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WJU Victory Their Coming Out Party?

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WJU Victory Their Coming Out Party?

Wheeling Jesuit’s 56-7 defeat of a strong Iona team Sunday may well have been part of a 2014 coming out party for the Cardinals.
 
A varsity program that decided to start with youth from the ground up, WJU, did not start by winning all of their games, and while some might have wondered how a varsity team wasn’t steamrolling over club sides, the answer was clearly youth and a desire to recruit American kids, who needed to learn more about the school.
 
And, as it turned out, each other.
 
“We learned to trust each other,” said Head Coach Eric Jerpe. “I think it takes a while for players to understand that the other guy, sometimes a guy they don’t know all that well, will do their job. I kept telling the guys, just do your job, and your teammate will do his job, and the game will take of itself. But they needed some games to learn that.”
 
Jerpe said a lot of that had to do with the fact that many of his players were key performers for their high school teams. Many played on teams where Plan A was, give the ball to the top players at every opportunity.
 
“A lot of these players did almost everything for their high school teams,” said Jerpe. “So they are used to that. But if you go try to make someone else’s tackle, then you’re out of position. If you don’t use your support, you’re not going to score. They showed they’d learned that.”
 
That and a stifling defense that rocked Iona back, and a hard-working forward pack that didn’t take a step back in the scrum, and disrupted the Gaels’ lineout.
 
“But I think that scoring nine tries from nine different players says it all,” said Jerpe. “It was a full team performance where we were using our teammates.”

The pick of those tries may well have been that from lock Zach Reichenbach, which showed the Jesuit players working together in a vairety of ways to allow the big second row to power over.
 
That then may be a key game for WJU as they move up the ranks. They not only beat a good team, they did so soundly, and the right way.

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