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Conestoga, Knightmare Rule in Rugby PA Sevens

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Conestoga, Knightmare Rule in Rugby PA Sevens

Caius Michlitsch led the way for Conestoga. Alex Goff photo.

Conestoga capped off a fairly astounding fall HS 7s season with a Rugby PA championship win Saturday.

The team, which has been leading the Rugby PA league most of the time. They came into the weekend leading the state with a 23-3-1 record and capped that off with a 5-0 day to finish 28-3-1 through the course of the fall.

It was a big tournament for the boys, with 16 teams in action. Bishop Shanahan showcased some nice ball movement to make up for their lack of size to go 3-0 in Pool B. Knight battled Berks for control of Pool C and a couple of well-times breakaways and one conversion saw Knightmare take that game 12-10, and the pool 3-0.

La Salle continued their excellent showing, working well as a team to go 3-0 in Pool C.

So that set up the semifinals, with Conestoga vs La Salle and Knightmare vs Shanahan. 

Constoga’s combination of patient defense and pace were on display in the opening moments when they absorbed a La Salle attack, turned the ball over, and broke through to go 95 meters to score the opening try. La Salle were stymied by Conestoga’s aggression with the ball in hand and Stoga ran out 24-0 winners.

Knightmare’s power in contact was too much for Shanahan and they emerged 23-10 winners to make the final/

In the final, an early break from Nate Moon got Conestoga on the front foot. Caius Michlitsch was huge all day and his try, unleashing some elusiveness and power when tacklers tried to take him down, lead to the second try. Mitchlitsch made the difficult conversion to establish a commanding 14-0 lead for Conestoga. Just before halftime, Knightmare responded, exploiting a gap in Conestoga’s defensive line and then a tap move on a penalty to get over the line.

That made ti 14-5 at the break. Conestoga’s pressure defense than sealed the game. About two minutes into the second half Knightmare had a scrum and worked the ball from there. But they were tackled one after another, forcing players to make little panicky passes. Patrick Walker came streaking in anticipating a pass, and when it floated in front of him he just burst onto it and was gone into the corner.

That made it 19-5 and really there was little chance Knightmare would be able to score two converted tries to tie it. As it was a series of Conestoga penalties led to a Knightmare score with three minutes to go, but no conversion, leaving it still a two-score game at 19-10. With a Conestoga player in the sin bin Knightmare did indeed score one more, but again it was too far for the conversion and Stoga held on 19-15.

Moon, Michlitsch, and Walker were very good throughout the day and Head Coach Brian Keown said it was little surprise that those three stepped up at the right time. Along with that trio, Cade Aiyazian was a hard worked and a key difference-make for Conestoga as they took the state title.

Knightmare Girls Cap Dream Season

The Knightmare girls were always going to win the Rugby PA title. They had the best two players in the state; those players were smart and unselfish and incorporated the best of their teammates into a cohesive and effective team. 

The result? A 5-0 day with 180 points scored in those five games and two tries—one in the semis and one in the 27-7 final win over Doylestown—allowed. There was no doubt who was the top team. They were also good defenders and quick over the ball, and that led to the first try in the final, which took exactly 16 seconds to score.

Now, it was 10-7 at halftime, so Doylestown were in with a shout. But Knightmare put those thoughts aside as the second half starts. OK, it took their 48 seconds to score, but they did it with passing and field vision. Midway through the second half it was 22-7 and it was a done deal as Doylestown couldn't get out of their half.