Jesuit Rugby Shuts Down Uptown Barbarians to Improve to 2-0
After gaining a national ranking of 29th in the country with their win over Captain Shreve last week, the Blue Jay Rugby team took to their home pitch to take on the crosstown rival Uptown Barbarians. The result, a gutsy 14-10 win in a hard hitting match that was all defense in the second half.
The match did not start out the way that Jesuit would have wanted.
“I thought we came out a little flat defensively in the first half,” said head coach Adam Massey. “Our failure to pressure the Barbarians allowed them to score 10 points.”
The match started out a little slow with Jays threatening to score several times in the opening minutes. About 10 minutes into the match, senior Jacob Whitlow scored a try to draw first blood. The play was set up by junior Matthew Palmer taking off on a long run to set up good field position.
After winning the line-out, junior Case Willis launched a nifty skip pass to Whitlow who raced down the left sideline for an impressive 40 meter run to score a try. Senior Ian Fogarty kicked the conversion to make it 7-0.
The Jays received the kick off and then went back-and-forth exchanging possessions until the Barbarians drove deep into Jesuit territory. The drive stalled, mostly due to some tough tackling by seniors Jack Gab and Josh Cashio. So the Barbarians opted for a field goal from about 30 meters out, which was good, making the score 7-3.
On the next possession, the Barbarians stormed back with several tough long runs and methodically moved the ball into scoring position. They finally punched it in the end zone for a try and the conversion was good, giving Uptown the lead 10-7 with a few minutes left in the first half.
Junior Noah Tobin was relentless on defense with several “poaches,” thus giving the Jays possession as the first half was coming to a close. After the ball exchanged hands several times, senior Will Waguespack worked his way through the Barbarian defense for a long run. The Jays fierce “rucking” enabled them to keep possession. Suddenly junior Josh Gaspard broke through the defense and streaked down the middle of the field. With several Blue Jays filling their lanes and following the play, Gaspard managed a sweet off load to Palmer who took the ball in for a try. The conversion was good and Jesuit went into halftime with a 14-10 lead.
During the break, Massey although pleased with the lead, held a spirited huddle and instructed his team to apply heavy defensive pressure in the second half.
And that they did. The second half was all defense as each team applied pressure to the others offense and limited each other in scoring. Although each team got close, it was a tough, hard-hitting half. Jesuit got the message from their coaches and shut down anything that the Barbarians tried to muster.
“We had several players that played very well, including scrum half Josh Cashio, who was a tackling machine, as well as hooker Noah Tobin (junior), who was a super jackal, poaching many balls from the Barbarians,” Massey added.
Man of the Match honors went to junior Zac Beckman for his overall effort and excellent play.
Up next, Jesuit hosts the Katy (Texas) Barbarians, whom the Blue Jays knocked off last year in the Jesuit Dallas Tournament on their way to first place. No doubt Katy will be seeking revenge this year in New Orleans. The match is set for 2 pm, Saturday, January 28, at the Gretna Pitch.