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Fort Hunt Impresses at JRC

HS Boys

Fort Hunt Impresses at JRC

Fort Hunt won three in Leesburg, including against Greenwich HS. David Hughes photo.

Fort Hunt came out of the Jesuit Rugby Classic with A 3-1 and another jolt of confidence for this highly-regarded Virginia team.

For Coach Dale Roach, it was a gratifying experience, shutting out St. Xavier, Gonzaga’s 2nd side, and Greenwich, before losing 24-0 to Gonzaga’s 1sts in the final.

Fort Hunt’s solid tackling and pressure defense was on display through the weekend.

“I am really proud of how well these guys played this weekend against tough competition,” said Roach. “It was great to see.”

No. 8 Chad Abdulla continued to run with authority, breaking tackles and scoring tries, and flanker Gabe Rudasill is new to rugby - introduced to the game by HS All American prop Sean Dowling - but is an accomplished athlete who took to the game quickly.

Fullback Daiimon Cleveland was really difficult to contain in the open field, while Erik Roach and David Yarris were strong runners in the midfield. Flyhalf Robert Figley set them all up and kicked well.

Daiimon Cleveland was a dangerous runner. David Hughes photo.
West Point Camp Daiimon Cleveland Fort Hunt - David Hughes

“We have a number of 15- and 16-year-olds who are playing very well,” said Roach, including EIRA player Conor McManus at scrumhalf, wing Andrei Golding, flanker Jack McCrossin, and hooker Ben Mellinger.

They ran into a buzz saw in Gonzaga, however, a team that understood what they needed to do.

“A good team will figure out how to beat you,” said Roach. “They knew that when we get on the front foot we’re tough, so they smother tackled us and made sure we didn’t get the ball out quickly. They are really talented. Playing Gonzaga at this stage for us was great. We have a really good lineout, and then Gonzaga hurt us in the lineout, and we realized there are things we can do better.”

Those lessons will help Fort Hunt get better.

“Our offensive and contact skills are very strong” said Roach. “But we still have a lot to work on particularly in our counter attack and offensive pattern and support”.

Roach was all compliments in discussing Gonzaga’s play and also the tournament, which has “superbly-prepared fields” and is run smartly. But the compliments are also deserved for Fort Hunt, which has played six ranked teams (seven if you count Gonzaga’s 2nds, who would beat many ranked 1st teams), and lost only once.

Next up for Fort Hunt will be another meeting with Gonzaga’s 2nd side on April 30, then the Virginia playoffs, and the NIT.

Fort Hunt 2016 David Hughes photo