St Ignatius Over Penn HS
St Ignatius Over Penn HS
St. Ignatius out of Ohio defeated Penn HS 30-12 Saturday in a clash of the #7 single-school team against the #5.
Penn was hit with the flu and was undermanned as a result, and played a man down for much of the gam due to a couple of cards, including a red. And while they hung tough at halftime, down only 13-12, the loss of their gameday captain around that time hurt. Meanwhile, it was a cold and snowy day, and with a strong wind the game was played in very wintry conditions.
But that doesn't speak to the performance by St. Ignatius, which was impressive. Ignatius opted to play against the wind in the first half and that proved to be a smart move as they kept it close and then pulled away with the wind at their backs. With the ball being wet and cold, playing a wide game wasn't really an option for either team, and kicking free out of your own 22 didn't work too well against the wind. That's partly why Penn was able to score early.
But then Penn got into penalty trouble - the new emphasis on dangerous tackles led to a yellow and then a red that hurt them greatly.
The yellow, which was for a tip tackle, seemed to energize St. Ignatius and they ran the phases and, when Penn was penalized again, Chris Fedor put a penalty kick over. Penn replied with a try for a 12-3 lead. But they would struggled to score more as Penn tried to play wide when the conditions perhaps called for a more conservative approach.
Senior scrumhalf Eddie Patton ran a move off the breakdown to set up Juan Pen and an Ignatius try, and Fedor scored on a quick tap. That made it 13-12, and that was when a Penn player was red-carded for a high tackle.
"I thought the wind alone was worth two tries," said St. Ignatius Head Coach Dan Arbeznik. "Going in at the break with the lead was unexpected but definitive. Our kids did a nice job of playing the final 35 in their end, kicking for the corners and then waiting for mistakes to be made. We capitalized and were able to slug-out some tries with our forwards."
Patton did a solid job all game recognizing weak points in the Penn defense, and also quick-tapped for a try. Prop and captain Jimmy Desmarteau, as well as Brian Almady, led the forward effort. Juan Pen was excellent on defense and made some big runs, while junior flanker Nick Zolikoff's work rate earned him man of the match honors. Junior flyhalf Sean Whalen played a smart rugby game for Ignatius and kickd well.
"In previous years we had lost to Penn as a result of our inability to execute at the scrum," said Arbeznik. "Today's win was one for the forwards truthfully. They defended like warriors. There were errors everywhere in the backlines but they made sure that we got the ball back on Penn's mistakes."
Arbeznik acknowledged that Penn was missing some key players. Penn Coach Bart Bottorff said "I like our chances if we have our 1st 15. St. Ignatius has a very solid pack and have huge forwards. But we look forward to seeing them again."