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Royal Irish Gets by Aspetuck in Intense Battle

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Royal Irish Gets by Aspetuck in Intense Battle

Royla Irish flyhalf Tommy Hannon prepares to kick clear. Photo Alice Hannon.

Royal Irish defeated Aspetuck in a clash of two top-ranked HS clubs Saturday, with the Indiana team edging out their Connecticut rivals on the second-last play of the game.

The game itself was of high intensity throughout as the two teams matched up very well—Aspetuck's backline was effective and dangerous, as was that of Royal Irish; both teams had big, physical forwards who worked hard.

"The game was really well played," said Royal Irish Head Coach Dave Snyder. "I was surprised it was so low-scoring."

The Royal Irish ability to score on the outside continued, with most of their tries scored in the corner. As a result, of their four tries, they converted only one. But that's all they needed as they held Aspetuck to three tries (two converted). With time basically up and Aspetuck leading 19-17, Royal Irish found space for Tanner Quackenbush on the wing and he raced in to score the go-ahead try. With Royal Irish now up 22-19, there was time for the restart, Aspetuck kicked, Royal Irish retained and kicked to touch to end the game.

"Yeah were heartbroken," said Aspetuck Head Coach Ray Weiner only partly in jest. They were really good. We were pretty good too. It was a war. I have never seen a high school game like that, but the kids just kept playing through it. We just needed to work on covering the wings a bit better."

For Snyder, the game being on a knife edge was just what he wanted, but he still needs to see his players handle their discipline better. He got some big contributions from several players but especially notable was flyhalf Tommy Hannon, who, aside from running the attack well, poached several balls in the tackle. While the Royal Irish centers and flankers made some key tackles, Hannon was quick over the ball to force turnovers.

For Aspetuck, the scrumhalf-flyhalf brother combo of Carson and Pearson Hill was outstanding.

"We were competitive," said Aspetuck. " think we were very balanced and we're finding a good mix. We've got a few more things to work on but we can only get better by playing good teams like this. This is only going to help us at nationals."