STA Over KC Jr. Blues
STA Over KC Jr. Blues
St. Thomas Aquinas of Kansas defeated the Kansas City Junior Blues in a local rivalry game 32-12 Saturday.
For Aquinas, it was an impressive victory, led by HS All American flanker and team captain Steven Rhode, who was a wrecking ball running through the KC defense. Rohde's running set up three tries for prop Clayton Ginther. The result was in part the fruit of a very successful tour of Ireland that Aquinas just completed.
"The tour was awesome," said Head Coach Tim Kluempers. "George does such a great job finding you the right games to play."
He meant George Hook, who runs Irish Rugby Tours, the company that ran the tour for the Aguinas program (and in fact has done so three times). "The measure of how a tour goes isn't whether nothing goes awry, because something it always going to happen, but how they handle and fix it, and George did an amazing job. The whole tour was really beneficial for us. We couldn't take all of our players, but it was great for our rugby and as a cultural trip, as well."
St. Thomas Aquinas didn't usually have enough players for the U17 game on game day, and so twice borrowed players from their opposition. Both times, said Kluempers, the borrowed players stepped up to help his younger players, and play unselfishly to set up the Aquinas players to shine.
"Our guys learned so much, and we had some coaching sessions where we as coaches have been able to bring some stuff back for the team," said Kluempers. "It was massive for us."
And so, bolstered by the trip, Aquinas put in a controlled performance against the Blues, running out to a 22-0 halftime lead with the wind at their backs.
"We had the wind and we wanted to give us a short field and use the wind, and we did a pretty good job, but I was wondering is 22 points would be enough," said Kluempers. "Sure enough, KC comes right back."
The Junior Blues made it 22-12, but then, "our guys dug deep and stuck to the pattern probably as well as I've seen them do it," said Kluempers. "They moved the ball well and got themselves down the field."
Two late tries sealed it for Aquinas.