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Owyhee Leads Idahoan Charge in Girls Regional 7s

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Owyhee Leads Idahoan Charge in Girls Regional 7s

Oweyhee vs Rocky Mountain in the final. Photo Mandie Disbrow.

In what was perhaps a bit of a surprise, Owyhee HS defeated Rocky Mountain in the final of the Western regional 7s held in Idaho over the weekend.

Thank you to Mandie Disbrow for the photos.

 The surprise was mainly that there was significant talent from outside the Gem State and most would have pegged Summit HS out of Colorado as the favorite, rather than a local team.

But it was indeed two Idaho teams that made the championship match.

Summit did actually win their pool quite comfortable, but the top teams in each pool were clearly #1, and the other three were all from Idaho—Rocky Mountain, Eagle HS, and Owyhee.

That set up quarterfinals:

Owyhee vs Meridian
Eagle HS vs Mountain View
Summit vs Marana
Rock Mountain vs Panthers

The other four teams played in a round-robin through Day Two, and here are the scores:

Liberty 36 Grackles 5
Summit Tigers 12 Monarch HS 0
Monarch 17 Grackles 5
Summit Tigers 24 Liberty 22
Summit Tigers 19 Grackles 0
Liberty 26 Monarch 0

Summit indeed showed their depth with their Tigers squad taking 9th, edging a tough Liberty side from Washington 24-22 in the key matchup.

Quarterfinals and Semis

All the pool winners won but basically the same margin of victory: 15-0, 19-5, 17-0, and 24-0. 

In the semifinals, Rocky Mountain beat Eagle 22-7 in a rematch of the state semifinals from the week before. And then Owyhee pulled off the big upset, taking care of Summit 27-7.

A few mishandled kickoffs by Summit allowed Owyhee for short fields, and with the speed of Kanani Watts and Clair Smith, Owyhee was able to burn Summit on the outside.

Summit beat Eagle 12-7 in the 3rd-4th game on a clutch late try, while in the consolation bracket for 5th Mountain View torched the Panthers out of Oregon 26-0 and then held off local rivals Meridian 10-7. Arizona's Marana held off Panthers 24-20 to take 7th.

The Final

So it was that this turned into the third straight week that Rocky Mountain and Owyhee would face off in a major final. In the District final and the State final Rocky Mountain cruised to victories with the skill of Krista Mavy and Alyssa Hine, the strength of Reece Moody, and the pace of Meg and Paige Thomason, all glued together by the rugby intelligence of eKili Ellsworth, Rocky Mountain had the whole packed.

But Owyhee had in fact beaten Rocky Mountain during the regular season and knew they were in with a chance.

Owyhee scored first, but Rocky Mountain scored right after to kibosh any momentum their challengers might presume to have. Rocky Mountain took that momentum and ran with it, scoring twice more to lead 17-5.

Owyhee came back, scoring late in the second half, and then again as time expired. That second try made it 17-15. Maddie Metier, who had struggled earlier in the day with her kicking, drilled her pressure kick to send the game into overtime.

Rocky Mtn received the kickoff and looked to be in control but turnovers on both sides of the ball kept the game in suspense for the full two minutes of sudden death. As time expired once more, Clair Smith zipped through a gap and broke off a massive run on the outside to score the winner 22-17.

This was a huge win for Owyhee, which is only in its third year of girls rugby. They led an excellent Idaho effort, as five of the top six places were taken from Idaho teams. Owyhee ended up with the best defense for the tournament, allowing 31 points in five games. Rocky Mountain had the best offense with an average of 30 points per game. Kanani Watts and Smith were outstanding with the ball in hand for Owyhee, but they also made many tackles on girls bigger than them and moved the ball well to open players to set up scores. Paige Thomason was a key scorer and excellent defender for Rocky Mountain.

This tournament was the opening salvo in a push to get a national girls school 7s tournament going. The teams that played all represented one school, and no compilation select sides will be allowed to compete.

The Owyhee girls team, winners of the Western regional 7s tournament. Photo Mandie Disbrow.