The Jacksonville Axemen took on the Central Florida Warriors in DeLand last Saturday for their third game of the regular season.
The Warriors made a statement right from kick off and forced the Axemen to defend their try line in the first 10 minutes of play. The Warriors were just short of scoring when the ball was dropped, the Axemen kicked it back and the chase was on for both teams. Another smart kick by the Axemen propelled the ball across the try line and Jonathan Halter outran the Warriors to score the first try. Hayden Diggins made the conversion kick as storms moved in dangerously close to Spec Martin Stadium and the referee called a lightning delay.
After a 30 minute delay the Axemen got right back to work with a try from Josh Cock and Diggins was good for the conversion to give Jacksonville a 12-0 lead. This is where the game proved difficult; several mistakes from the Axemen and an effective Warriors offense allowed for 2 tries scored for Central Florida and a tie game of 12-12. Just before the half a try from David Washington in his first ever game of Rugby League gave the lead back to the Axemen as they went into halftime. Diggins kick was no good and the score was 16-12.
With the Warriors trailing the Axemen by a mere 4 points, both teams battled to keep the score at a standstill until Kevin Wathen was able to pick the ball off the Warriors to score. Diggins conversion was good to bring the Axemen up 22-12. This was just the beginning of the end for the Warriors as Wathen scored again after an impressive offload from Ben Nicoll to score under the posts. Will Mueller’s conversion kick was good followed by a hat trick for Kevin Wathen scoring for the third time out wide. Jonathan Halter’s conversion was no good to bring the Axemen to a 32-12 lead.
With less than 15 minutes to go the Axemen held strong and did not allow the Warriors to score. Final score was Axemen 32, Warriors 12 and the Axemen remain at the top of the South Division standings.
“This week’s game was a really tough win,” said Coach Ben Nicoll. “Central Florida really stuck it to us for the whole 80 minutes. We still put ourselves under a fair bit of pressure by making too many mistakes but again our goal line defense held strong.”
The Axemen will return home after the 4th of July holiday against the Atlanta Rhinos on July 9th.
For more info and full schedule go to www.jaxaxe.com.