Goff Rugby Twitter     Goff Rugby Facebook

Overtime Thriller in Indiana D1 Final

irish rugby tours

Overtime Thriller in Indiana D1 Final

Carmel Rugby came together at the right time. Photo Jolene Broad Photography.

Unranked Carmel HS pulled off a bit of an upset in the Rugby Indiana D1 finals, beating #23 HS Club Pendleton in overtime to win the state tournament.

t couldn't have been more exciting and dramatic. 

The first half ended with Pendleton on top of Carmel for two points (12-10). At the end of the second half Carmel was ahead 17-12. However, in the last 45 seconds of the half, Pendleton was able to tie with a try.

It has been a pretty successful season for the relatively new Pendleton program, but Carmel put it all together come playoff time, beating a very good Avon side (ranked #36) on Saturday and then Pendleton on Monday. 

The teams battled to a 17-17 tie at full time, and the game went to overtime (two five-minute halves). In the first OT period, Pendleton slotted a penalty goal to lead 20-17. In the second half of OT they got another kickable chance and wisely went for points. The kick was good and Pendleton led 23-17. Strategically this was exactly the right thing to do—take the points on offer. But it did leave the door open for Carmel as a converted try would regain the lead.

With about two minutes left in the game, outside center Clark Stanton was injured and Head Coach Leo Romero sent in Jean Claude Ronald, a rookie, to replace him.

"One more minute to play; I could noticed three scenarios at that moment," said Romeo. "On one side, there were Pendleton players and fans who were already feeling the well deserved  taste of victory. On another side, there were Carmel fans who were hoping for a miracle. Lastly, there were the Carmel players, with fire in their eyes, still refusing to quit, and one single goal to achieve, working as a true team."

Knowing they had to keep control of the ball, Carmel did just that, and inside center Zach White went up the middle to score under the posts. That made it 23-22. Then Ronald stepped up to attempt the conversion and perhaps not quite aware of how important the kick was. He put it through the posts and Carmel won.

"I can't describe how proud I am of this team. This is a game I will never forget," said Romero.