In what proved to be an exciting and hotly contested affair between the BYU Cougars and one of the top men's teams in the country, Old Puget Sound Beach (OPSB) came from a 25-17 deficit to edge the Cougars in the waning moments by the score of 34-30.
With USA Eagles Pate Tuilevuka, Miles Craigwell and Mike Palefau leading the way OPSB was able to notch the opening try of the game in the 3rd minute which went unconverted.
But the Cougars would rally and find the end zone in the 13th minute via recently returned missionary and former United high school national champion Dan Hubert to tie the game at 5-5.
With the new-found momentum BYU would pull ahead with two more tries from fullback Will Taylor and prop David Collins. Both would go unconverted and BYU led 15-5.
The physically imposing OPSB team would strike back just before halftime with a converted try to pull within three. At the break BYU led 15-12.
In the second half both teams picked up where they left off by hammering away at each other's defensive lines. Ultimately, OPSB would garner a well-deserved but unconverted try in the 50th minute.
The Cougars would follow with freshman flyhalf Jonny Linehan converting a 25 meter penalty to retake the lead 18-17 in the 55th minute.
BYU's Collins would notch his second try in the 62nd minute and Linehan would convert to pull BYU ahead 25-17.
OPSB's experience showed through in the final quarter as the men from Seattle would mount a heated come back to take the lead in the 71st minute following two tries, one of which was converted. BYU 25 OPSB 29.
Not to be outdone the Cougar forwards mounted a series of well-worked phases that led to BYU's Linnehan squirting through the OPSB defensive line for a try in the 74th minute. The conversion was missed however and BYU led by a tenuous single point 30-29.
As the Cougars held on to the uncomfortable lead OPSB mounted one final charge against the BYU defense which led to the game-winning try in the 80th minute. With the ensuing wide-angled conversion of little consequence the kick was missed and the final whistle blew to the favor of OPSB. Final score OPSB 34 BYU 30.
"If you look at the players that OPSB has this game could have gone in one direction really quick," said BYU head coach David Smyth, "We always want to win, but our guys fought hard, played well and we ended up getting what we wanted out of this game. Our experienced players showed composure like they should and our young players had a chance to step and they did."
The Cougars now prepare for their next fixture against a top-rated men's club as they look to take on the Denver Barbarians Saturday, February 23rd in Grand Junction, CO.
BYU XV vs. OPSB
Ryan Roundy (c)
Tries: Hubert 13′; Taylor 21′; Collins 24′,62'; Linehan 74′
Conversions: Linehan (1/5: 62')
Penalties: Linehan 55' (1/1)
Tries: OPSB (3',35',50',65',71',80')
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