With contributions from Alex Cooper and Ian Toner
This past weekend’s Boston Invite pitted top teams from the New England and Mid Altantic Regions against each other in an early season/late tryout setting. Boston Ironside pulled out a 15-12 victory over GOAT in the final, with PoNY and Southpaw also making semis. In lieu of a complete write up here are some notes on the top teams.
- Peter Prial has taken over the role previously held by Jeff Graham, making every other cut; he was impressive and able to get open almost anywhere
- Newcomers Jon Hirschberger and Alex Kapinos (both from Bodhi) are making an immediate impact (although Kapinos will be gone with NexGen all summer)
- D-line didn’t look as cohesive without Stubbs and Mahoney, but even in their absence the line still consistently got D’s (they just couldn’t always punch in the break)
- Rusty Ingold-Smith appears to be on the team, but there are rumors that he needs MCL surgery this summer (approx. one month recovery time is the word on the street)
- O-line anchored by captain Heijmen looks to have a lot of chemistry early in the season
- They’re still a volatile bunch, subject to the ebbs and flows of momentum and playing swings, which might be related to their mental game
- Truck Stop
- They are a very balanced team, unlike the Truck Stop of old that could depend (at times) on one big playmaker (cough*Stout*cough)
keep a leadstay in the game against Southpaw in quarters. This could be due to their lack of experience playing together, but down the road they can’t let games like that slip away.
- Their player blog has some reflections on the weekend.
- They went 1-1 v Pony, 0-2 v Ironside, and 1-0 v Regional rival Truck Stop; though their Semis loss to Ironside was the most lopsided BI semis defeat since 06
- Their O-line is anchored by former Ironside and Pike player Trey Katzenbach, who, despite his age, is still making young defenders look silly
- Adrian Yearwood shined in the main handler role, breaking and running the offense almost at will
- John Hassell still looks good, making teams adjust to his playing style
- Despite their success, they still can’t seem to get Ironside’s number–the story of the BI for the last few years. GOAT lost to Boston twice at Cazenovia before losing in the finals of BI and as far as this past weekend goes, Ironside was in control the whole time.
Savage’s First Shots tournament, held outside Charleston, SC, was more of a Ring practice than anything else, with some second- and lower-tier teams along for the ride.
- Ring X (Team “Fire”) and Ring Y (Team “Ring”) dominated the competition. Ring Y prevailed in both crossover and championship play, but no one would confirm that the split in teams was decisively O/D, as the team leadership still appears to be pinpointing roles for newcomers. None of the new college players/additions from UNCW, UVA, Duke, or UNC looked out of place, which is encouraging for Ring. If there’s any other takeaway, it’s that Josh Mullen is still stupid fast.
- Tanasi brought a 14-man squad led by Tyler Conger; one player was a tryout, and there were ten rostered players unable to attend. It’s safe to say that Tanasi’s FS results don’t reflect the true potential of this squad.
- The same can be said for the Virginia Squires, led by Matt King and Justin Webster. They brought a 24 man squad, with roughly ½ the team being tryouts that ended up not making the final roster. Twelve rostered players were unable to attend, and Matt King missed most of Saturday with a back injury.
- Six Pack appeared to be comprised of a number of current and former Jojah and South Carolina players, and they were in much sharper form than other teams on their level (or maybe below their level at this tournament), like Squires, Tanasi, and El Diablo.
- El Diablo does not appear to be the champies qualifier that it once was, but the team could compete with Six Pack and Tanasi (among others) for one of the higher spots in South region placement play come Series time. They were smart in using their four man cup to trap handlers on the downwind side whenever the breezes came from the shores of Folley Beach (nothing new, but noteworthy and somewhat effective at this tournament).