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Herriman Get Payback in Utah Final

HS Boys

Herriman Get Payback in Utah Final

Noah Vaea has been excellent for Herriman all season. Photo Shelli Simmons.

Herriman HS opened up their season with a 29-27 loss to Highland that shook up the rankings and how most people looked at Utah's single-school league; Saturday they got some payback.

It didn't look like it would be that way early on, as Highland took a lead into the halftime break. But in the second  half, with Zak Barker and Noah Vaea playing their usual high standard, Herriman came back, and pulled away late to win 53-28.

"In the first game when we played Highland, they dominated us physically, especially in th scrums and around the rucks," said Herriman Coach Derek Smith. "We said to ourselves, we cannot allow them to beat us around the fringes. They still did a lot of really good stuff against us."

But, a somewhat smaller Herriman team battled hard and worked until the end, in fact finishing the game with a maul for a try. 

Vaea's kicking and overall play caused problems for Highland.


"And he's on another level, athletically," said Smith. Vaea will be going to play football at Weber State. Barker was a horse. "He's the heart and soul of the team," said his coach.

And Ethan Burrows, who was a Utah Lions Academy player and a recent transfer to Herriman HS, was a huge factor. Burrows had played back his entire rugby life, but Herriman needed a flanker who could work in the lineout, and Burrows was a perfect fit. He also scored some crucial tries - two against Olympus in the 59-5 victory in the semis, and the opening try against Highland.

See video of the Herriman v Highland final here.


Now Herriman turns right around and travels to Kansas Cty, Mo. for the Boys HS Rugby National Championships.


Historical Winners at Boys HS Nationals.



"It's a bit daunting," said Smith. "We're going to have five really tough games in nine days. It's tough but it's also really exciting. It's a pleasure to play teams such as Xavier or Gonzaga or Jesuit. We're so pumped."


More on Boys HS Nationals!