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Pendelton Repeats as Greer Christmas 7s Champion

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Pendelton Repeats as Greer Christmas 7s Champion

Nolan Souders on the run for Pendleton.

Pendleton took the Greer Christmas 7s in Greer, SC, going 6-0 throughout the weekend.

An experienced Pendleton side heavy with seniors showcased a strong defense, allowing more than one try in only one of their six games.

The Greer Christmas 7s brought in teams from Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. Several teams fielded more than one side and Pendleton did that, putting a side in the top bracket, the Gold Division, and two in the Silver Division. In the Gold Division competition, Pendleton opened up with a 24-7 defeat of Raleigh Rattlesnakes and followed that up with a tough 26-12 win over Raptor out of Tennessee. 

Further into round-robin play Pendleton beat Greer 21-5 and shut out Blue Fear 26-0. They wrapped up round-robin play with a convincing 40-5 victory over Oceanside out of South Carolina. That left Pendleton 1st among the six teams with a 5-0 record, and Raptor finished 4-1 to take 2nd.

So that was the final. In this rematch Pendleton's defense was once again strong, holding Raptor to one try and won the final 24-5.

Pendleton took the Gold Division, winning the tournament for the second straight year. Meanwhile, the Raleigh Redhawks won the girls final in fairly dominant fashion, and Rebels Rugby out of Georgia took the boys Silver Division.

Nick Trout tied with Reese Reddington for most tries scores for Pendleton, with four, and Trout added a solid 16-for-21 showing on conversions to log 52 points over the tournament. The scoring was nicely spread throughout the squad with Dresden Roberts and Eli Arthur each scoring three tries while four players—Jayvith Kissick, Elijah Pimental, Sammy Rhea, and Nolan Souders—for two tries.

"Our defensive connection was key on the weekend, " said Head Coach Austin Robbins. "We focused during our practice sessions on making sure  the front six stayed together and that our sweeper was communicating. When the time came to pressure the boys made some great force tackles and kept the opposition in their end. On the rare times that our opponents tried to turn the corner our edge defenders did a fantastic job of giving ground and tracking back to make cover tackles."

Trout and Reddington worked as the sweepers and communicated well, while Peyton Pollock, Nate DeRolf, Nolan Souders, and Jacob Rowley were excellent on defense.

With the ball in hand, "the boys did a great job of being selfless and sharing the ball with opportunistic passes to put their teammates away for the try," said Robbins. "We had a few slow starts  on Saturday but on Sunday the boys were ready to hit the gas and move the ball to the open man."