Goff Rugby Twitter     Goff Rugby Facebook

Gibbons, Boca Win Florida Semifinals

irish rugby tours

Gibbons, Boca Win Florida Semifinals

Cardinal Gibbons ran in four tries in the final 20 minutes.

Boca Raton and Cardinal Gibbons will meet next weekend for the Florida state championship after both won semifinals over the weekend.

Cardinal Gibbons defeated Okapi 35-16 to move on. The game started with one team looking prepared to deliver an upset and the other looking like they had had three weeks off, which was the case—Gibbons got a bye through the first round of playoffs and last week there were no games at all. Okapi came out strong and played a very hard first half despite the wind being in favor of Cardinal Gibbons. Okapi held Gibbons scoreless in the first half, going into the break up 10-0. This was the first time Gibbons had failed to score in a half all season.

The second half started with Okapi doing much of the same and Gibbons looking somewhat better after halftime adjustments. Gibbons finally scored through prop Trey Dubuc to make it 10-7 but that was followed by Okapi getting into scoring position twice, earning penalties and making the kicks each time to make it 16-7 for the Wanderers.

But things changed after that. Gibbons finally got their offense moving in the last 20 minutes and one they did they were tough to stop. Four converted tries in the final stages of the game turned the game right around and Gibbons won 35-16.

"This was a very difficult and exciting match because the Okapi fans helped push their team to its highest level of play and that kept them in the game," said Gibbons Head Coach Eric Aumann. "Gibbons had to really get deep inside to find ways to make plays and win this game."

Tries from flyhalf Danny Feliciano, back Nicholas Yancey, center Tray Brown, and flanker Greg Otton saw Gibbons through. Hooker Buron Quin was a perfect 5-for-5 for conversions.

Boca, the only undefeated team in Florida, having won seven league games and tied one before winning in the quarterfinals, defeated Key Biscayne 39-14 to advance.

"The team is firing on all cylinders," said Head Coach Garth Duff-Gray. "We have a bBroad, deep lake of talented, strong players."

The forwards all performed well and were run nicely by scrumhalf Cody Paholich. Jordan Vassel, Vince Allue, and Logan Ballinger led the backs.

Boca led early through a penalty goal from flyhalf Vicente Alué. Moments later Vassel, at fullback, scored the first try, which Allué converted. The flyhalf added a try of his own to make it 15-0 before the Rats flanker Felix Oliver got Key Biscayne on the board. But almost right after the restart Vassel was in for his second, which, with Allué's conversion made it 22-7 at halftime.

Key Biscayne got a penalty try in the second half, but Boca tries from Vassel, twice, and Ludovic Francois wrapped it up.

So the two best teams in one of the most stable and consistent leagues in high school rugby (nine teams, all playing each other, and then a set of playoffs, giving all teams a minimum of nine games) will face off in the final. Boca's only blemish was a tie with Okapi on the opening weekend of the season. Gibbons has only lost once, 17-12 to Boca on March 5.