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Legion Shocks Fort Hunt In Virginia

HS Boys

Legion Shocks Fort Hunt In Virginia

Legion in white, Fort Hunt in gray and blue.

Legion pulled off a bit of a surprise over the weekend, defeating Fort Hunt 29-24 to win the Rugby Virginia state title.

Over the last couple of years, Fort Hunt has moved on to become a national title contender, and pulled away from the competition. As a result, the Prince William and Loudoun High School Boys programs combined their players for the Rugby Virginia HS league, hoping to compete with Fort Hunt. This team, Legion, did exactly that.

For the last two seasons, Legion has conducted pre-season camps at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. With the assistance of the Mount’s Head Coach Jay Myles, Legion adopted his mantra “no one is stronger than all of us.” This past January, the goal was set to beat the best team in the league – a team that believes in itself, maintains the discipline to continue to improve, and is expected to perform well.

This year Legion and Fort Hunt met for their Spring season matrix match on May the 5th each undefeated in matrix play and both excelling in other tournaments. Despite solid play, Legion's mistakes were exploited by Fort Hunt, and the Warriors went on to win 48-24. They came into the match with the right attitude, and maintained their composure throughout the game. Legion coach Jake Jacobs said his players had to make adjustments, but also had to make a mental shift in how they approached Fort Hunt.

So on to the state final on May 12.

Variations in lineup and positions, as well as implementing new plays, was all part of Legion buildup. But, in the end, said Jacobs, it was about attitude, will, and determination.

Inspiration, it turns out, was evident in the day's preceding championship match. Legion had to look no further than their sister High School girls team, who played in their own championship rivalry match earlier in the day. In the face of a loss, the girl’s team had won something better, recognizing a belief in themselves as a team. A change in attitude for Legion was essential.

Prior to the kickoff for the State Championship, the Legion players were reminded that to judge your opponent as better or worse, was not the proper reference. Legion would have to demonstrate that they were as good, or better as a team, and that it was time to change expectations – most importantly what they expected from themselves. The challenge was to meet, and exceed the standard that had been set.

In the match against Fort Hunt, Legion took an early lead, with two unconverted tries, which were responded to by the Warriors converting their first try. Prior to end of the first half, Legion increased the lead with another try and conversion. Legion 17, Fort Hunt 7 at halftime.

The second half found Legion yet again scoring first, followed by a converted try by the Warriors. With player substitutions made by both teams, Legion scored another converted try against the refreshed Warriors, and subsequently were scored against with a converted try by Fort Hunt. The pressure was on. The discipline and skill of the Warriors late in the game was text book, almost scripting an inevitable result with diminishing minutes in the match. A late penalty against Legion resulted in three more points for Fort Hunt reducing Legion’s lead to 29-24.

With time for one final drive, the Warriors drove into Legion territory, but were continuously stopped short by the tenacious Legion defense.

As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Fort Hunt found themselves positioned inside Legion’s 22, but unable to break through. Legion, with a determined effort, held on 29-24 in what was one of Rugby Virginia's best and most exciting games of the year.