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Always Intense, Genesis Edges West Valley For Utah Title

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Always Intense, Genesis Edges West Valley For Utah Title

Genesis gets over. Daliny Jones photo.

Genesis defeated West Valley Warriors Saturday in a clash of Top-4 High School Clubs which was also the final of Utah Youth Rugby's HS Club championship.

Every time Genesis and West Valley match up, everyone knows that it is going to be intense. These two teams have had a back-and-forth rivalry going since 2014 and the stakes are usually very high. This was true once again as the two teams locked horns on Saturday to determine the winner of the Utah Youth Rugby Tier 1 Multi-School championship.

Genesis Head Coach Eric Nelson knew from the first match from earlier in the year the importance of getting out in front early.

“When we played earlier in the season, we dug ourselves a hole and had to fight our way out of it to get the win. We knew that wouldn’t work this time around and we needed to start fast,” said Nelson.

Genesis used a varied approach of utilizing their forwards and their backs to move the ball around and maintain possession. This paid dividends as they were able to control the ball for the majority of the first half and score two unconverted tries, the first by senior Prop Teni Kinikini and the second by senior Lock Huddy Aspinall. However, West Valley showed why they are worthy of such a high national ranking by fighting back strong. With only a few minutes left in the first half they were able to get some front-foot ball and put one down for an unconverted try as time expired. This brought the halftime score to 10-5 for Genesis.

The second half was a much more back-and-forth affair with both teams taking turns making ground only to then concede it with penalties and other mistakes. Genesis was finally able to break the deadlock with senior Wing Reed Johnson punching it in for a converted try making the score 17-5.

Suddenly West Valley became revitalized and started to turn the game around. With 11 minutes remaining they were able to score an unconverted try to bring the score to 17-10. After the restart they got the ball and continued to make ground into Genesis territory. However, Genesis was able to hold strong and get the ball back. Retaining possession the remainder of the game, Genesis scored one final insurance try; senior No. 8 Isaiah Jones cemented the 22-10 victory.

With the win and the completion of the undefeated season, Genesis now sets their sights on Boys HS Rugby National Championships in Kansas City.

“We accomplished two goals of going undefeated and winning state, and I am so proud of the boys," said Nelson." Given the fact that we played and beat ranked teams almost every single week, including Herriman (#1 SS), East (#24 SS), West Valley (MS #4) twice, SLV Rhinos (MS #12), and others, we have earned the right to be in the conversation for #1 team in the country. We hope our seeding at nationals reflects that and look forward to proving it on the field.”