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Staples Connecticut Champions

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Staples Connecticut Champions

Sam Pirki feeds David Sedrak for a try. Mark Edwards photo.

This has been a strange season for rivals Staples and Greenwich. 

The two teams ended up facing off three times and came awfully close to making it four. Their first meeting was a regular-season game which Staples won 28-16. Their next meeting was at HS National Championships, where Greenwich garnered revenge with a 30-12 result. 

So their final clash, earlier this month, was a decider. Of course, it was also the Connecticut state final.

In this one, Staples rebounded to win the state title, and the series, 36-7. The National Championships for Staples wasn't exactly what they had hoped. Some players were coming off a bout with the flu and they weren't at their best. That manifested itself in a less-than-stellar showing against Greenwich, although they did beat Jesuit-Sacramento 23-21 on the final day to take 7th. Healthier for the state final, and on a roll after a really strong second half in the semifinal against Trumbull, Staples started well.

Holding and keeping possession throughout the game, Staples prevented Greenwich from getting much going. Greenwich was penalized early, which resulted in junior wing David Sedrak slotting three early goals to get the points flowing. When senior captain and starting hooker Jack Edwards went down early in the first half with an ankle injury, sophomore John Tyson stepped and produced a huge ruck clearout to show he wasn't going to let the standard slip.

That led to a break by Brandon Saunders and a really nice offload to his twin brother, Devon, for a try to make it, with Sedrak's conversion, 16-0.

In the second half Staples continued to put on the pressure and it wasn't until they were down 36-0 that Greenwich was finally able to get reward for how hard they had worked.

For Staples, flankers Noah Fraas and Luke Rosen were huge on defense. Brandon Saunders is a powerful athlete and continually carried defenders as he charged onward. Co-captain George Engels produced hard carry after hard carry and shoved tacklers backward. Sedrak was excellent, while the lock pairing of Rohan Narang and Andrew Rossman put in a ton of work.

Center Nick Prior and fullback Sam Pirkl handled the Greenwich kicking game well.

"Hats off as well to those Greenwich players — those young men are tough!" said Staples Head Coach Neal Seideman. "Staples forced them to tackle and play defense most of the day and they did just that admirably and physically. Kudos to Mike Fina and his Greenwich staff. In addition to being great coaches and gentlemen, they lead a Greenwich program that has set the bar for exceptional rugby in Connecticut for decades. Thankfully, Staples has proven its ability recently to stand toe-to-toe with them. Our challenge now is to prove we can maintain that competitiveness at the highest level year after year, as Greenwich has proven."