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HS Club Bracket Shakes Up Seeding

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HS Club Bracket Shakes Up Seeding

Thunder vs Royal Irish (in white) under the lights. Alex Goff photo.

The lower seeds had a big day Thursday night at the Boys HS National Championships, with three lower seeds emerging victorious and only #1-seed Charlotte winning among the top seeds, and they had to work for it.

Woodlands 20 Fort Hunt 5

This was less of an upset as it was a confirmation of the fact that #4 Fort Hunt and #5 Woodlands were close. Woodlands scored early and put Fort Hunt under some significant pressure, so much so that they seemed to press a little. 

Woodlands played with a bit more abandon, and defended superbly.

Charlotte 21 SOC Raptors 12

South Orange County scored in the first minute, but Charlotte kind of shrugged that off and worked their way back into the game.

Port Goodrum ran the Charlotte attack nicely and seemed in good control of the game. His kicking from the hand was very good and his kicks for goal kept the scoreboard ticking over. Raptors players a wide open game, but Charlotte’s defense, after that early hiccup, was very good. 

But the Tigers didn’t really shake the Raptors.

Aspetuck 31 Genesis 22

The #7-seed Aspetuck brought the best combination of what they can do. Pearson Hill, playing fullback, was outstanding. He scored a try where he beat eight tacklers. Big prop Matt Weiner crashed over for a couple and was able to score even when everyone expected it.

Genesis didn’t like to kick, and instead chose to run the ball out of their 22 at every opportunity. The thing it, if often worked. They broke through for several long runs and three nicely taken tries. The center pairing of Willie Leota and Connor Grande was excellent and caused Aspetuck all sorts of problems.

But Hill made some key try-saving tackles, showing that Genesis wasn’t the only team with pace. This game was end-to-end. Genesis was behind 14-12 but scored to take the lead only to see Aspetuck come back. The two teams linked arms afterward and bowed to the fans—it was a fitting end.

Thunder 14 Royal Irish 10

Thunder Rugby played some wide-open rugby and scored two early. tries, one of an excellent chip-and-chase. But they then saw their halfback sin-binned, their flyhalf injured, and their replacement flyhalf injured. Royal Irish got the ball back and crashed in two tries to make it 14-10 with plenty of time left.

After that, Royal Irish spent close to the final 20 minutes in the Thunder 22. Thunder’s defense was dogged, and they just held on, getting a held-up call, a turnover, and a penalty  on their tryline. Royal Irish needed to punch one in, and had they done so, they would likely have won. But Thunder, coached by former Royal Irish player Jacob Campbell, just didn’t give up … ever.

 

So Thunder takes on Aspetuck in one semi and Charlotte carries the banner for upper-seed teams against Woodlands.