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Berks Caps Huge 2021 With NY 7s HS Win

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Berks Caps Huge 2021 With NY 7s HS Win

Kneeling (L to R) Aiden Pavlek, Diohnny Ruiz, Turk Baum, Steven Flinton, Eli Ross, Anthony Bourassa; Standing (L to R): Bill Pepper (Asst. Coach) Paul Shingleton (Asst. Coach) Cole Boyer, Leo Delannoy, Jax Shingleton, Jake Humphrey, Jeremiah Thompson, Ryan Cammarata, Jake Stelluti, Baylor Kobularcik, Greg Stelluti (Head Coach).

Berks County Rugby battled back from a slow start to win the New York 7s High School Premier Championship Saturday at Randall's Island in New York City.

On a cold, windy day on the East River in Manhattan, Berks Rugby opened up pool play at 8AM against Aspetuck Rugby. 

With the temperature in the low 20s at kickoff, Berks found themselves starting cold and were down 12-0 after missed tackles on Aspetuck’s first two possessions.  Berks settled down and kept the score 12-0 through the end of the first half. 

Berks opened the 2nd half with a try by Steven Flinton and they continued to pressure Aspetuck and were soon rewarded with a scrum at the Aspetuck 5-meter line.  A strong scrum by Aspetuck earned them a steal and a 95 meter try by scrumhalf Carson Hill extending Aspetuck's lead to 17-5.

While Berks did get one more through a long run from scrumhalf Ryan Cammarata, 17-12 was as close as they'd get.

But 7s tournaments have a way of surprising you as the day goes on. Aspetuck lost their next game, 26-10 to Canada's Upright Rugby Rogues, and that set up a crucial clash between the Rogues and Berks.

Berks came out with fierce intensity and put Upright Rugby under immediate pressure by stealing the kickoff. After a couple of quick phases, Steven Flinton found space on the outside and dotted it down in the corner for a 5-0 lead. Continuous pressure on Upright paid off with two tries by prop Diohnny Ruiz and that put Berks up 15-0 at the break. The second half started much like the first, with plenty defensive pressure and some bone-crunching hits. Putting in standout defensive efforts were Cole Boyer, Leo Delannoy, Aiden Pavlek, Anthony Bourassa, Turk Baum, Jeremiah Thompson, Eli Ross, and Jake Humphrey.  Eventually, Berks broke through again with another try by Flinton. The final score was 22-0 Berks.

After the game, Berks coaches, Greg Stelluti, Bill Pepper, and Paul Shingleton all agreed that it was the best game of 7s they have ever seen a Berks team play. Certainly shutting out Upright is no easy feat.

With pool play completed the top 4 teams were reseeded for the semifinals. Berks drew a rematch with Upright Rugby in their semifinal game, while the other semifinal saw RugbyPA All-State matched up against Northeast Academy. 

Berks came out in the semifinal just like they finished against Upright in pool play, with dominating defense and good movement of the ball across the field. Two tries by Diohnny Ruiz, who scored four on the day, and one from Steven Flinton gave Berks a 19-5 victory and a trip to the final where they would see their home state of Pennsylvania’s All-State team. 

In the final, Berks found themselves down 7-0 within the first two minutes with a try by LaSalle’s Mike Boyle. Berks responded quickly with another try by Flinton on the wing. Cammarata’s conversion made it 7-7. 

RugbyPA came right back with another converted try making the score 14-7.  A quick response by Berks, Leo Delannoy, tied the score 14-14 heading into halftime. 

Berks came out in in the second half and started to apply the pressure they had been using successfully in their previous games. This led to Flinton’s 6th try on the day and a 19-14 Berks lead. After a RugbyPA turnover, Berks put on the pressure within 10 meters of the RugbyPA tryline. They were finally rewarded with a converted try by Cammarata. The final whistle blew with Berks taking the cup championship 26-14. 

Flinton, no surprise, was named the MVP.

The New York 7s marked the end of a very successful summer/fall 7s season for Berks County Rugby in which they won six tournaments, including the RugbyPA state championship, were undefeated in another, and came 4th in the NAI: 

Coventry 7s Champions
Etown 7s Champions
Surfside 7s Champions
North American Invitational  - 4th place
Millersville 7s 5-0
Knightmare 7s Champions
RugbyPA Fall 7s State Champions
New York 7s Premier Champions