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Jesuit New Orleans Wins in DC

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Jesuit New Orleans Wins in DC

Hudson Ellis photo.

Jesuit of New Orleans traveled to Washington D.C. this past weekend to take on national powerhouse Gonzaga High School’s Varsity Black squad in a first ever matchup between the programs.

This was not Gonzaga's top squad, but a 2nd-level varsity team, and still a tough competitor for any team.

Gonzaga started off the match with a kickoff to Jesuit’s backs, who were caught not expecting to receive the kick. The mental lapse saw Jesuit mishandle the ball, earning Gonzaga an unforced error and turnover in the first seconds of the match. Thereafter, the two squads settled in for a lengthy volley of back-and-forth possession, with each side pressing the issue against the other, with neither yielding any points. Both Jesuit and Gonzaga put together several multiphase operations, only to suffer turnovers from poached ball and infringements around the ruck. Gonzaga was particularly successful in punching holes in Jesuit’s defense with powerful runs from its number one.

The scoring was eventually opened following a deep run by Jesuit flyhalf Case Ellis. Gonzaga regained possession as Ellis’s run left him isolated, but the Gonzaga clearing kick did not find touch and was caught by Jesuit fullback Jack Gab, who darted past defenders for the match’s first try. Conversion missed. Gonzaga returned the favor shortly thereafter, following a penetrating 50-meter run by their front row. But some snappy offloading led to Gonzaga finishing off the run for a try, which they converted. Jesuit closed out the scoring in the first half when off a scrum, Ellis found space through several Gonzaga defenders, who had been left flat-footed by a convincing dummy-line. Forty meters later he had scored and the successful conversion left Jesuit up 12-7.

The second half opened much like the first with a series of back and forth exchanges. Ellis tried a kick and chase, but it was field well by Gonzaga and they punished a unorganized chase, ran the phases, and scored a second converted try. 

But Jesuit replied with three tries. A run by Jesuit fullback Jack Gab was followed by a penalty against Gonzaga for not releasing the ballcarrier. Jesuit’s halfback Josh Cashio quick tapped, attacked, and passed to No. 8 John McCord, who crossed the line. Then Ellis poached deep in Gonzaga territory, which within two quick phases saw Jesuit blindside Chuck Lobrano cross for five more. Later, with time running short, Jesuit was again pressuring deep in Gonzaga territory when Ellis ran a crisp switch with center Matt Palmer, who burst through the line and stepped a defender for the match’s final try. Conversion good. Final Jesuit 31, Gonzaga 14.

Jesuit head coach Adam Massey complimented the entire Gonzaga program, from coaches to players to parents, for the exceptional hospitality and very fine showing of rugby culture, noting that it’s quite apparent why Gonzaga sits at the pinnacle of high school boys’ rugby year-in and year-out.