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Four Previous Champions in Single-School Semis

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Four Previous Champions in Single-School Semis

Xavier gets the ball out. Alex Goff photo.

All four semifinalists in the Boys HS National Single-School Championships have won the title before.

Jesuit Sacramento blew the doors off a very good Greenwich team with an impressive backline display.

Both Gonzaga and St. Ignatius found themselves in a bit of a battle in the first half, stayed with their starting 15 into the second period, and saw their team pull away.

And finally Xavier won in dramatic fashion against another previous national champion, Herriman.

The performance of the day was probably Jesuit. With their forwards winning quick ball, Jesuit ran the ball wide quickly and with accuracy. The result was tries on the outside, and from their they just kept at it.

Final score Jesuit 46 Greenwich 5.

Rye took it to a younger Gonzaga lineup in the first half and it was a 10-8 game as halftime approached. For the Rye players, it was proof they have the ability to compete at this event. For Gonzaga, it was a lesson in patience. With the wind at their backs in the second half, the Eagles started to get the scoreboard ticking over, and pulled away to win 40-15.

St. Ignatius was in the same situation. Regis Jesuit scored early to take a 5-0 lead, but Ignatius replied with a try and a penalty goal to lead 10-5. That lead held until halftime, but in the second half Ignatius started to use the wind and run some very effective counter-attacks. They stuck with a young lineup and it paid off. Some well-constructed tries, a few breakaways, and the goalkicking of Jimmy Collins led to a bit of a runaway 44-10.

Ignatius is known for its methodical, structured attack, and when they got close to the line they were like that, but they also played some champagne rugby. Max Ritt showed an impressive turn of pace to score three, usually from long range, and Tommy Kilbane added two.

Regis Jesuit Head Coach Ethan Pougnet said this was an educational moment for his team. 

"We want to compete at this level and we're very happy to have done well enough to be here, but this is another level and we saw that today," said Pougnet.

For Ignatius Head Coach Dan Arbeznik, his young players played well and he said it was important for them to perform without anyone coming in to rescue them.

"Once we had the lead and the wind I felt we were in good shape," said Arbeznik.

As for Xavier vs Herriman, this was a back-and-forth match. Xavier did not give up on any play and it was that tenacity, as much as anything else, that saw them through.

Down 24-19 with time winding down, Xavier camped out in the Herriman 22 and hammered the Mustangs' line. Herriman defended exceedingly well stymied Xavier again and again. But down a player due to a yellow card it seemed like only a matter of time. 

Finally Christopher O’Halloran-Gannon crashed through to tie the game 24-24. Liam Allison slotted the conversion and  after-try conversion gave bashed it over, and the conversion put them ahead 26-24. They held on from there.

It was a huge win for Xavier and sets up an intriguing semifinal with longtime rivals Gonzaga.

Friday Games

Single-School 5th-Place Semifinals
4PM White: Rye vs Herriman
5:30PM White: Regis Jesuit vs Greenwich

Single-School Cup Semifinals
4PM Blue: Gonzaga vs Xavier
5:30PM Blue St. Ignatius vs Jesuit Sacramento