Back on June 5th, the boys from Baton Rouge took one of their biggest traveling groups ever west on the I-10 for the third leg of their season series with the Houston Lonestars.
Conditions on the AC-less team bus were good for the majority of the trip, until Houston’s ugly traffic snarl reared its head and the Tigers got a light baking while slowly navigating construction. Conditions at the field weren’t much better than in the bus as an unrelenting sun poured down on Houston’s bite-sized pitch.
The small field and adjusted quarter lengths did help prevent any heat illnesses from striking players down on the afternoon. As usual, gunfire from the three surrounding firing ranges providing the atmosphere.
With each team fielding nearly 20 players and therefore enough subs to keep energy from flagging too much, the Tigers and Lonestars locked into a spirited affair.
Houston’s big ruckman displayed his continuing improvement by winning the majority of the hit-outs. While he provided good delivery to his on-ballers, the weight of the Tigers’ relative experience across the field was revealed as they collected most of the hard possessions and were able to find outlets quickly.
For the first time this season, Baton Rouge got a balanced contribution across the field. It showed on the scorecard with seven different Tigers notching goals. Despite passages of skanky play, the Tigers showed an improved ability to be patient and hit targets with kicking.
Big Daz Duhnke provided a compelling target at center half forward, using his height to mark over the smaller opposition and booting three to lead the scoring for the Old Blue and Gold. Jeff Horn had a quiet day in recording a solitary goal while his partner at full forward, Jeff “Peepers” Phillips played his best game of the season and put two between the big sticks.
Unfortunately, the Tigers experienced deja vu with their goal-kicking accuracy. Reminiscent to their first encounter with the Lonestars this season, Baton Rouge peppered the goal but turned in an awful conversion rate of 13 goals from 33 scoring shots.
Despite their scoring woes, the Tigers turned in good performances across the board, notably Duhnke and captain Kenny “Dragon Junior” DeLucca. Mickey Kleinhenz, who now leads the UsFootyNews.com MVP board, managed a quiet-ish but effective Best On Ground display.
For the Lonestars, coach Dan Holwerda proved irresistible in reeling in mark after mark, many of them contested, but he too was afflicted by sour boots in gathering more behinds than goals.
These two teams meet again this weekend, on June 19th at Clark Park in Baton Rouge for their fourth and final meeting of the season before making the stretch run together at Nationals.
Final score (accuracy unknown):
BR 13.20 (108) defeats Houston 5.10 (40)
Duhnke 3, Peepers 2, Ruben Nambo 2, Aaron LaRose 2, James “Irish” Morris 2, Kleinhenz, Horn
Baton Rouge Best:
Injuries: Dentinger (hamstring)