Air Force Zooms Past Davenport

Air Force Academy shut down Davenport 40-27 to win the 2018 Women’s D1 College fall championship, showcasing some impressive and balanced play in the process.

Watch Air Force vs Davenport On-Demand

Air Force won the fall title two years ago, but observers would be forgiven for assuming they’d have more trouble against a big, physical Davenport squad. They didn’t. Air Force looked much more powerful in tight than they did two years ago, or even last year, and were far more polished out wide than the young Panthers.

Early on Air Force signaled an intention to attack, and after No. 8 Sierra DeHart kicked a penalty goal, a break from center Sara Cook got Air Force back in scoring position, Cook finished it off with a scything run to pay dirt.

DeHart added another penalty as Air Force methodically built a lead, and then another long break from Cook led to Kaylee Eskeli to come in support and zip into the corner.


Davenport had to sub off starting prop Alexis King at 24 minutes and things got worse for them as time went on. Cook sliced through for another, and it wasn’t until the 30th minute that Davenport scored any points - scrumhalf Oliva Ortiz soaring through bodies to score from short range.

Prop Ashley Willsea powered over for another Davenport try, and at 23-10 the Panthers went into the halftime break feeling like they might have some momentum.


That feeling was crushed in the space of ten minutes as scrappy flanker Adrienne Yoder pushed aside tackler after tackler as she ran in two tries. That made it 35-15, and Air Force was in control.

For Davenport, the backline links didn’t quite fire, and too often the Panthers weren’t able to get numbers to the ball when there was a line break. 

Ortiz was a firebrand, and No. 8 Mariah Pruitt produced key carries, but as a unit Davenport didn’t have the pace out wide, or the unity and power in tight.


That unity belonged to Air Force. Hooker Domonique Gordon and lock Zoe Barnette led a hard-working group in the rucks, and the backline combination of Rhiannon Townsend, Elizabeth Laboe, and the long-striding Cook tested the Davenport defense.

It was a victory, perhaps, also for college club rugby. Davenport is a non-varsity sport at the school - administration-supported but not officially varsity. Air Force, a club team on campus, didn’t let the status affect them and handled Davenport physically and tactical.

Air Force 40

Tries: Cook 2, Yoder 3, Eskeli

Convs: DeHart 2

Pens: DeHart 2


Davenport 27

Tries: Ortiz 2, Willsea, Overbeek, Bird
Convs: Ortiz


Rugby Rules 101: What Does "Ruck" Mean?

For new players to the game of rugby, the concept of a "ruck" can be a tricky one to apprehend, as there is no other sport that involves rucking. However, once you've got a clearer picture of a ruck, also known as a "breakdown", it's a relatively easy thing to understand. 

Premiership Rugby Eyes Mid-August Return

Following the league shutdown due to coronavirus in March, the Gallagher Premiership looks set for a return to action on August 15th. One week ago, UK government officials announced that elite-level sports would be able to resume on June 1st behind closed doors. 

The 5 Best Women's Rugby Shorts

Having a comfortable pair of rugby shorts can greatly impact one’s performance during training and games. When choosing shorts, you want to take into consideration the fit and the durability, especially if you’re going to be in the scrum. The last thing you would want is for your shorts to rip during a scrum because the fabric was not durable enough. In addition to the durability, you want to make sure the shorts are breathable and comfortable for tackling, running, and potentially kicking. If you’re in the market for a new pair of shorts, here are five different types of shorts that you can check out:

Rugby vs Soccer: Former SEC Soccer Player Compares The Two

One of the great things about rugby is that it's a multi-skilled sport which lends itself well to crossover athletes. Particularly in a sports-mad country like the United States, we see tons of players seamlessly make the transition from other sports to rugby. 

How To Throw A Great Rugby Pass

Throwing a great pass can carve up a defense unlike any other facet of the game in rugby. A well-timed, well-placed ball puts a defense under enormous pressure and causes fractures in the defensive line. As long as the ball is placed accurately, on time, and in a position that the receiver can catch the ball on the move without breaking stride, it doesn't matter what it looks like. Heck, if we're looking at football, think of Peyton Manning's passes. One of the best quarterbacks in the history of the game rarely threw a spiral, but he did tick the boxes of accurate, on time, and in stride. 

Some Useful Rugby Passing Drills

Here is a quick, easy passing progression that will help you and your team sharpen your distribution skills and carve opponents up on the weekends. Even the best defenses in the world cannot defend near-perfect passing, so having the ability to run-catch-pass is one of the most lethal weapons in the book. 

We Stand With You

The events of the last week have been tremendously painful to us all.

Rugby Drills That Keep Your Social Distance

As of June 1st, many rugby teams have been granted the option of getting together to conduct practice. However, the practices must adhere to the six feet social distancing rules and players are not allowed to use any equipment. Therefore, options for a practice plan are going to be extremely limited, but that doesn't mean you can't still get some good out of having the team together. 

Bring Em Down: How To Tackle Big Guys In Rugby

For many of rugby players out there, especially us smaller ones, we're all too familiar with the sight of a large, rampaging big man or woman lined up across from us about to get the ball. Our fight or flight instincts kick in, and in that moment of instinctual reaction we dictate the likelihood that the tackle does or does not get made. 

Step By Step Guide: How To Break Tackles In Rugby

One of the best ways to completely unhinge a defense is to beat your defender one on one with a step or a tackle bust. While not all of us can step like Cheslin Kolbe, we do all have the ability to break a tackle and get our team on the front foot. No matter your size, speed, or strength, you can always bust out of a tackle with some clever use of footwork and a trust in your balance.