2017 Ruggles Cup Summary

After three months of hard training, the Tigers left Baton Rouge Friday night in search of their first live action of the USAFL season. After taking in the sights and sounds of beautiful Houston, Texas, they made their way to Cullen Park for their annual showdown with the Lonestars.

The Tigers’ first match of the day for the Ruggles Cup was against a Houston squad that just defeated Tulsa/OKC by a comfortable margin. It was easy to see that the Lonestars continued to fire on all cylinders early in the first half as the Tigers struggled for answers to slow down the Houston midfielders and keep the ball out of our defensive 50. After several halftime adjustments, and with some encouragement from Coach Heintze, the second half saw a group of Tigers playing with an increased confidence and intensity around the ball that helped them to win a few more contests and eventually kick 2.2.14 for the match. However, it was not enough to stop the Lonestars from kicking 12.7.79 and retaining the Ruggles Cup for 2017. Tigers Best: Ryan Baldasarro

The Tigers took a few breaths and regrouped to face off against Tulsa/OKC in their second game. We expected a tough, well coached club to make the trip down from Tulsa and they did not disappoint. However, the adjustments made in the second half of the first match were carried over into this contest, and there was no lack of intensity to be found from the Tigers in this one. As a result, the Tigers had more success moving the ball forward to impact the scoreboard than the Buffaloes. In the end, we pulled out our first victory of the season with a final of 7.7.49 to 3.5.23. Tigers Best: Austin LeBouef

All three clubs and supporters gathered at The Pheonix on Westheimer to celebrate the day. Meat pies were devoured, ice cold beers were drank, and rookies did their shots! A wonderful way to end a fantastic day of footy!

 

Next up: St. Pete/Tampa Bay on May 6th at 2pm at Clark Park in Baker, LA.

2017 Ruggles Cup Preview

In memory of our late, great, teammate, opponent, and friend Craig Ruggles, the Annual Ruggles Cup between the Houston Lonestars & Baton Rouge Tigers will take pace on April 22nd. This day also commemorates ANZAC Day, where the AFL in Australia remembers the Australian & New Zealand soldiers lost at Gallipoli in WWI.

This year, the Tulsa Buffalos will also be joining for a 3-way tournament.

When the Baton Rouge Tigers faced off against Houston and Tulsa in 2016, the contests were notable for lopsided contests. In the 2016 Ruggles Cup, Houston kept the Tigers on their heels and off the scoreboard, coming away with a commanding 4.7.31 to 0.0.0 victory. However, when the teams faced each other again in Baton Rouge in September, Baton Rouge held serve, running away with a 6.9.45 to 0.2.2 home victory.

In 2016, the Tigers would not meet the Buffaloes until Day 2 of Nationals. In what was effectively the season finale for both squads, the Tigers ran away with it to the tune of 11.4.70 to 1.0.6.

With plenty of offseason acquisitions and departures for all three teams, everyone is eager to test their progress in their first USAFL games this season.

The action commences at 11:00 when Houston takes on Tulsa. The full game schedule is:
11.00am – Houston vs Tulsa
12.00pm – Houston vs Baton Rouge
1.00pm – Baton Rouge vs Tulsa
2.00pm – All-Comers Game

Stay tuned for updates.

Tampa Bay Match Summary

After an hour delay to the start of the match, the Tigers came out firing in the first quarter. However, even while dominating both possession and time in the forward 50, they failed to do damage on the scoreboard. Tampa Bay showed little effects from their long road trip and kept it close, only trailing by one point at quarter-time. Both sides showed an equal willingness to hit every contest hard and this set the tone for the entire match.

The second quarter was another back and forth affair. Tampa Bay was winning slightly more clearances out of center than the Tigers but failed to impact the scoreboard in a major way as the Tiger defense proved capable of creating turnovers and rebounding up the sideline. The Tigers went into halftime with a 7 point lead.

As the third-quarter began so did the monsoon. Both sides struggled to maintain possession in the new and difficult wet conditions. However, the relief from the heat was welcome and evident in the players ability to maintain a frantic back and forth pace as goals were hard to come by as the rain continued to fall. The Tigers were able to maintain their lead but the contest was still close with less than two goals separating the two sides.

Early in the fourth-quarter the rain ceased and the Tigers began raining goals. Tampa Bay put up a strong resistance midway through the quarter and began to steal the momentum with a few back to back goals. In the end, the Tigers maintained their run the longest and finished out the match with their own set of back to back goals to come away with a 23 point victory. A great example of a team win! Well done Tigers!

Final Score: Baton Rouge 12.9.81 – Tampa Bay 9.4.58

Tigers Best on Ground for the day: Josh Cartmill, Austin LeBouef, Ryan Baldassaro, Ryan Moran, and first gamer Nathan Martinez.

Thanks to all the supporters that braved both the heat and monsoon to watch our first home match of the season! Also, a huge thanks to those that helped umpire and set-up the after party. Neither the match nor the celebrations would have been possible without you. Finally, we would like to thank Tin Roof Brewery for allowing us to celebrate at their Tap Room. Here’s to many more!

-Josh

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Ruggles Cup

It was a great game today in honor of our not forgotten teammate, opponent, and good friend Craig Ruggles.

The football today was played in really awesome spirits. Just tough hard football and no spite. Great stuff guys. We fought to the end and we really worked hard. Each and every tiger needs to feel they played well because we did. It’s time to break the shackles and play Aussie Rules. We can play hard without killing our teammates. Sure head clashing and accidents happen. Time to get down to business at practice and match practice.

Out of the 3 teams we had no one left on the bench. Really awesome game. Really good spectacle for our sport for US footy. Loved watching the game and it’s a joy to talk tactics with each every one of you. I’m ready for a beer now.

-Coach Stebbing (The Legend)

I think we all got some valuable experience playing against two very good clubs in Houston and Austin. Now it’s time to get back to work and build on what we’ve started. Training this week will be Tuesday and Thursday at 6pm at Westdale Middle School. Then on Saturday we will continue our Spring Metro with Week 6 at 1pm on the LSU Parade Grounds. Come out and get involved!

-Josh

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