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Tier II: Finalists Set

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Tier II: Finalists Set

SOC Raptors players celebrate a key try. Alex Goff photo.

Vienna will play the SOC Raptors in the Boys HS National Championships Tier II final after both won semifinals Friday.

Vienna won big against an Aspetuck team that was just a hair slower to the breakdown. That hair was part of the difference, but also Vienna's bend-don't-break defense was in full force in this game. Vienna defended well and forced Aspetuck to maintain excellent continuity. When they didn't, Vienna punished turnovers.

Andrew Evan was a powerhouse in the centers and crossed the tryline multiple times. Owen Lebkisher at flanker and Juan Cat at No. 8 were immense and Vienna took control early. Scrumhalf Diego Gonzalez had a very good game setting up his runners, while hooker David Kendig, back in his preferred #2 jersey, led from the front.

It started to be a bit of a flood and Aspetuck was struggling to stay afloat. They did score two tries late in the game but Vienna rolled in perhaps their best overall team performance 57-14.

The Raptors came into the tournament as favorites to win Tier II and being the favorite isn't always an easy place to be. 

In this semifinal against a big, powerful KC Jr. Blues team, the Raptors benefited from a superb game from flyhalf Keegan Hannon. He pulled the strings nicely, using the boot, his sidestep, and his passing to challenge the KC line.

KC sent their big runners at the Raptors and it started to work. But ultimately a very tenacious Raptors defense made it tough on the Blues. An early try from lock Joseph Vavrina got the Raptors going and center Jacob Bower was soon over the tryline.

SOC held on 29-19.


Having lost 57-3 on Thursday Berks fell behind 10-0 on Friday against the Raleigh Redhawks. But they fixed their defense, led by Jake Stelluti, and Matt Cleland set up the Berks runners. Ulices Ramirez scored three tries and Marquan Guzman made perhaps the defensive play of the day chasing down a kick that looked for all the world to set up a try for the Redhawks. Knowing he couldn't dive and grab the ball, Guzman instead flew in the kick it out of the mid-air into touch-in-goal.

Berks bounced back with a 29-17 win.

Penn controlled the pace and were powerful as they traded tries for penalty goals against St. Thomas Aquinas. The tries kept coming for Penn and they won 36-6 to set up a game vs Berks for 5th.

Scores and Upcoming Matchups at Boys HS National Championships

Tier II Quarterfinals

SOC Raptors 38-22 Raleigh Redhawks
KC Jr. Blues 57-3 Berks
Penn 15-22 Aspetuck
St. Thomas Aquinas 15-26 Vienna

HS Club Quarterfinals
Granite Bay 25-24 Layton Christian
Charlotte Cardinals 5-17 San Diego Mustangs
Woodlands 39-29 Danville
Belmont Shore 37-24 Pendleton

Single-School Quarterfinals
Gonzaga 40-15 Rye
Herriman 24-26 Xavier
Jesuit Sacramento 46-5 Greenwich
St. Ignatius 44-10 Regis Jesuit

Tier II 5th-Place Semifinals

Raleigh 17-29 Berks
Penn 36-6 St. Thomas Aquinas

Tier II Cup Semifinals
SOC Raptors 29-19 KC Jr. Blues
Vienna 57-14 Aspetuck

HS Club 5th-Place Semifinals
Layton Christian 12-14 Charlotte Cardinals
Danville 29-5 Pendleton

HS Club Cup Semifinals
Granite Bay 12-17 San Diego Mustangs
Woodlands 15-40 Belmont Shore

Single-School 5th-Place Semifinals
Rye 10-44 Herriman
Regis Jesuit 31-42 Greenwich

Single-School Cup Semifinals
Gonzaga 45-12 Xavier
St. Ignatius 20-22 Jesuit Sacramento


9AM White: Raleigh vs St. Thomas Aquinas Tier II 7th Place
9AM Blue: Berks vs Penn Tier II 5th Place
10AM Red: Aspetuck vs KC Jr. Blues Tier II 3rd Place [Note New Time]
1:30PM Blue: SOC Raptors vs Vienna Tier II Final

10:30AM White: Pendleton vs Layton Christian HS Club 7th Place
10:30AM Blue: Charlotte Cardinals vs Danville HS Club 5th Place
1:30PM White: Granite Bay vs Woodlands HS Club 3rd Place
3:15PM Blue: Belmont Shore vs San Diego Mustangs HS Club Final

12:00PM White: Rye vs Regis Jesuit Single-School 7th Place
12:00PM Blue: Herriman vs Greenwich Single-School 5th Place
3:15PM White: St. Ignatius vs Xavier Single-School 3rd Place
5:00PM Blue: Jesuit Sacramento vs Gonzaga Single-School Final