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Penn HS Shines in Indiana Boys HS 7s

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Penn HS Shines in Indiana Boys HS 7s

Penn battled past Avon and Mudsock. Alex Goff photo.

Penn HS held off two impressive challenges to win the Rugby Indiana Fall 7s at the Moose Rugby Grounds in Elkhart, Ind.

Penn was led by an MVP performance from Saeed Kiruu, who, along with Mudsock's Hunter Lewis was the most consistently effective kicker in the tournament. Kiruu was also a dangerous attacker in his own right and set up his teammates as well. Jonathan Wise was a hard-nosed runner and excellent finisher.

Mudsock, which is a team made up of players from Hamilton Southeast and Fishers HS did very well in finding space and playing a quick ball-movement game, and they torched Noblesville a couple of times because of that. But against Avon they dealth with a team that also liked to play wide and sometimes added a bit more of a kicking game to their mix. It was Avon's defensive pressure, however, that got them into the lead and Mudsock needed something special to edge them out 19-17.

"We literally handed them, in their hands, two tries," said Nate Viehl. 

"It's all about getting the ball to the edge," added Hunter Lewis. "Make those overloads."

Still Mudsock survived and Avon went on to beat Noblesville to make the semis.

Penn HS were tested somewhat by a good Carmel team that also liked to use the width of the field. But Penn's mixture of evasiveness and hard-charging style saw them through. A somewhat strange ending came about in the Penn-Carmel game. With time up and Penn ahead 14-7, all Penn had to do was kick the ball dead to win the game. Wise's kick, however, ended up in-goal, where it bounced straight up. He wise had chased it to make sure it went dead and realized the best way to do that was to touch it down for a final try. That made it 21-7 for Penn, but the game was, really, closer than that.

Both semis were competitive, but the final was even more so as the teams traded tries back and forth. With Penn's defense holding steady in the latter stages they were able to force a turnover and get it to the edge to score the game-winner 22-17.

"From last year to this year ... we grew a lot as a family," said Penn senior Evan Lowe. "I love each and every one of these guys. The team chemistry we have, that's honestly why we're so good, I believe. We're always hanging out outside of practice ... building that connection and that's why we have each other's backs out on these fields."

This was the last fall season for Penn Head Coach Bart Bottorff, who has been coaching the program for 27 years. Bottorff thanked his coaching staff who had done a superb job, and this coming spring will likely be his last season coaching the Penn team after almost three decades of success. Penn had a rebuilding year last year, but this fall, with several of their more experienced players not available for 7s because they were playing football, they took a massive step forward.

Boys 7s Scores
Mudsock 34-0 Noblesville
Mudsock 19-17 Avon
Avon 38-5 Nobelsville
Carmel 24-10 Chargers
Penn HS 33-12 Carmel
Penn HS 34-5 Chargers

Semifinals
Penn HS 21-7 Avon
Mudsock 14-5 Carmel

Final
Penn HS 22-17 Mudsock