State Finals And More Around the US
State Finals And More Around the US
We crowned a few state champions over the weekend and learned who will be battling for a couple more.
In addition, we had a couple of key games that likely have an effect on HS National Championship seedings. Here's a look.
Greenwich vs Xavier
This game was most certainly thought of as a key Nationals seeding game, and it settled very little as Xavier held off Greenwich 19-18. There is certainly more to come from both of these teams.
Gregory the Great won convincingly 61-15 over Cumberland Valley while an injury-hit Berks had all sorts of trouble in getting by LaSalle 17-14 in the D1 semis.
"Our team leaders inspired and kept all members focused on our game plan," said GGA Head Coach Garret van Beek. "The scoreline can be deceiving and was not indicative of the level of play by CV. They played tough and smart to the finish; we just had a little more in the tank at the end."
Little surprise as GGA is usually very fit and likes to play fast.
Berks Head Coach Greg Stelluti wasn't thrilled with his team's performance, pointing to his team's 24 penalties.
"We have a lot to clean up," he said.
Layton Christian had all they could handle from Brighton but pulled off two late tries to help secure their Club state championship in Utah 22-10.
In the School final, Herriman and East final was close at halftime with East leafing 29-20. But East kept up the pace led by Papa Matelau at No. 8 and Jarred Fredrick at outside center. The big midfielder scored three tries, including the only two of the second half to help East secure a 41-20 victory.
Herriman Director of Rugby Jeff Wilson said his team fought hard, but "East is the most talented state team we've ever played." He added that this East team surpasses the 2019 team that made the national semifinals.
In the Tier 2 Utah final, Kearns was 24-7 down to Te Mana and then came back with four unanswered tries to win it 31-24.
Vienna got by Forth Hunt 36-28 in the state final. Despite getting hit with more injuries, Vienna found a way. Fort Hunt led 21-17 at halftime and entered the second half up a player due to a yellow card to the Viennese. Somehow Vienna started to put it together, with hooker/center David Kendrig leading from the front and garnering MVP honors.
Regis Jesuit garnered revenge for an earlier league loss to East HS and won the state final 24-15. Regis received the opening kickoff and ran over 15 phases to score early, and they stayed ahead throughout.
"The first time we played them we were very undisciplined and tried to force many things," said Regis Head Coach Ethan Pougnet. "This time we were disciplined, patient, and capitalized on their mistakes. Our boys prepared very well and put the time in in the film room."
The Charlotte Cardinals defeated the Charlotte Tigers 29-7 to win North Carolina.
"A fantastic state final," enthused Cardinals Head Coach Jason Zhemke. "Hats off to Coach [Jason] Paquette and the Tigers. They came out aggressive and never let up. I am proud of our boys for sticking to their structures and taking their opportunities when presented. It was a good, hard win as we head towards Nationals."
Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma
St. Martin's defeated St. Thomas Aquinas to unseat STA as Kansas state champs. The score was 36-13.
St. Louis University High, meanwhile, beat the Kansas City Jr. Blues 32-26 to win Missouri.
It was a good team effort from SLUH, which fell behind early, came back, and then had to hold off a torrid KC comeback.
"Two things impressed from a team standpoint: calmness under pressure, we didn't panic when the Blues were playing in our half, and an ability to forget any mistakes and press forward to the next task," said SLUH Head Coach Joe Husgen.
Lock Eric Boehm was excellent all day, getting the tough work done, especially late in the match when performance could have fallen off.
"He made a few awesome cover tackles to snuff out a few wide attacks that the Blues were developing," said Husgen. "You could see that he was determined to make sure we won the match."
The other MVP was center David Kuebler, who was SLUH's best defender. With KC up 12-7 he broke through for a 50meter run to set up a try, and then his grubber through and the chase to score a key try changed the game's momentum, turning a 14-12 scoreline into a 21-12 advantage.
Bixby won their fourth straight Oklahoma state title with a win over F5.
The semifinals are now set now that Flathead Valley beat Bitterroot 31-24 and Gallatin beat Helena 42-14. With Bitterroot getting the closer loss, they will still advance, playing top seed Missoula while Flathead and Gallatin face off in the other semi