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Rugby PA Finals Set After Dramatic Semis

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Rugby PA Finals Set After Dramatic Semis

St. Joe's Prep is set to meet LaSalle College HS in the Rugby PA Boys D1 final after both won semifinals over the weekend.

LaSalle beat Berks 24-17. LaSalle led 17-14 before Berks was hit with a yellow card. And yet Berks was able to maintain possession and got a penalty, which they kicks to tie the game.

Now with only a few minutes left Berks tried to get out of their 22, and an errant pass saw the ball roll into in-goal. LaSalle chased it down and scored to take the 24-17 lead. Berks had one more shot to score and charged to the line. However, LaSalle's cover defense made the try-saving tackle to save the game.

St. Joe's Prep, meanwhile, went into the semis remembering how they lost their 2021 semifinal against Gregory the Great. St. Joe's almost scored at the death and that would have won that game. Instead GGA went on to the final, which they also won. Both teams knew this one would also be close.

"They are always a very good, very smart team," said St. Joe's Coach Brian McCloskey.

GGA took a 9-0 lead, smartly converting pressure into points over the opening 10 minutes. But St. Joe's responded with four converted tries through the rest of the first half to take a 29-9 lead.

Gregory the Great responded, not surprisingly.

"We knew this was going to be tough no matter what the score was," added McCloskey.

A try from GGA, converted, made it 28-16. They scored against and now it was a one-score game at 28-21. But St. Joe's managed to get over for a key try and then held on 33-28.

"We made mistakes and gave up some self-inflicted points," said McCloskey. 

"We at GGA are absolutely gutted," added Gregory the Great Head Coach Garrett van Beek. "But in the same breath we give congrats to SJP on making it to the finals."

For St. Joe's fullback Leyton Ruck scored two tries and was hugely influential. Scrumhalf Peter Laphen and flyhalf Frank Lilley did well to run the attack while the forwards saw Murphy Bonner, Sean Malfara, Ryan Oliver, and Will McKernan play strong up front.

St. Joe's and LaSalle face off this coming weekend.

In Division 2, State College defeated West Allegheny and Indiana Area defeated Downingtown to make the final, adding a nice Western Pennsylvania flavor to the championship weekend.

Doylestown plays Moon Area in the girls final, Blackthorn plays Elizabethtown in the Junior Division final, and Coventry takes on Doylestown in the Youth final.