One thing synonymous with being a Waterdog is the ability to find success in places where most may drop their head. And boy did the Dawgs do just that against the Aspen Gentleman over the weekend. At kick-off, the visiting Dawgs were made up of just 13 true Waterdogs, 1 Vail transplant, and an Aspen Gent helping to round out the starting (and only) 15. Much like the drive back through Independence Pass, this motley crew of purple and gold had a huge mountain to climb.
A Slow Start
With an opposing squad of 35 players, Aspen was certainly ready for the challenge and it showed immediately. The starting lock for the Gents recovered the kick-off on the full and took it straight to the house leaving a wake of Dawgs in disbelief. The match had gotten off to a start far below the standard that was deserving of the Dawg's magnificent new kit, fortunately, a full regroup happened in an almost immediate response. Fullback Jermaine Huddleston struck back within minutes to put the Dawgs on the scoreboard. In a continued stretch of good fortune, two Waterdog stragglers that may have camped a little too hard the night before showed up to bring the roster up to 16. After 40 minutes played, the Waterdogs led 33-26 - largely in part to the immense relief all players had knowing there was now a spare set of boots on the sideline.
A Big Second Half
Whether it was the rousing halftime speech from over-qualified head coach Sarah Chobot or the fact that boys really just started to enjoy their rugby, the Dawgs came out of the gate uncharacteristically fresh for the Aspen altitude ready to put up a huge second half. Offloads were flying from fingertips, tackles were bone-crunching, and most importantly there was a level of skill that was rearing its head from a base layer that weeks of tough practices had forged. Tries that started as a trickle eventually became a monsoon as the Dawgs piled on score after score, much to the delight of their head coach. With a final score of 71-33 in favor of Denver's finest, spirits were high after the final bell. An enormous shout-out to the Gents is in order for the incredible facility and feed they put on post-match.