UTAH WARRIORS

Hodgson’s Kicks Lift Utah Warriors To Comeback Win Over Free Jacks

Mar 31, 2023, 10:04 PM | Updated: Apr 3, 2023, 12:51 pm

HERRIMAN – The Utah Warriors came back in the second half with a pair of kicks from Joel Hodgson and beat the visiting New England Free Jacks.

The Warriors hosted the Free Jacks at Zions Bank Stadium on Friday, March 31.

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Utah beat New England, 26-24.

The Warriors started the contest on a positive note and jumped out to an early lead in the opening minutes of play. During the fourth minute, Hodgson got Utah on the board by making a penalty kick.

As the game entered the 11th minute of action, the Free Jacks responded with a made kick of their own to knot the scoreboard at 3-3.

In the 17th minute, Onehunga Havili powered his way into the try zone and downed the ball for the match’s first try. Havili’s strong effort pushed Utah in front of New England and a conversion kick by Hodgson made the Warriors’ lead, 10-3.

A few minutes later, the Free Jacks responded with a try of their own. Following a conversion, the game was once again tied, this time at 10-10.

Midway through the 25th minute, the Warriors worked the ball to the near sideline and into the hands of Joe Mano. The winger sprinted down the field before tricking the New England defense with a fake pass. After the fake, Mano down the ball for Utah’s second try of the evening. Hodgson missed the subsequent conversion kick.

The Free Jacks bounced back with a try of their own and took a 17-15 lead after a conversion kick in the 30th minute.

Shortly before halftime, Mika Kruse downed the ball in the try zone to push the Warriors back in front. After Kruse’s try, Hodgson missed another conversion.

The Warriors took the three-point advantage into the locker room at halftime.

After the break, the match was less of a scoring affair. However, in the 49th minute, the Free Jacks jumped back to a lead with the first points of the second half, a try and conversion kick. New England’s try and kick moved the visitors in front, 24-20.

Fortunately for Utah, those would be New England’s final points of the night. The Warriors’ defense locked down the Free Jacks during the final 30 minutes of game time.

With the defense on point, Utah needed to find some offense to regain the lead.

After back-to-back misses in the first half, Hodgson rebounded in the 60th minute with a three-point kick to make it a one-point game.

In the 76th minute, Hodgson made his biggest kick of the match. The flyhalf connected on another penalty kick to lift Utah to a 26-24 lead.

Hodgson’s kick proved to be a game-winning kick as the two squads played a scoreless final 14 minutes.

With the win, the Warriors improved to a 4-2 record this season.

Utah’s next game is on the road against the Houston SaberCats on Saturday, April 8 at 6 p.m. (MDT).

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Hodgson’s Kicks Lift Utah Warriors To Comeback Win Over Free Jacks