April 27, 2024

Maine Makes stunning comeback to win DII Championship

Two All-Tournament selections played a huge role in this year’s DII finals as the Maine Black Bears squared off against the Georgetown Hoyas and their top players went toe-to-toe in a tightly contested match. Maine’s Shea Wagner and Georgetown’s Quinn Zebrowski played their way onto a star-studded list that included a seven-time try scorer and a deadly accurate kicker who nailed 10 conversion kicks on the weekend.

Rory Naylor - Coastal Carolina

Bailey Indursky - Colorado Mesa

Thomas Hingerty - Montana State

Shea Wagner - Maine

Dom Holmes - IUP

Quinn Zebrowski - Georgetown

Danny Zawalich - UNC-Wilmington

The University of Maine came into the Championship facing a Georgetown team that had just beaten two-time DII defending champion IUP in the semifinal, making the Hoyas a daunting opponent. To make matters worse, Maine went down by two scores well into the second half. But the Black Bears weren’t phased, and mounted an epic comeback to beat the Hoyas 19-14 and capture the 2024 DII Championship.

Georgetown drew first blood in the game with an explosive try by All-Tournament selection Zebrowski, but Maine answered right back when their own All-Tournament player, Wagner, picked up a loose ball and scored from five meters out. The conversion gave Maine a 7-5 lead. Unfortunately, the Black Bears’ lead would not last long. Georgetown scored two consecutive tries, including one with a man advantage after a Maine yellow card. The Hoyas failed to make any conversions, leading to a 15-7 score. It was then that Maine would start their comeback. First, Brett Benham ran through Georgetown’s defense to score a converted try, putting Maine down by only one score. Then, with no time remaining, Benham again got the ball and scored the game-winning try in the corner. Wagner was named the game's MVP. 

Maine were battle-hardened heading into the final match as they survived a hotly-contested match against a solid Scranton side in the semifinal to earn their shot at the championship. In that game Benham showed off his skills, picking off a Scranton pass to score a 60-meter try, while Wagner would also score a try and make both of his conversion attempts. Senan Price and Patrick George both scored for Scranton, but a missed conversion would end up being costly, and the Black Bears came away with a 14-12 victory. In the other semifinal, Georgetown shut out last year's champion IUP 26-0. Four different players scored tries for the Hoyas, and Isaac Greenspan made three conversions. 

The other finals were less chaotic than the Cup matches. UNC Wilmington beat Montana State 12-7, with Carey Cortes and Remi Roderick scoring for the Seahawks. In the Plate final, Colorado Mesa closed out their tournament with a decisive 31-10 victory over Coastal Carolina. Bailey Indursky scored a hat trick for the Mavericks, while Tom Gauweiler contributed two tries of his own in the win. In the Shield Final, Appalachian State beat St. Louis 12-10. Cameron Silvers and Andrew La Bar both scored tries for the Mountaineers, and La Bar’s made conversion ended up being the deciding factor in the game.


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