HS Boys Games Nationwide Wrapup
HS Boys Games Nationwide Wrapup
Here's a look at what happened in the Boys High School rugby scene around the country.
We refer to the team's ranking from last week when appropriate. If we say S14, that means a School team ranked 14 among School teams. A ranking of C19 would be the #19 team in the HS Club rankings.
Still unbeaten are Dallas Jesuit (S5) and Strake Jesuit (S2) as the spring starts to close down in the Lone Star State. Dallas Jesuit's game this past weekend against St. Thomas was canceled, but the week before the Rangers defeated Plano 31-14 behind two tries from prop Robert Triantos. Head Coach matt Upton ran out some players who needed some time on the field or at new positions, saying he wanted to watch the wear-and-tear somewhat.
One of those players, hooker Diego Murillo, had a very good showing in his first varsity start.
"Right now we are concentrating on just working on consolidating our line breaks and making sure we are efficient with our offense. We had a few guys out with injuries and it was wonderful to see younger players step up so they could get some rest," said Upton.
Strake Jesuit hammered St. Pius X 64-10 and is also unbeaten. Those two teams are slated to meet on May 1 for a de facto title game between what appears to be the top two single-school teams.
Rivals Westlake (S35) and Lake Travis (S30) faced off in a defensive battle between the two Austin-area teams. Westlake emerged 10-3 winners. If anyone has a claim to be top single-school team aside from Strake or Dallas Jesuit, it's probably Westlake.
Westlake is now 3-0 in Rugby Texas action, while Lake Travis has lost twice in league play by a try or less. The big surprise team in the state is probably West Houston (C29), which opened the season with a 19-19 tie of Strake Jesuit, then lost to St. Thomas, before turning it around and beating both St. Thomas and St. Pius X (S37) by identical 40-12 scores.
While Bixby (S4) probably remains the top team in the state, F5 (C30) has won well to go 3-0 and earn a bye in the state playoffs. This week Jenks (S29) logged its second win over OKC.
We're down to the final with the SW Florida (Naples) Hammerheads (C6) taking on the upstart Cardinal Gibbons (S12) squad. Details >>
With St. Edward's game canceled and that of St. Ignatius vs Avon a runaway, eyes turned toward Archbishop Moeller (S23), whose March 27 34-24 loss to Ignatius is now starting to look like a harbinger of bigger things. Moeller is 5-1 in Ohio and they also won in close one against Dwenger.
Head Coach Steve Kuhlman said his team didn't play its best but they beat St. Xavier of Cincinnati 31-8 nonetheless.
"It’s a rivalry game so our players came out wanting to hit them hard instead of play rugby and that led to us being offside, playing off our feet, and just making mistakes."
It was tight, 8-7 St. Xavier at halftime. Moeller could have scored just before the break but knocked the ball on. In the second half they settled down and pulled away thanks to some smart kicking, good tackling, and ball poaching.
"They were ready to play," said Kuhlman of his opposition. "Tough kids that were making their tackles and slowing down our rucks."
Bishop Dwenger (S10) backed up their earlier defeat of Penn HS (S20) with another, taking down Penn 21-5. Joe Fabini scored two on the day with Michael Tippmann adding another and Daniel Cava converting all three.
"We set the tone early with our physicality," said Coach Taylor Serres. "We have a great group of upperclassman that have been playing since Jr High and it's all starting to come to fruition. Very proud of this group of young men."
Coach Sam DiFilippo added praise for Fabini, who has been at the heart of the scoresheet all season and also captains the team.
"Senior Captain Joe Fabini continues to run a very tough and athletic group of forwards. For the second time Joe was able to score two tries in a match to give us a solid foundation to play our game. Penn prepared well for us and gave us many challenges in the first half. The boys got back to work in the second half and Michael Tippmann's try was definitely the climax of the match, Our ability to create momentum off of the game line is very impressive."
Now in its second week Rugby Pa. saw the up-and-coming Berks County (C14) program win its second in a row. After opening with a win over Conestoga, Berks beat West Shore (C24) 27-22.
Diohnny Ruiz scored three tries to torch West Shore, including the game-winner. That try came when scrumhalf James Stelluti tapped quickly and produced a very nifty offload to Ruiz who went over.
Unranked Doylestown looked very good in a 41-7 over Conestoga, and may well be in the rankings as a result. Gregory the Great (C12) held Cumberland Valley tryless 34-9. It was a very impressive defensive effort from GGA led by their forwards.
League play is set to start this coming weekend and Thunder Rugby is chugging along nicely. This week they won a preseason game against Belmont Shore 27-7. Shore is good, but Thunder won the physical battle.
Maryland / DC Area
A gathering of teams in a preseason weekend has Rugby Maryland clubs starting up. Details here >>. Meanwhile, Georgetown Prep (S22) won their second clash with Salesianum 27-12 in a nicely-played game. More to come on that one.
With in-state play finally getting going, Wando (S28) beat South Greenville (C40) in impressive fashion 34-7. Wando and South Greenville had played in Charlotte the week before, but Wando had been shorthanded and didn't perform at their usual level. Injuries have hit them hard but Head Coach Simon Read likes the team's potential.
"With more games under our belt I feel we would have beaten Raleigh," said Read of the team Wando lost to 13-3 on April 10.
St. Thomas Aquinas (S1) beat Liberty (C38) 45-0 on Senior night. Senior flanker Johnathan Contreras earned Man of the Match honors.
"We had some ball movement and improved on our line speed and staying connected on defense, but we had too many turnovers," said Saints Head Coach Tim Kluempers. "We had 13 turnovers in the first half alone. I think they were trying too hard to keep the ball alive."
Once STA settled down they started to score tries.
The Kansas City Jr. Blues (C34) got some local games in finally and after a difficult start to the season won, beating St. James 24-15 and Winnetonka 50-7. St. Louis University HS (S26) won big over Francis Howell.
Herriman (S3) held off Olympus (S11) 29-21 on Friday. Olympus can score from anywhere with their speed.
"They can fly," said Herriman Director of Rugby Jeff Wilson. "Unfortunately we missed three tackles on them and they were all long tries."
Herriman was impatient in the red zone and turned the ball over several times in scoring position.
"We've got to get that part fixed," said Wilson.
And of course Genesis (C2) went from strength to strength with a dramatic win over West Valley (C4) 40-33. More details here but this was a wild one>>
The Harpeth Harlequins (C16) improved to 4-0 with a 41-0 defeat of School #24 Father Ryan. Up-and-comers Spring Hill improved to 2-1 after they too beat Father Ryan, this time by the score of 22-17.
Brother Martin (S6) has had some close games, but they keep winning and they won again to finish the regular season unbeaten. Details here>>
Royal Irish (C3) over Aspetuck (C8). Details here>>
Charlotte Tigers (C1) over Germantown (C18)
Phoenix Alpharetta (C22) also over Germantown. Details here>>
Little Rock Jr. Stormers recorded a nice victory 26-15 over an injury-hit Christian Brothers out of Tennessee.