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All Bunched at Top of Colorado HS League

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All Bunched at Top of Colorado HS League

Palmer co-captain Wido Canales garners some attention from East. John Horbacz photo.

It's all bottled up at the top of Rugby Colorado's league after this weekend's highest-profile games.

Undefeated East HS is undefeated no more, thanks to a torrid second half from the Palmer HS Terrors. Monarch HS also won, and so there are three teams at the top of the league with a 6-1 or 5-1 record - East, Palmer, and Monarch.

Against East, Palmer fell behind 13-0 and it looked as if East would cruise to victory, just as they had over Monarch, Regis Jesuit, and PAC in recent weeks. But Palmer coaches Scott Mears and Amy Rusert had a long talk with their players at halftime.

"We talked about getting back to the skills we had been working on," said Mears. "Pass, tackle, ruck - the basics. We needed to make sure we were first to the breakdown and that we were competitive at the breakdown."

Lack of intensity in support when ballcarriers were tackled seemed to be Palmer's problem.

"Then we got on the front foot, and started to play with more skills, and stopped turning the ball over," said Mears. 

It was a complete turnaround for the Terrors, as they reeled off five unanswered tries and won 29-13. It was a complete team improvement, but bolstered by Palmer's solid back row and the work of scrumhalf Jordan Cranford and fullback Anthony Grassi.

Grassi is an excellent track sprinter, and showed it, slicing up the East defense for three of those five tries. Meanwhile, Cranford kept the tempo and intensity of the work around the breakdown clicking for the entire half.

"The forwards led the effort," said Mears. And Cranford kept the forwards moving.

This was a meeting between the oldest high school in Colorado Springs (Palmer, started in 1875), and the oldest high school in Denver (East was started in 1876).


Meanwhile, Monarch HS defeated the Colorado Springs Grizzlies 36-28. Monarch had some injuries from last week and had to put some 2nd-side players into the 1st 15. They carried the load well. Warner Wyckoff moved to fullback in place of Forrest Hudson and ran the deep three, which included wings Mike Quintana and Matt Reimann, with confidence. Quintana's defense was solid and Reimann showed off some pace that worried the Grizzlies' defense.

Sophomore scrumhalf Landon Coleman controlled the ball and distributed well the entire game.  

Colorado Springs got good work from flyhalf Cal Roberson, whose kicks for space and distance helped his team out considerably, and No. 8 Michael Tuggle, who was all kinds of trouble picking up from the back of the scrum and inserting into the backline.

Regis Jesuit is not far behind, after beating Fort Collins to move to 5-2. 

Here are the standings (not all scored have been reported, but the top four are up to date).

Colorado Boys DI W L T BL Pts
Monarch 6 1 0 1 25
East HS 6 1 0 0 24
Terrors 5 1 0 0 20
Regis Jesuit 5 2 0 1 21
CS Grizzlies 1 3 0 1 5
PAC 1 2 0 0 4
Chaparral 1 4 0 0 4
Aurora 0 4 0 1 1
Fort Collins 0 5 0 1 1