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Dramatic Finishes Punctuate Ohio Boys Fall 7s Finals

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Dramatic Finishes Punctuate Ohio Boys Fall 7s Finals

St. Edward on attack vs St. Ignatius. Alex Goff photo.

St. Edward beat St. Ignatius on the final play of the game to take the Rugby Ohio Boys Fall 7s, and St. Ed's made it a double, winning the Shield competition, as well.

Rugby Ohio used the regular season to stratify the competitions, with one set of teams playing for the Cup, and a second tier playing for the Shield in the final tournament.

In the Shield, St. Edward and St. Ignatius teams made up of their younger players faced off, and St. Ed's brought a more physical game with a ton of pace and came out on top.

As for the Cup Competition:

Semifinals

St. Ignatius vs St. Xavier

The St. Ignatius game plan was clearly to use their superior restarts to put pressure on the opposition. With Bobby Voth launching a good high ball 10 to 15 meters downfield, SIHS would send chasers down to either catch the kick or, at least, put the opposition under pressure.

But St. Xavier kicked off for the game and pinned Ignatius in their end early until SIHS was able to steal the ball in the ruck, go wide, to Sebastian Duffin, who was gone for 80 meters. Voth converted to make it 7-0. St. Xavier caught the restart and got themselves into Ignatius territory with a well-timed kick to space. After a few tussles in the breakdown big forward Phillip Bottomley fended off four separate tacklers and was over to make it 7-5.

Slowly Ignatius started turn the momentum. Noah Norris produced a massive tackle, poach, and run to make it 12-5 and that’s how the half ended.

In the second half it was all about restart, win the ball, and score. Some smart ball movement found players open and Patrick Clink, John Reddy, and John Patton (twice) capped off some snappy rugby for a 34-10 victory. John Sikora, who had been active throughout the game, barreled over for Xavier’s second try.

St. Edward vs Dayton

St. Edward controlled this game and it was their physical defense that continued to force Dayton into errors. JP Polito scored up the middle, and a smart defensive stand produced a turnover for Conor McGurk to go in on the wing for a 10-0 lead. Danny Ollerton’s massive run capped off a pretty efficient St. Ed’s first half and a 15-0 lead.

Defensive pressure produced another turnover in the second half and Sam Condridge cut back to score, and then McGurk set up Quinn Hartman for his seventh try of the day and a 27-0 shutout win.

Finals

3rd-4th Game

This game had a fascinating conclusion. Dayton ran out to a big lead and seemed in control. According to the scoreboard, Dayton led 26-12 with less than two minutes to go. However, the scoreboard had failed to record a conversion for Dayton—the referee had the correct score. So St. X mounted a stirring comeback and scored a try, which they converted. Then, with time up, they scored again, and nailed the clutch conversion.

Tie game and overtime? Not so fast. The referee confirmed the score was still 28-26 Dayton, and Dayton took third.

"St. X has been one of those teams that we've gone back-and-forth with, so it just feels right to end it with them," said Dayton's Dakota Faulkner.

Final

As expected St. Ignatius and St. Edward played a tense, tight game. Ignatius got a big game from Sean Lipaj, who seems to be able to make a difference no matter what position or role he plays.

St. Ed's scored early, weathering some Ignatius pressure and then breaking out for a long-range try. Ignatius came back to try again to pin St. Ed's in their end. This time it works and Ignatius took a 7-5 lead.

Once again St. Ed's got out of trouble, this time burning Ignatius with a kick that put Condridge in.

Down 12-7 Ignatius produced their best sequence of the game, working the ball nicely back and forth before going over in the corner. The key play there was Lipaj, who normally plays scrumhalf, jumping in the lineout and stealing a St. Edward throw.

Voth slotted the conversion from the sideline and it was 14-12 St. Ignatius.

The Wildcats seemed in position to run out the clock but then Hartman intercepted an Ignatius pass with about a minute to go, and from there it was a series of phases and tackles as St. Edward tried to inch closer to the line.

After a referee warning for high tackles given to both teams, Ignatius put in another high tackle and went a player down due to a yellow card. St. Edward tapped and worked it wide, got another penalty, and then went back to the right before Xavier Langford-Irizarry picked up and went over. Ballgame. No time left and St. Ed's had won 17-14.

For St. Ignatius they will rue their troubles taking care of the ball at key moments. For St. Edward, it was the culmination of a pursuit of playing some real 7s.