Goff Rugby Twitter     Goff Rugby Facebook

Program Spotlight: West Houston Wins a Big One

irish rugby tours

Program Spotlight: West Houston Wins a Big One

West Houston in action vs Strake Jesuit.

West Houston is for real; that's the likely conclusion after the team beat #3-ranked school team Strake Jesuit Saturday in Texas league play.

After starting the season with a tie to Strake and a loss to St. Thomas, West Houston won two games by identical 40-12 scores to set them up for a rematch with a very tough Strake team.

"We’ve grown as a club," said Head Coach Mark McKay, who started coaching the team at its inception three years ago. "The development of the club and the high school team has been good. We've got a senior men's team as part of the club and they join in to help them. We're all getting that development."

With a lot of young players, McKay has been working on basic skills and making sure they can rely on those skills when things go sideways.

"They've got a lot of passion and desire," said McKay. "We're focusing on the basics and how to do the basics well. If you look at major rugby-playing countries, or just the Houston SaberCats in our town, you see they master the basics. When you train and master the basics you improve as a player."

The players have responded and put a ton of work into the season. They ramped that up even more on Saturday, producing a strong team effort to beat Strake 29-26. 

Playing with the wind well in the first half with some solid tactical kicking, West Houston's backline set up the forwards for some hard-hitting runs. And they scrummed well too and ran out to a 22-7 lead.

With the wind Strake stormed back and scored early in the second half to make it 22-14. West Houston replied and that score was key because Strake ended the game with two more tries, but didn't have enough time to go for another.

Up front the young West Houston forwards led the way. Flanker Seth Smith was very good and a powerful presence. Hooker Louis Klahr has just moved into that position and made it his own, while 16-year-old tighthead prop Tyler Cline has stood up to older players and continues to win those contests.

In the backs, flyhalf Ben Saunders has shown plenty of rugby knowledge and inside center Val Royo Acevedo is like a second flyhalf.

All of those young players have shown themselves to be capable in part because the older players help them. 

"We're like a family," said McKay. "New players are made welcome and that's very important. Then there are the senior club players who support the team and ring us all together."

Rugby Texas has an end-of-season tournament and West Houston is nicely-placed to do well there. Next week their game against St. Pius X is a forfeit win, so West Houston will come out of with a 4-1-1 record. For a team in its first season in D1 in Rugby Texas, that's not bad at all.