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Delbarton Top Single-School in NJ

HS Boys

Delbarton Top Single-School in NJ

Delbarton School defeated St. Augustine 33-21 Sunday to win the Rugby New Jersey single-school Boys HS championship.

It wasn’t an easy game, and likely the toughest game of the season for a Delbarton team that hadn’t run into too much trouble in league play this season.

“They are the most physical team we’ve played all year,” said Delbarton Coach Nick Linfante. “They have some good athletes, but what we were able to do was run the ball through a few phases with the forwards, suck their defense in, and when we sent it out wide, we had lots of space.”

St. Augustine got to the final in part but getting some good athletes from their football and wrestling programs, but Delbarton’s rugby experience saw ten through. Delbarton scored early and the two teams traded tries into halftime.

The coaches then told the Delbarton players that all they needed to do was trust their experience and their pattern of play, and secure the ball. But some iffy decisions saw them under their own posts waiting for a conversion twice in the early moments of the second half. 

“I think it was a case of a team that was winning a lot of games fairly easily,” said Linfante. “And up against a tough opponent, they needed to settle down.”

That they did. 

“Our big guys up front did a nice job offloading the ball and we started to really use the room out wide. Two substitute wings, Andre Rodriquez, and Andrew Petrillo scored to show the plan was working. All-everything Delbarton center Ian Lodge scored two, while scrumhalf Zach Lamb also touched down.

“No forwards scored, but that just showed how well they did their job,” said Linfante.

Also making a key contribution was Sean McAloon. The fullback was drafted in as goalkicker after regular kicker Jack Badenhausen broke his collarbone in the game. McAloon slotted a key touchline conversion to ensure his team had a cushion going into the latter stages of the game.

“We were fortunate to be in front at halftime because they had a lot of possession,” said Linfante. “And in the second half we gave them possession. But we started to do a better job and rebounded well. It was a game where we needed our senior leadership to step in, and they did.”