of Camels

Vermont. Discovered by Samuel de Champlain in the 1660s. Incubator of such famous patriots as Ethan Allen and Howard Dean. Colloquially known as the Green Mountain state.

But on this day, as the White Dawgs ventured three hours north on Route 7 to Burlington to take on St. Michael’s, the only green to be seen was found on the faces of the opposition, with Williams using a late surge to roll over the Christian Camels, 30-17.

The habitat of the Christian Camels was uncommonly dusty and dirty for lush New England. Weeds, sparingly situated at unacceptable intervals among the grainy soil, provided some solace to the tight-lipped St. Mike’s side. But the uncomfortable nature of the pitch, replete with desolate crevasses and sandy cracks, proved to be no obstacle to the adaptive Dawgs.

“It makes no difference to us,” said line captain Galen “Painful” Thorp ’04, still sidelined with nagging knee and groin injuries. “We’ll play anywhere. If they wanted to play in a litterbox, we’d play in a litterbox. Hell, I’m used to it.”

Even Thorp-less, the Williams line got out to a fast start, punching out an early try from a ruck only six meters out. Dennis “D*Nyce” Immonje ’05 weaved his way in between a pair of Camels off a swift feed from Devin “The Matrix” Fitzgibbons ’04 to stake the Dawgs to an early lead.

The followers of St. Mike, though, didn’t get to where they are today without learning how to capitalize off the mistakes of others, and the Camels took advantage of two glaring Williams mistakes in the ensuing play. A mistimed skip pass and a bad scrum transfer from eight-man Steve “E.D.” Rahl ’05 led to a pair of ill-earned tries for the home team.

“That really busts my chops,” said scrum captain George “Shorty” Evans ’04, whose pack was without first-choice prop Andrew “Der Kaiser” Bisset ’06, out with a nagging subdural haematoma. “I’d bust Rahl down to B-side, if that weren’t exactly what he wanted.”

The half had almost expired, though, when the Dawgs finally achieved the breakthrough that had looked so imminent for much of the first 40 minutes. Quick hands down the line led to an opportunity for Brian “Kramer” Bludd ’07; the rookie broke a pair of weak tackles and raced into the try-zone to close the intermission gap to two.

Leads were swapped back and forth in the opening portion of the second period, with penalty kicks from Tyler “Wheat” Polk ’04 and a strong-footed Camel keeping the score at an even keel. The Dawgs continued to threaten, though, with several near-try opportunities denied through curious calls from the Grizzly Adams-looking ref. Spirits, though, remained high on the Williams bench.

“We could all feel the tension building in the back of our necks,” said Neil “Noodle McFly” Hoffman ’04. “Actually, it was just me. It’s been so long since I had a drink. God, am I miserable.”

The breakdown was inevitable, though, as constant pounding by the Williams line had taken its toll on their St. Mike’s counterparts. Three backs were forced out of the game with foot injuries, and with the rest of the Camel’s toes aching as well, the damage was done by Noah “Faceplant” Bonsey ’07, who powered his way into the try-zone for the score that iced it for the Dawgs. A pair of insurance tries were added after the outcome was no longer in doubt, with the final score failing to convey the contentiousness of the match.

“It was our fitness that did them in at the end,” Evans said. “I’ve been stressing the importance of running at practice. Just not for me.”

The Killer Bs experienced far less guff from the Dromedaries, rolling over the talent-less St. Mike’s B-side in a near-shutout. First-time fullback Nick “Krusty” Brandfon ’04 played a solid if goofy game in the rear for the Bs, while a deep, deep pit of rage seemed to sit within the stomach of rookie flanker Will “The Avenger” Rathgeber ’07; the young powerhouse took out a considerable amount of repressed anger on the shrinking Dromedary interior. Rahl, too, took advantage of his B-side time by scoring an unrequited glory try against the inferior competition. Some would call it cheating, but not Rahl.

Rather unfortunate, though, was the contest’s conclusion, in which “Denver” Dave Seligman ’05 sustained a separated shoulder on the wasteland-like pitch. Recent departures from the club had forced Seligman into an unfamiliar position, and the JA showed heart in taking the challenge in stride.

“He really inspired all of us,” B-sider Dave “Starburst” Rodriguez ’06 said. “In time, if I persevere like he did, I may yet learn how to throw the ball without looking like a damn sissy.”

In the end, though, it was a great day for Williams rugby, but one that the team hopes will be bettered next week against Middlebury.

“Next week is going to make ‘House Party’ look like ‘House Party 2!’” Eric “Hansel” Markowsky ’05 said.

“Or ‘House Party 3!’” Brandfon said.

“Shut up, Brandfon,” Markowsky said.

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