October 17, 2023
Roving Roo Reporter
The Nashville Kangaroos headed to Sarasota, FL with high hopes and big dreams of hoisting the Division III National Championship trophy. Unfortunately, they will have to wait until next year to fill that dream. Here is how the weekend unfolded.
In a repeat of the East/Central Regional tournament matchup, North Texas Devils were first up for the Rooboys. It started off well with Procter getting the first major of the tournament, followed quickly by Cameron Atlas with a beautiful snap from 25 yards out and new acquisition Brock Donaldson getting his first as a Kangaroo. After the Devils narrowed the gap with two strikes, Cameron Atlas pushed the Roo lead back out to 14 points at the first break with his second of the half. Unfortunately, the Roos offense stalled the rest of the way, and with less than a minute remaining a breakaway sequence by the Devils and an accurate shot put a dagger in the Roos’ collective hearts, and a four point loss.
North Texas 5-1(31) def. Nashville 4.3(27), (now 2-1 overall vs North Texas)
Still harboring hopes of getting in via the tie-breaker rules, the Rooboys went back to work at 4 pm on Coopers Field (with the game being streamed) against the Oklahoma Buffaloes. The wind was a major factor, blowing strongly straight downfield, left to right from the camera position. Captain James “JD” Duty won the toss and chose to take the wind in the second half. The Buffaloes put six shots on the board with four being majors, aided by the strong wind. In the second half, the Rooboys were unable to take advantage of the wind, and the pesky and persistent Buffalo defense standing tall. The Roos managed to get their only goal of the game late, thanks to the hustle of flanker Matt Filchak. The loss meant no title for the Kangaroos in 2023.
Oklahoma 7.5(47) def. Nashville 1.2(8), (now 1-1 overall vs Oklahoma)
In an unusual situation, the number 1 and number 2 pool seeds squared off on Sunday, with both sporting 0-2 records. Which meant the final match would be no picnic against the Des Moines Roosters. The game started at 9 am and the ground was still quite damp from the early morning dew, but the Roos had righted the ship and got an early goal from full forward Andrew Gleichert. The Roosters got much of the play after that and took the lead on two goals, but rookie Bill Comstock got is first career goal to level the scores. Again, that angered the Roosters who dominated late in the half and put two more strikes on the board (kicking true on all four shots) and the Roos trailed by 11 points at half. But on the unflappable energy and encouragement of their captain, The Rooboys got busy in the second half, with super midfielder Cody McLain hitting a 40-yard bomb to narrow the gap. And then newest addition, Brock Donaldson, found his game, kicking the final three (3!) goals of game while the Roo defense held the Roosters scoreless until two late behinds, giving the Roos the victory on a gut-check come-from-behind win to close out the 2023 campaign with a very respectable 9-6 mark.
Nashville 6.3(39) def. Des Moines 4.2(26), (now 4-1 overall versus Des Moines)
That brings the Kangaroos to 325 games played all-time with a record of 191-132-2. That means that Club win #200 is within reach in 2024! In 113 home games the Rooboys are 90-23, a rather impressive record. It will most likely be 2025 when they hit the century mark; we’ll be keeping track of that one for sure. Their Nationals record all-time moves to 28-43-1 with the boys looking to narrow that gap next year. The nine wins this season is the fifth most in 26 years for the Kangaroos, just behind 1999 and 2000 (10 wins each), 2012 (with 13) and 2002 (a best ever 16 wins!).
The 2023 season saw two growth spurts, one early and one late. The final tally for the season saw thirty-three (33) Rooboys pull on a jumper, one of the biggest rosters ever, bringing the all-time count to 254. Of the 33, fourteen (14) wore the Tennessee Roo on their chest for the first time – the most in quite a few years. This was due to the efforts of Cameron Atlas taking the Roos’ social media presence to a new level before the season began and then, quite frankly, the club reputation encouraged a number of late additions which enabled the team to go to Nationals without having to combine with another club (although they did pick up two able bodies from Cleveland). With this kind of growth, the club is looking to restart the Metro teams in 2024 and see if it can’t get some of the veterans who are still in town to join up for that local competition which will put more games on the schedule for the dedicated home fans to see.
At the individual level, two Roos hit landmark games played, with Maurice “SloMo” Howell passing 75 (now at 78, ranking 12th overall) and Saul Camarena passing 50 (now at 59, ranking 24th overall).
So, the year finished with a bit less panache than was hoped for, but was still a huge success and you have to admit, the future looks quite bright indeed. I hope everyone has enjoyed the 2023 edition of Nashville Kangaroos and is looking forward to the next installment getting started in April next year. Enjoy your off season, and as always, CARN THE ROOS!