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Harpeth Takes Tennessee in Impressive Fashion

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Harpeth Takes Tennessee in Impressive Fashion

The stage was set for another tough match between the Harpeth Harlequins and the Ravenwood Raptors of Middle Tennessee Saturday as these two teams played the Tennessee state final Saturday.

While H2 convincingly beat Ravenwood in regular season play 27-0, but this was expected to be a closer game. H2's starting lineup has been racking up the points on offense this season, as well as shutting down their opponents’ efforts to score. 316 points have been put up by both their back line and their hard running pack. With three shutouts in the final three matches, four matches with opponents scoring only seven points, and the combined total of allowed points being 50 for the entire season, Harpeth’s reputation for hard defense is certainly earned. However, Coach Scott Reagan said, "Ravenwood was the returning champion, so our players knew that they were not going to be given anything and instead, were going to have to take it and play hard for a full 60 minutes.”

It would be wing Avery Tate who would put Harpeth’s first points on the board at the five-minute mark. Lock Kyle Means threw in long to flanker Harry Brown at the lineout, and scrumhalf Jack Shrader sent it to flyhalf Jameson Reagan. Reagan fed it wide to outside center Zach Rademacher, who quickly brought it back inside to center Mitch Rossi for a hard run towards the tryline. No. 8 Nick Galbreath took the offload from Rossi and put it right in the hands of Tate from a blind pass. The wing puts it down in the right corner for th 5-0 lead.

Ten minutes in and after some time with play in the Harpeth end, H2 was penalized. Ravenwood tapped quickly and made it within five meters of the Harpeth tryline. H2 prop Eli Katina brought him down to allow H2’s other prop, Rooke Young, to win the ruck. Shrader fed Reagan, who sent a backhand flip pass to Rademacher, who then ran the length of the field to go in under the posts. 10-0.

Reagan then got sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on, but Harpeth's defense held during the time they were shorthanded.

Rossi ran in a quick tap to make it 15-0 at halftime. The second half was rough for Ravenwood as they were given two yellow cards - one for flyhalf Tripp Waring, and one for wing Jett Blair - and then they got a red card for outside center Carter Nelson right at the end of the game. The Raptors put pressure on H2 to keep them out of the try zone for the first 20 minutes of the 2nd half, at which point scrumhalf Shrader would take advantage, much like Rossi had before the break, with a quick tap to score. Five minutes later, Reagan put together an impressive run through the Raptors' backline to make it 25-0.

With a minute to play and a 25-0 lead, the Harpeth Harlequins’ senior flanker Harry Brown would take a quick pass from lock Means to score in the corner. Brown had created a deja vu moment for the Harlequin fans, as it was in the same spot that he clinched their Div III Championship in 2015 to put them up by two points with two minutes left in that match. Rademacher converted for the final two points of the game and a 32-0 victory.

Middle Tennessee State University hosted the final, and the organization was widely praised for its efforts.

“Our seniors, led by captain Jameson Reagan, deserve all the credit for going undefeated for the season, for keeping their opposition scoreless in the state playoffs, and for denying another nationally ranked team (Ravenwood) twice from scoring a single point," said Harpeth Head Coach Scott Reagan.. "With his tenacious defense, selfless play and recently improved fitness, Mitch Rossi came up with two tries and one of the best games of his rugby career on the biggest stage, easily making him everyone's MVP choice. This is a special group of ruggers, and we wish all of the seniors the best of luck going forward."