The Houston SaberCats defeated the Glendale Raptors 32-17 in the “official” grand opening at AVEVA Stadium on May 25, 2019, in Houston, Texas.
The Houston SaberCats record moves to 5-10 and they conclude their season on June 1 against the Utah Warriors. The Glendale Raptors ended their season in sixth place with a 7-7-2 record.
The SaberCats struck first on a penalty goal by Sam Windsor to take an early 3-0 lead. The Glendale Raptors answered back in the 12th minute with a one hand flick pass by Dylan Taikato-Simpson to Harley Davidson for an easy try, 3-5.
The Restart went to the Glendale 22-meter line, but a handling error and a penalty led to a Jamie Dever try from close range. Sam Windsor then slotted the conversion to lead 10-5.
Victor Comptat was sent to the bin in the 20th minute. Houston survived his time in the bin and extended the lead after a Windsor grub and offload to Josua Vici for a shorthanded try. Windsor again slotted the kick to extend the lead to 17-5.
A Connor Murphy chip in-goal was grounded by Windsor and then converted for a 24-5 lead. Glendale pressured Houston just prior to the break but lost the ball forward resulting in a 5-meter Houston scrum with Murphy kicking to touch to take a 24-5 lead into the break.
The Houston SaberCats have controlled the majority of possession during the first half and their scrum has been dominant.
Sam Windsor tacked on a penalty goal to push the lead to 27-5 in the 46th minute. The Raptors answered back with a try from a cross kick by Will Magie that was grounded by Dylan Taikato-Simpson to cut the lead to 27-10.
Following a Glendale Raptors scrum, a Dylan Taikato-Simpson flick pass to Harley Davidson resulted in a try and a conversion by Magie to cut the lead to 27-17. On the ensuing restart, a Josua Vici break led to a Sam Windsor bonus point try to push the lead to 32-17.
The Houston SaberCats tried to extend the lead with a Windsor 46 meter penalty kick, but the kick was wide and Glendale’s Campbell Johnstone counterattacked on a long break.
After a turnover by Glendale, a Zach Pangelinan box kick was retrieved by Josua Vici and after several phases, a knock on resulted in a Raptors 5-meter scrum in defense. The SaberCats scrummaging turned the ball over and Houston attacked from a 5-meter scrum but lost the ball forward after an ensuing scrum.
The Houston Sabercats kicked to touch for a 32-17 victory, their third consecutive one. With the win, the team’s record is 5-10 and they conclude the season in Utah for their third game in eight days.
The Glendale Raptors final record is 7-7-2. It was announced prior to the match that tonight’s match was Zach Fenoglio’s last match. Peter Dahl was indicated to also be retiring. Will some additional Raptors be close behind. Playing for several years together with a core group could lead to a number of changes in the offseason.
Both Zach and Peter will be missed, as well as others, should they decide to call an end to outstanding careers. I don’t want to encourage their departure but know from experience that when players decide to retire that was part of a core group that the motivation of longtime members is affected.
Following the conclusion of the match, Sam Windsor was named Man of the Match for the SaberCats.
Squads With Player Article Links & Preview
Houston SaberCats: 1 Jamie Dever 2 Pat O’Toole 3 Charlie Connolly 4 Diego Magno 5 Victor Comptat 6 Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz 7 Cecil Garber 8 Alejandro Nieto 9 Connor Murphy 10 Sam Windsor 11Deion Mikesell 12 Thretton Palamo (C) 13 Josua Vici 14 Malacchi Esdale 15 Osea Kolinisau 16 Amro Gouda 17 Paul Mullen 18 Jake Turnbull 19 Robert Meeson 20 Luke Beauchamp 21 Chris Coyle 22 Zach Pangelinan 23 Kelly Kolberg + Interim Head Coach Paul Emerick
Glendale Raptors: 1 Blake Rogers 2 Zach Fenoglio 3 Noah Barker 4 Brendan Daly (VC) 5 6 Jason Damm 7 Malon Al-Jiboori 8 Murphy Taramai 9 Shaun Davies (C) 10 Ata Malifa 11 Harley Davidson 12 Robbie Petzer 13 Chad London 14 Mika Kruse 15 Dylan Taikato-Simpson 16 Chad Gough17 Max Lum 18 Kody O’Neil 19 William Munro 20 Connor Cook 21 Carlo De Nysschen 22 Will Magie 23 Campbell Johnstone + Head Coach David Williams