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Harpeth Victory Shines Light On The Need To Compete

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Harpeth Victory Shines Light On The Need To Compete

Harpeth Harlequins at the Tennessee HS 7s Championships. Jama Reagan photo.

Under beautiful blue skies and with perfect weather, the Harlequins capped off an undefeated, albeit abbreviated, 7s season with a 17-12 victory over the Mustangs out of Germantown in the state tournament final.

The season has been a bit up in the air as the state of Tennessee has, like other states, struggled with balancing life and COVID safety. In the end, the championship was allowed to go on.

Harpeth Wins Tennessee Boys HS 7s

What was not in doubt was that the Harlequins were dominant on the day. Over five games they allowed less than five points per game (24 points in total) while averaging nearly 36 points per game (179 points in total). They left no doubt by beating the other finalist (a well-rested, full strength Germantown team) twice on the day and 43-12 in aggregate. The Harlequin B-side also was undefeated on the day (led by B-side captains J.D. Saulters and Lars Curlin).

Still, Germantown was the only team to even come close to the Harlequins.

Even some questionable decisions by several players the night before at Great Clips could not derail the Quins from taking another Tennessee state 7s championship.

“It was easy to root for these boys win or lose," said Harlequins Director Scott Reagan. "They play with such a joy for the game and support for each other.”

There was no better example of that than when the team gathered for a spontaneous sing-along of a Backstreet Boys favorite just prior to the formal cup presentation (reports are that the song was “I Want It That Way” but is was sung somewhat out of tune so you never know).

Co-captain of the A-side, Max Ponce, was recognized as the tournament MVP. His relentless effort on defense and selfless play in attack resulted in a high turnover count and plenty of scoring opportunities for his teammates. Wing Chris Stanley benefited early and often from Ponce’s setup efforts with 11 tries on the day.

Co-captain Sacha Martiny anchored the backline from flyhalf and was the high scorer with 86 points, including eight tries. He also showcased a powerful and accurate left foot, making 23 conversions.

Senior Cody Trussell overcame a potentially debilitating hair color choice (see photo above) to punch through opposing defensive lines on numerous line breaks as well as dictate tempo from scrumhalf. Senior Forward Elliot Christoph emerged as the impact player of the championship game dotting down two of the Quins three tries in the final, the first of which came within the first 30 seconds on a perfectly-timed interception.

Seniors Daniel Helton and Hank White provided powerful ball running and rock solid tackling throughout the day to anchor the forwards. Nathan Crawford, Ben Colvett, Matthew Martin, Thomas Byrd and Charlie Gomez all played stingy defense and provided valuable minutes in the march to the championship.

Simply put: “Strong senior leadership and unselfish play propelled the Harlequins to victory,” said Harlequins 7s Head Coach Dave Christenson.

But more than that, these players and their opposition got on the field. Activities have been sorely rare for young people this year, and it has clearly been hard on them because of the COVID shutdowns, controversial as they can be. The glow of Harpeth's victory was only part of a brighter light that rugby was played at all.