Friday, September 11, 2015

Here Comes A New Challenger: Canton Opens DIV Season Against Cleveland

After an historic season last year, the Canton Rugby Football Club begins its title defense in the Midwest DIV Tri-State on Saturday with an opening match against the newly-formed Cleveland Crusaders.

Last fall the Maddogs went a perfect 8-0 in the division and rode that success to the team’s first ever Final Four playoff appearance. Canton will look to build on that success and make a second appearance in the playoffs in 2016. Competition is much tougher in the division this year with the addition of the Cleveland Crusaders. The Westmoreland Highlanders also add some difficulty to the season’s proceedings. On top of these tough opponents, the Maddogs will have to overcome Youngstown Steel Valley, Greensburg and North Central WVa in order to make it back to the Final Four.

"This season brings a new set of challenges for the team,” said Head Coach Dan Sturtz. “We will have a target on our back because of our success last year. We want to defend our title and play well each week, and get back to the playoffs in the spring. It will be a challenge, not only from last year’s teams, but also the two new teams in the division. Each week will be physically demanding, as all of these teams are going to give us their best."

"We are looking forward to getting things started after a great season this past spring,” said the Maddogs’ Captain Gabe Mullane. “Saturday will be a great opportunity for us to continue to develop the club, as veterans build on their success and our newcomers get game experience as well. Cleveland is an excellent team. We are excited to start our season off against them."

Canton's home matches will be played at Weis Park, with kickoff beginning at 1:00pm. The maddogs will host a number of matches this fall, starting off with Cleveland on Saturday. Later in the season, NCWV come to Canton on October 3, followed by Greensburg on October 10 and Westmoreland on October 17.

The Maddogs will travel to Youngstown on September 19 and then to Greensburg on October 24. The final road match for the Maddogs will bookend the season with a second match against the Cleveland Crusaders on October 31.

Following the winter break, play will resume on April 2, 2016, when the Maddogs host Youngstown. Canton will travel to Westmoreland on April 9 after that, followed by the season finale on April 16 at NCWV.

For more information on Canton Rugby, log on to the Canton Rugby Web site or email the team.

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