Cottage Grove, WI–Hamilton wasn’t supposed to challenge DSHA this season. In their previous meetings, Hamilton lost 78-0 (2019) and 86-0 (2018). Hamilton had never scored a try against DSHA’s A-side. But that all changd in the state semi-final, as Hamilton lead with only seven minutes remaining. But a well placed kicked to wing by DSHA gave them the momemntum to go ahead and despite a valient effort, the Chargers lost 17-22 in a game with many similaries to one played in 2017.
DSHA opened the scoring in the first two minutes of the game, 0-5, as Hamilton attempted to collect themselves after starting the game with early jitters. Twenty minutes later Hamilton answered with a try of their own as Rachel Rank became the first Hamilton player to score against DSHA’s A-side, and her sister made the conversion putting the Chargers up by two.
Minutes later, Olivia George, playing in her first 15s season, added another to put the Chargers up 12-5.
At the end of the half, Hamilton had the ball and was pinned on their own tryline. The team desperately wanted to kick the ball into touch and end the half, but the ref thought WGR halves were 35 minutes instead 30, and the team frantically tried to run out the clock, eventually kicking the ball away to DSHA who would go on to score a try in those extra minutes, ending a long half at 12-10.
The moment was eeirely similar to the teams’ first meeting when the inaugural Hamilton squad (2017) played DSHA’s B-side during the regular season. The ref of that game made the same mistake, allowing DSHA to score at the end of the first half. That game had a better ending, as Hamilton wing Lauren Leonardi went on “The Run,” a nearly length-of-the-field run on the last play of the game to put in the go-ahead try.
Things looked good at the start of the second half as Rachel Rank got that try back and put the Chargers up 17-10, but a perfectly placed kick-to-wing by DSHA closed the gap to two points and a play off a scrum put DSHA ahead 17-22 with minutes to play.
Hamilton was able to get the ball back and Hamilton wing Jasia Torres was able to go a long run of her own before she was tackled out of bounds. The ref blew the final whistle, as “The Run” was not able to be replicated.
Hamilton’s loss kept them from advancing to their first state final game. They will now play in the 3rd place game against the newly-formed Green Bay team.