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Around the Nation in HS Rugby March 11

irish rugby tours

Around the Nation in HS Rugby March 11

Olentangy vs Dublin. James Thornburg photo.

California’s single-school competition enters its final phase, and some key cross-border games highlight the weekend; here’s what’s been going on.

Trips Tours and Cross-Border Games

Defending national single-school champs St. Ignatius ran out to a commanding 43-0 lead over LaSalle College High of Pennsylvania and held on to win 57-0.

The Ignatius defense, coupled with their ability to hold onto possession for long periods, helped produce the shutout. Sophomores Jake Papesh and Conor Bender, along with senior Cole Sutkus, led a strong forward effort and were imposing in contact. Ryan Putka continues to be the pendulum that keeps the backs in rhythm, but the second half slowed down some as Ignatius was hit hard with penalties and cards.

Head Coach Dan Arbeznik said his team just needs to be more disciplined and smarter about poaching ball.

Strake Jesuit and Dallas Jesuit went to Louisiana. Strake handed Brother Martin a 54-12 defeat on Friday. Meanwhile Dallas Jesuit and New Orleans Jesuit played a back-and-forth barnburner. The Dallas Jesuit Rangers emerged 26-20 winners thanks to a late try.

On Saturday, Strake defeated Jesuit NOLA 35-21. It was a very tight and back-and-forth game until three late tries from Strake sealed the deal.

Gonzaga and Granite Bay played starters vs starters for 50 minutes, and in that period played to a 21-21 standstill. After that, the subs were rolled in. Gonzaga, which traveled with just 26, had fewer to roll in, especially after picking up a couple of injuries in Thursday’s game with Sacramento Jesuit. 

The result, then, was four converted tries by Granite Bay in the final 20 minutes.

“They’re a really good team,” said Gonzaga Head Coach Peter Baggetta. “We got so much out of it. Granite Bay are such great hosts and they taught us a lot and they told us we taught them a lot of things. We got everything we wanted to get out of the trip. We got some inexperienced guys some time playing in a big game, and we learned some lessons, like making sure less experienced guys get more reps at practice, and making sure guys can play multiple positions. When you bring 26 guys on a trip like this you need to have guys who play multiple positions.”

It was a chance for the Gonzaga players to handle some adversity. The weather was rough and they flew in Wednesday, played Thursday, recovered Friday, and played again Saturday. It was challenging.

For Granite Bay, this was a very good performance against a formidable opponent.

“My boys played well today,” said Head Coach Chris Miller. “It was probably our best performance so far.”

While a couple of players had to be rested, Jared Quenga and Masi Koi played very well and “Will Walker played and led like a man today,” added Miller. “We will keep this ins perspective. We know they played two days before, plus the travel. The bottom line was it was a great match.”

Also in NorCal

De La Salle ran out to a 7-0 lead against Jesuit that they held until halftime. They added another try after the break and slotted two penalty goals. Jesuit mounted a comeback with Jack Patock and TJ papas playing strong in the backs. Joe Mokofisi scored two tries, but it wasn’t enough and De La Salle won 20-12.

Now the question is, who represents Northern California in the All-California Single-School finals. De La Salle lost to St. Francis, who lost to Jesuit, who lost to De La Salle. It appears that St. Francis and DLS will be the NorCal reps, but who is #1 and who is #2? 

Jesuit, DLS, and Saint Francis all ended the NorCal Single School competition 3-1.  With their bonus point system, DLS and Saint Francis finished with 15 points and Jesuit with 12.  Sr. Francis gets the nod over DLS via the head to head tiebreaker. 

So ... St. Francis plays the #1 SoCal single school team and DLS plays the #2.

SFGG slammed Lamorinda 49-0. Elsie Allen continues to be the toughest team in NorCal’s D1, with a 69-7 defeat of Berkeley. Wing Jose Rosales and flanker Ian Tucker were standouts for the Lobos.

Marin and Danville played a tough league game in which the Oaks emerged 20-7 winners over the Highlanders. The wet weather made for a slow start and both teams struggled with mistakes. Danville scored and converted midway through the first half and then added a penalty goal. That kept them ahead even as Marin scored a converted try just before the break. 

It was a tense second half but Danville pulled away with another try and a penalty. It was a good, tough test for both teams.

And in SoCal

We know who the SoCal teams will be, as Torrey Pines took 1st in the SoCal Youth Rugby Single-School final, beating a tough, hard-hitting San Clemente side 19-14. 

Prop Matt Staycer, all 6-5, 315 of him, scored two tries to kick off the game for Torrey Pines and they held on from there.

It looks like the plan is for the NorCal teams to travel south for the final and 3rd-4th game.


HS Scores for March 11 Weekend

Herriman, the #2-ranked single-school team at the moment, beat rivals United 47-0. Head Coach Jeff Wilson said his team looked like a team that hadn't practiced outside in weeks ... "which is what we are." 

Phoenix Alpharetta Backs Up Start With Win Over AYR

The Charlotte Cardinals have two teams playing in the North Carolina HS club league, separate A and B squads. The Bs beat Charlotte Tigers 20-17, while the As beat Greer to the tune of 60-0.

Olentangy produced a good opening win in Ohio, beating Dublin 31-5. Meanwhile Georgetown Prep toured up to Connecticut to play Staples and were just pipped 20-18.

In Colorado Valor Christian rebounded from a loss to Monarch last week to down East HS 27-19. Regis Jesuit, meanwhile, defeated NCOS Falcons 24-7. Trevor Schweer and Alex Plank set the tone physically in the forwards, while Luke Daley and Zach O'Reiley found some space and set up their teammates.