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Belmont High Opens MIAA Season With a Win

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Belmont High Opens MIAA Season With a Win

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Belmont High School opened up the Massachusetts Interscholastic season with a defeat of longtime rivals BC High 24-17.

These two teams have been in every Massachusetts final for the past eight years or so, and opening up a much-delayed season against each other was tough, but it ended up being an entertaining game, and a much-needed one.

“Just to get out on the field was wonderful,” said Belmont Head Coach Greg Bruce. “And it felt good to have a good contest.

The game was played with specific variations put in place by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association. Players had to wears masks throughout the game; no mauls were allowed at lineouts; scrums were exploded, uncontested affairs; no counterrucking; mauls in open play were ended after one stoppage, instead of the normal two.

“The variations are just that - different,” said BC High Head Coach Paul Carty. “In a normal year the strategy of scrums, mauling from a lineout, and when to counterruck are huge. But in this year I think we are all happy to be playing rugby at all.”

Bruce concurred, adding that the variations slowed the game down at times, and sped it up at other times. Scrums were just a restart with the team putting in guaranteed the ball, allowing attacking teams freer rein to run plays off scrums.

“It’s not perfect,” added Bruce. “But it’s good enough.”

The game was a back-and-forth affair but, as it went on, “ultimately discipline was the difference,” said Carty. “We had too many penalties and Belmont made us pay. They did a nice job of defending their line when we had chances.”

Belmont No. 8 Chris Lynch was the player of the game but he had help with Jonathan Williams, Simpin Bakshi, Brigham McMullin, and Isaiah Gullage all showing well.

Vice captain Caled Christensen has been very strong not only in his play but in his leadership. 

 “More than anything though this was about the connection,” said bruce. “The kids need to be together, they need to be part of something.”

One coach had, years ago, introduced the idea of “our web” and that is a term Belmont uses to talk about how the players stay together on and off the field.

“Our web has been really important this past year,” said Bruce.