Herriman Leads Utah HS 7s Pack
Herriman Leads Utah HS 7s Pack
Since the inception of Fall 7s rugby in Utah, Herriman HS has won the series every year, and halfway through the season it looks as though that trend will continue.
Herriman had to be the favorite coming in to the fall, with loads of returning experience and perennial strong contender United rebuilding somewhat after losing several outstanding players who were 3 and 4 year starters. United's numbers, however, are strong and a good indicator that the program should have no problem reloading, with 3 teams entered in the competition. Likewise, Herriman's numbers remain strong, with 64 players spread across 5 teams entered. Olympus returns with numbers for a team of their own after having their players on Barbarian sides in the past - a good sign for their growth - while newcomer Riverton has entered a team for the first time, to go along with regular Varsity participant Wasatch HS.
Herriman Red (their 1st side) was nothing short of dominant in Leg 1, with pool play victories over Riverton, Barbarians, and Wasatch. United, as expected, won their pool with wins over Herriman Gold, TC Fusion, and Olympus. Herriman Gold was no contest for their Red, which won easily in the 1st semifinal, while United dispatched Riverton in the other semi. As usual, then, it was a Herriman-United final. Herriman had to work for a 14-0 first half lead, and made a huge play when United's James Tenney broke through for a 50m run and what looked like a certain try. Ammon Sagala had other plans, however, running nearly the the full width of the field to chase Tenney down and tackle him just a meter from the try line. Herriman was able to turn over and clear, and though United had several scoring opportunities, the Herriman defense would not break en route to a 24-0 victory to win Leg 1. One the day, Herriman outscored its opponents 223-5, led by offensive fireworks from Tanner Foulger and Jackson Hammer to go along with Sagala's grit. Herriman Gold would finish 3rd with a win over Riverton, while Herriman White came from behind to sneak by United 2 to win the JV final.
Leg 2 saw several changes, as the JV finalists from the previous week were promoted to replace no-shows Olympus and Riverton who both had conflicts, while TC Fusion and Barbarians were relegated to the JV division. Herriman Red would run through their pool with wins of 71-0 over Wasatch and 40-12 over United JV, while Herriman Gold surprised United Varsity to win their pool. JV and Varsity were perhaps misleading labels for the United sides, however, as Varsity players were split between both teams and the JV side proving to be the stronger by the end of the day as evidenced by their dominating performance 28-5 over Herriman Gold in the semifinals. Herriman Red shook off a rough start to cruise to a 47-5 win over United 1. So, it would be Herriman and United in the final again, and United would strike first to take a 5-0 lead. That seemed to wake up Herriman, who responded with 2 scores from a very determined captain Jake Barker, but United would pull within 2 at the half with a try at the death. The second half would be a different story, with Herriman showcasing its depth and experience to pull away 42-17. Captain Connor Hyde made several highlight-reel runs, and found a streaking Carson Connors in support with an offload for a 40 meter finish in a Fijian-esque bit of rugby, and Mason Barker and Isaac McQueen did a lot of the thankless jobs, setting up teammates with great passing and work at the breakdown. As a bonus, Herriman has dedicated its season to Nixon Whatcott, a 7 year old boy fighting cancer, and has received a pledge from a local business to donate $1 to Nixon's care for every point scored this fall. With 428 points at the halfway point of the series, the Mustangs are on pace to raise just under $1000 for Nixon.
United was strong in exacting revenge in the 3rd place game 19-17 over Herriman Gold in what was perhaps the most exciting game of the day, and Barbarians would win the JV division with a 26-12 win over TC Fusion.
Following a 1 week break, the series will resume on Saturday, October 13th.