Photo by Scobel Wiggins – Ultiphotos.com
The Rainmakers will play the Stags in Portland this weekend for the chance to head East and play in the MLU Championship game. The Rainmakers lost to the Stags last Saturday in their last regular season game. While the 10-20 loss certainly stung, the Rainmakers are sure to play better this weekend. Last game they only had 18 players instead of their normal 30, and they were missing key handlers Daniel Trytiak and Henry Phan. The defensive turnover-and-scoring machine never got revved up, and Seattle’s lack of any break points certainly contributed to their loss.
After their loss last weekend, Clay Dewey-Valentine said it was “kind of surreal that we’re coming down next week to do the same thing.” He added that it was also exciting. “These guys [the Stags] are so fun to play against, and [the Rainmakers] are incredibly fun to play with. We get the culmination of all these great feelings and opportunities next week.” With a much fuller roster and fire in their bellies to win, the Rainmakers hope to exact their revenge on the Stags.
Two notable absences for the Rainmakers this game are Khalif El-Salaam, who is in London playing for the US Mixed team at World Ultimate and Guts Championships, and handler Eddie Feeley. There will be a few Stags out for this game. Handlers Jeremy Norden and Grant Cole aren’t playing; Norden is on the inactive list and Cole is doubtful after a hand injury. Super scorer Raphy Hayes is listed as probable, though he’s had some hip issues that kept him from playing many points the past few games.
The Rainmakers and Stags met for the West Coast Championship game last year as well. In a close game, the Rainmakers overpowered the Stags 17-16. Last season they also lost their three games against the Stags, just as they have this year. The Rainmakers have a better record overall this year, having won all their other games against the rebuilding San Francisco Dogfish and Vancouver Nighthawks.
Seattle is great when they are fired up and can get their defensive line working for them, but they falter somewhat if the defense doesn’t get going or they have trouble with their mental game. Will the underdog Rainmakers be able to stop the mighty Stags for a second year in a row? The Rainmakers will have to be on point in this game to succeed, and perhaps their yearning to beat the Stags will help them come out on top of a dominant Stags team this year.