Germantown Shocks Harpeth To Win Tennessee
Germantown Shocks Harpeth To Win Tennessee
The 2018 Tennessee Boys Cup final at the campus of MTSU in Murfreesboro, TN saw the top two teams from the playoff stages square up against each other; Germantown Mustangs from the West and Harpeth Harlequins from Middle Tennessee. This being their first showdown of the season set the stage for two physical and technically talented teams to compete for the spoils and victors bragging rights.
The Harlequins took to the field as the defending Cup champions, while this was Germantown’s first time in the Cup final. A proud moment for Germantown head coach Kevin Roedel, who helped develop the team through their 4x middle school state championship Mustang feeder program. Several Germantown seniors have been playing with each other since 7th grade and annually on the TN Tristars at the South Regional Cup and Las Vegas Invitational tournaments under USA South and TN Tristar Director Mark Williams.
Having dispatched Ravenswood Raptors in the sem-final, this was Germantown’s final game of a mixed but improving season that had seen its share of injuries and soggy pitches. The stage was set for a gripping contest between the two best teams in Tennessee.
Harpeth kicked to get the game underway and came out strong. The kickoff went deep and was retained by Harpeth in Germantown territory putting early pressure on the Germantown line. Despite an early injury to the Harpeth fullback, Griffin Peal, scrum possession and running lines saw openside flanker Peyton Arnold getting crash ball from scrumhalf Garrett Peal eight meters out and setting it down to the right of the posts. Flyhalf Ian Burr made the conversion. Burr put up another three to punish a Germantown penalty for not rolling away to makwe it 10-0.
It would take until the 23rd minute before Germantown would see the try zone.
Germantown settled down and levelled the flow of play as the first half continued before hooker and junior captain Ryan Bullock caught the defense napping to score from a quick penalty under the posts at the 23 minute mark. Germantown dominated the end of the half with strong forward play inside Harpeth’s 10 meter with multiple phases however got a little over zealous spinning wide ball 1 phase too late leaving the open wing out of space for a missed opportunity. The halftime score Harlequins 10 - 7 Mustangs.
The second half saw increased confidence and control from the Germantown team as play ensued. A deep kick off by Germantown forced a short return to a speedy Germantown counter attack, which was finished out with a 20 meter kick and chase by junior fullback Lincoln Pare for a score in the corner 12-10 Germantown one minute into second half play.
Finding their rhythm, the Germantown forwards took control of the scrums and improved lineout execution. Forward pressure eventually created opportunity for the backline to exploit an overload feed to senior winger Aidan Riseling and extend the lead 17 -10 with 18 minutes left.
However, Harpeth would show their rugby skill and IQ immediately after this try by seeing the Mustangs putting it on their boot again after H2’s kickoff at 12 minutes. Harnage fielded the kick and a pass to Peal set the scrumhalf up to make a run to midfield. Peal then sent it to outside center David Ebert, who then looped with inside center Christin Moolman. Ebert raced down the left side and kicked ahead. He got the bounce and touched down in the left corner to make it 17-15.
Germantown junior center Chris Colebank replied, finishing a multi-phase move to go in under the posts. Scrumhalf Max Pleban converted to put Germantown up 24–15 with three minutes left.
But Harpeth finished strong. With about a minute to go Harpeth won an attacking scrum and Peal ran weak side into the corner. 24-20. Germantown kicked off, and the ball wasn't claimed and rolled into touch to end the game.
Germantown 24 Harlequins 20.
Said Germantown Coach Kevin Roedel, “Hats off to Scott Reagan and the Harlequins. They have a tremendous program and battled for 60 minutes keeping us on edge with strong play to the final whistle.”
“Our coaching staff put together a very difficult schedule to see what we were made of to put us in a position to be here in May with confidence. We went down to New Orleans in February missing 6 starters and lost to Brother Martin by 10 and turned around 90 minutes later and played LA state champion Jesuit to test these boys mental and physical toughness.”
“We beat St. Louis Ruggerfest champion Little Rock by 10 at home and went 2-1 at Nashbash against teams from OH, IN and IL, still without our full starting roster. I knew once we got everybody on the pitch good things could happen. I am so happy for our seniors that closed out their high school careers as state champs, they started this back 5 years ago in middle school. We have a very strong group of underclassman; hopefully they will get us back here next mother’s day weekend. It would be nice for this Cup to stay in Memphis and the western part of the state for a little while.”
“Full marks to Germantown for being a better team for 60 minutes. They played hard and did the simple things very well. Never happy to lose, and I do not think our boys brought their best on the day, but we are happy for Kevin Roedel and his program in Memphis. Our boys put up a solid season and will have something to build on for 2019. Congratulations to Germantown,” said Harpeth Director/Head Coach Scott Reagan.
Photos by Beth Ann Williams
-- Matthew Dovellk