Goff Rugby Twitter     Goff Rugby Facebook

All Razor-Thin Margins in HS Club Quarterfinals

irish rugby tours

All Razor-Thin Margins in HS Club Quarterfinals

Tempe vs Woodlands. Alex Goff photo.

The HS Club Division of the 2022 Boys HS National Championships enjoyed one of its best and most dramatic days in history with four tense quarterfinals that were all decided by less than a try.

San Diego Mustangs vs United

This game was a massively physical clash that see-sawed back and forth. San Diego took and early lead but United surged back.

The game went down to the wire and San Diego scored late and held on to win 26-22.

SOC Raptors vs Granite Bay

This meeting of the #1-seed Granite Bay and the #8-seed SOC was much, much closer than expected.

Granite Bay fell behind early and just couldn't quite break through on the Raptors. The SoCal #8 seed, for their part, were very quick over the ball and forced turnovers of holding-on penalties. The Raptors scrumhalf William Lhommedieu was quick and got his side in scoring position and Asbjorn Ross at second row was a powerhouse.

It was Ross's try late in the game that put his side ahead.

But Granite Bay came back, hitting a key penalty goal from flyhalf Haydn Williams. The Grizzlies had a lineout deep in SOC territory that could have set up a game-sealing try. But the ball didn't go to hand and the Raptors got a penalty, and kicked deep, and got another penalty.

With time running out the Raptors got a penalty in front of the posts. Now, many on the sidelines at this point thought the score was 18-17 for Granite Bay. It wasn't; it was 20-17. This was crucial because the Raptor players opted to tap and go rather than kick for points.

It didn't work, as a knock-on relieved the pressure for Granite Bay and, ultimately, they survived 20-17.

For Granite Bay hooker Jayden Flores was very good and prop Bryan Pogne and sparkplug scrumhalf Avion Ganse-Lira scored tries. Cole Sanderson added two conversions and two penalties.

Head Coach Chris Miller told his players that they had made it through the first day without injuries and were in the semis. They hadn't performed well, but they had survived. Sometimes, that's enough.

Belmont Shore vs Aspetuck

Aspetuck ran out to a 17-0 lead behind the powerful running of Matt Weiner and Amari Phillips. They seemed in control but slowly a younger Belmont Shore team was able to hold Aspetuck up in-goal. From there they go out of trouble, got a penalty in the ruck (all SoCal teams were very quick over the ball).

And eventually they managed to score after bashing at the line.

that made it 17-7, and Belmont Shore started to play faster and faster. They got one in at the corner that Aspetuck thought wasn't touched down, and the Californians pulled off a dramatic win 19-17.

Woodlands vs Tempe

The #3 vs #6 clash between Woodlands and Tempe saw the teams trade leads. Woodlands may well have been missing some key players, and Tempe had a lot to show.

The center pairing of Roma Kupu and Alejandro Echavarria were a force for Tempe and with the back row of Tanner DeMasa, Vili Pulu, and Ata Teutupe, Tempe made it very difficult for Woodlands to put phases together.

Flyhalf Aki Pulu, scrumhalf Blake Liddell, and lock Dietrick Abinet all scored tries, with Tautua Paga kicking two conversions. Pulu's the game-winner as Tempe came back from 15-12 down to win it 19-15.

Tempe's speed on defense and aggressiveness forced errors on the Woodlands team, and it was just enough.