Photo by Rodney Chen – UltiPhotos.com
Last Sunday afternoon, the Rainmakers defeated the San Francisco Dogfish, 20-14.
Coming off a bye week and a full week off practices, the Rainmakers (2-2) beat the Dogfish (1-4) at Yellow Jacket Stadium in Berkeley, Calif. Game time temperatures were in the low 60s with a steady wind around 10 miles per hour.
The Rainmakers began the game on offense, working into the wind. After an impressive layout D by James Yeager of the Dogfish and a quick score, the Rainmakers were down 1-0 early. The game would see many turnovers by both offenses.
“Both offenses had miscues,” said Danny Trytiak. “Ours were down field in the long game, while the Dogfish had theirs in the handler set.”
The Rainmakers would answer quickly to tie it at 1-1. The offense was happy to have Khalif El-Salaam back as they looked early to integrate him, and he touched the disc frequently in the ensuing points. Downfield miscues in the handler set would lead to floaty discs and two subsequent stalls on the Rainmakers, resulting in the Dogfish getting an early lead up 4-1.
As they’ve done before, the Rainmakers would turn to their D-line to play offense. The pressure from the defense led to two scores before the quarter finished out, Rainmakers down 3-4.
“Defense was great by both teams,” said Trytiak. “I don’t think wind was as much a factor as the gritty defense.”
“It was exciting to see D-line players like Clay Dewey-Valentine, Sam Pickel and Evan Klein really step up the way we wanted them to in previous weeks,” said Mark Burton.
Seattle tied the game to start the second quarter after a travel on a San Francisco huck led to a short field. San Francisco answered back with a quick score of their own to re-take the lead. This would turn out to be the last lead for San Francisco as six different Rainmakers scored, taking Seattle into the locker room up 10-6.
“It is a good thing when the wealth of experience and skill is so deep that we can go to the second and third string players and still have success,” said Seattle GM Rusty Brown.
As the clouds broke coming out of halftime, the miscues for the Dogfish handlers continued, but an ill-placed huck by Henry Phan gave them the disc right back. Confident and patient offense would allow San Francisco to score and bring the game within three, 10-7 Rainmakers.
San Francisco scored again on a turnover from Seattle to cut the lead to two, but they never came closer than that in the remaining minutes of the game. The Rainmakers would score the next four goals as Klein began to show his downfield dominance. Ben Beehner joined in on the goal sharing, and the Rainmakers operned their lead to six as they went up 15-9. San Francisco answered with an upwind goal past a diving Jeff Pape to end the third quarter down 15-10.
All told the Seattle defensive handlers amassed half the assists for the game.
“With Eddie Feeley being gone there was more work for myself, Phan and Pickel to do,” said Dewey-Valentine. “We just stepped up and got it done when it mattered.”
Seattle kept the pressure on and tried to open more of a lead, but continuous misses on deep looks saw the teams trading goals on long points 17-12. Pickel then inspired his team and the sideline with a poach block with his foot before the Rainmakers could break with a diving catch by Beehner, bringing the score to 18-12. They traded out to end the game 20-14. By the end, 12 different Rainmakers found the end zone for goals.
This week saw two new faces join the Rainmakers on the field, Robin Breen and Kai Marcus. Breen is coming off an impressive season with the University of Washington Sundodgers, while Marcus is the youngest player in the league having just turned 18 at the end of April.
“I definitely had jitters, which I don’t get anymore in college or club games,” said Breen of his first pro experience. “But once I got my hands on the disc things calmed down for me.”
“It’s crazy to travel down for just one game and be back home within 24 hours, but it’s really cool as well,” said Marcus.
Look for the rookies to continue to see playing time as the Rainmakers are on the road again next week in Vancouver against the Nighthawks (1-3). Get your tickets here.