Unfortunately for us, we hadn’t seen a truly competitive game until at the beginning of our third round at Tally Classic. That’s not to say that there weren’t any, just none that we were witness to.
That was all to change as we watched the Notre Dame Papal Rage face off against the Georgia Southern Eagles. Notre Dame won the Tally Classic last year and were certainly one of the favorites to win the tournament again this year but Georgia Southern’s results so far this season indicate that they are a team that is capable of playing on just about any level.
In the end though, Notre Dame’s experience would come out on top as Papal Rage won by a count of 13-8.
Another theme of the day was the rustiness of the top northern teams that were coming to Florida to enjoy the sunshine and warmth. Those teams being the likes of Virginia, Notre Dame and Michigan State. All three had shaky starts to the day and all three attributed those starts, at least in some part, to a lack of outdoor playing time this season.
Papal Rage was certainly not immune, on the first point a Notre Dame huck landed out of bounds and Georgia Southern took quick advantage, opening the game with a break.
“We’re making a lot of bad decisions,” Notre Dame captain Andrew Schroeder said. “We’re trying a lot of throws that we have indoors but don’t have outdoors.”
However, in spite of the rocky start ND picked the pieces right back up and ran off three straight goals to take a 3-1 lead.
The last of those three goals went just past the finger tips of a fully extended Dan Jones and Georgia Southern’s captain turned his competitive juices on afterwards. On the next point Jones touched the disc three times and on his third touch, sent an outside-in flick into the endzone, hitting his receiver in stride.
Jones’ team, seeing their captain fired up, followed suit, by getting two breaks in a row and then hanging on to the one point lead until ND regained it at 6-5. The teams traded scores to halftime and then it was time for Rage to be inspired by its captains as Schroeder got a layout block and found his roommate/co-captain Michael Banning in the endzone for a score to break GSU to start the second half and take an 8-6 lead.
Banning wasn’t done yet though, throughout the course of the rest of the game he would grab two more layout blocks and throw two more scores. Notre Dame rolled for the majority of the second half. The final tally, 13-8, left Jones with a bitter taste in his mouth.
“In the first half we played well,” Jones said. “But in the second half, our offense struggled, we couldn’t score upwind when we had to.”