The last week review in Durham before heading to Sunny South Florida!!! First must address the night of December 3rd, spent watching the Durham University Orchestra. I have never been to an Orchestra and neither has my teammate, Ben Reinartz, whom joined in the night of festivities. Without knowing what to expect, DU Orchestra did not disappoint. The coordination and timing by all players was incredible. Watching the lead violinists play, her fingers were moving so fast, but precisely and with purpose. That is when I realized for them it was game night. All the hours put into practice, this was their time to shine under the lights and they put on a great first show. Durham leads the nation in the Music department, I am glad I was able to experience my first Orchestra with the talented students of Durham. I will upload some videos, from our “balcony” seats, for you all to capture a glimpse of their play as well.
Once the orchestra was over though locked in. The game everyone was waiting for. Literally one of the first words I hear when I arrived to Durham was “Stirling”. They have won multiple championships and never lost a home regular season game since moving up to the Premiere in BUCS. We know this one is going to be a dogfight; our team may have 9 American players. But the other 13 players that start are first or second year players. Stirling on the other hand gets their imports from European nations, guys that have played in the professional leagues in their respective countries. Now onto the game, from the beginning looked like a shootout may ensue. After a few key stops and big day kicking from Mikey Grace, we were able to go into half with a 14-point lead. Never comfortable we widened that lead to 20. Stirling brought the game back within 13, but that is the best they could do. As the time expired, The Durham Saints has done something no team has done. Being here for 3 months the game was emotional, seeing the players that have lost to them two-three years in a row, this was a big day. With that win we earned the #1 spot in the power rankings. The target was now on our back.
15326264_1477839772230348_7717199828854256851_oDecember 11th, Derby comes to Durham. “New money vs. New-New Money” is how the game was titled from outsiders. Derby has 5 Americans, which helped them beat Stirling in the first game of the season. We knew we had our work cut out for us. An absolute shootout it turned out to be. Went into halftime tied 20-20. There never was a sense of doubt though. We always had the edge we controlled the shootout. We would score then they would score, so it all came down to the last possession. 1 minute 25 seconds left as we start the drive on our 40-yard line. A couple smart plays by the Quarterback, Dominic Bona, kept the drive alive. We huddle up after a timeout and realized they are in man coverage, take our shot. Chaz Dawson whom has been explosive for us all season, kept a little in the tank to bring home this victory. Dom tosses up the pass, it is anyone’s’ ball, the defender makes a play but Chaz sticks with it and brings it down with 40 seconds to go in the game. We go for the 2-point Conversion; Matt Brigham brought out his inner Tim Riggins and muscled the ball in after breaking a couple tackles in the backfield. Derby with nothing but prayer left saw themselves fall to Durham as Chaz once again sealed off the game with an interception. 4-0 feels good.15592075_10211050935807254_1301978017_n
Now it is time for all of us to enjoy the break and get healthy/better. The next couple blogs may be written by some of our other Durham scholars, because I will be in Florida. Of course, I will write and post my Sunny vacation with family. However, I would love for you all to hear about the Holiday experience in England. Until next time, keep working, the Holidays are near!

Have a great week!