FREE JACKS DELIVER LATE TO DEFEAT CHICAGO IN FIRST EVER MATCHUP 31-19
Fullback Spencer Jones makes a big break
New England Free Jacks VS Chicago Hounds
Veterans Memorial Stadium, Quincy, MA
Final score: Free Jacks 31, Hounds 19
Free Jacks Player of the Match: Reece MacDonald was a force throughout the day both as a fly-half and with adding four points on conversion kicks.
Free Jacks Play of the Match: Soon after entering the game in the second half, Le Roux Malan’s long sprint to the try line put the Free Jacks ahead to stay in the 59th minute after Chicago had rallied from down 12-0 for a 14-12 lead.
What it Means With the victory and the five-try bonus New England picked up five points in the match and extended its lead atop the Eastern Conference with a 5-2 record.
Up Next The Free Jacks will travel to Toronto for a 6 p.m. match on April 22
Sam Fischli And Jesse Parete greet fans after a big home win.
Full Match Report
QUINCY, MA – The New England Free Jacks took a strong counterpunch from the expansion Chicago Hounds before delivering a late barrage of big plays and defensive stands on their way to a 31-19 victory at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
Hooker Foster DeWitt powered in with what proved to be the game-winning try in the 67th minute on the man advantage as the Free Jacks took a 24-14 lead. DeWitt took a feed from Joel Hintz to put New England up 10 as part of a 19-5 run over the game’s final 21 minutes.
The Free Jacks picked up five points with the four-try bonus and improved to 5-2 while strengthening their lead atop the Eastern Conference. Chicago dropped to 1-6.
New England bookended the game with dominance as 90 percent of the first 20 minutes were spent in Chicago territory in building a 12-0 lead, then took control late after the Hounds had rallied for a 14-12 edge early in the second half.
Center Le Roux Malan’s long sprint to the try line halted the 14-0 Chicago run and put the Free Jacks ahead to stay up 19-14 following a Reece MacDonald conversion kick in the 59th minute. DeWitt and the Free Jacks then took advantage of a 10-minute man advantage because of a penalty for the try eight minutes later that put them ahead 24-14.
Chicago got five points back when Hugh Roach scored off a 5-meter line-out in the 73rd minute. But Malan then helped put the match away when he delivered a long kick from midfield ahead of streaking wing Paula Balekana, who got behind the defense for an easy pick up at the try line and touch for a 31-19 lead in the 76th minute.
New England’s defense held strong in the final seconds as Chicago pushed for a four-try bonus point and possible close-loss bonus point, but the Free Jacks put up a wall at the try line to stymie the consolation bid.
Scrumhalf John Poland raced to the far pylon out of the scrum for a 5-0 lead in the 10th minute and, after New England had a goal disallowed on video review in the 22nd minute, flanker Mitchell Jacobson took a feed from hooker Andew Quattrin and ran through the uprights for a seven-point try and 12-0 a minute later.
But Chicago took advantage of some New England turnovers to regain its footing toward the end of the half and cut the gap to 12-7 in the 36th minute on a J.P. Eloff try and Chris Mattina conversion kick.
The Hounds took the lead about 10 minutes into the second half when Luke White scored and a Mattina conversion kick made it 14-12, then turned the Free Jacks away at the try line when Billy Meaks showed his power in preventing a grounding for a score in the 57th minute.
But the Free Jacks regained control from there on their way to a fifth victory on the season while wearing their 2023 City Jerseys honoring Quincy and New England’s rich maritime history.