Jesuit Ruggers Win Tough, Rainy Brother Martin Match
Despite Penalties, Blue Jays Prevail over Crusaders 19-10
The Jesuit ruggers took on league rival Brother Martin in a hard-fought match on Saturday, March 25. Despite monsoon rain squalls throughout much of the match, the Blue Jays left it all on the field with a 19-10 win.
The first half was largely dominated by Brother Martin, who benefited from poor Jesuit discipline at the breakdown. Brother Martin’s continuous go-forward ball eventually paid dividends when the Crusaders broke Jesuit’s line for a deep run followed by an offload, which earned Brother Martin its first score of the match. The conversion, however, was no good.
Jesuit continued to sputter with penalties and knock-ons, but eventually strung together enough continuous possession to find itself deep in Brother Martin territory. The Crusader line repealed sorties of Blue Jay forwards until Jesuit shipped the ball wide to its backs, who broke the line by stretching the Crusaders’ defense. Jesuit halfback senior Josh Cashio then tossed a nifty “Gregan” to blindside junior Chuck Lobrano, who walked in for the try, and the conversion was good.
Shortly thereafter, an injury resulted in a nearly hour-long stoppage during which the sky opened up for a heavy downpour. Match play restarted with a penalty to Brother Martin, who quick tapped and ran through Jesuit’s sleeping defense. Though the conversion was no good, the half ended with Brother Martin leading Jesuit, 10-7.
The second half started much the same as the first, with Jesuit receiving successive yellow cards and playing 13 on 15 rugby. Hard-nosed Jesuit defense, including two try-saving tackles by Jesuit fullback senior Jack Gab, prevented the Crusaders from scoring during a nearly 10 minute double sin-bin.
Upon returning to full strength, Jesuit found its form. A series of Blue Jay line breaks found the Crusaders’ defense on the back foot. With the pressure mounting, Cashio found a gap into which he ran for some quick meters. He was tackled, but Lobrano was there in a flash to scoop up the ball. Lobrano then ran in for his second try, but the conversion was no good.
For the remainder of the match, Jesuit enjoyed possession and territory. A pick-and-go from senior Peyton Cox gained critical meters along the touchline, and Cashio’s laser passing at halfback stretched the disorganized Crusader defense. The one-two combination of junior center Matt Palmer broke the gain line, and he offloaded to Gab for a centered try. The conversion was good, and the match ended in a Jesuit win.
Jesuit takes on league rival and defending state champion Bayou Hurricanes this Saturday, April 1, at 12 p.m. Jesuit head coach Adam Massey said the past weekend’s match was just what the Blue Jays needed going into their toughest match of the season.
“The boys were under pressure for much of this match, during which pretty much nothing went right,” Massey said. “But they had faith in themselves and in their system, and kept playing Blue Jay rugby. They did not panic or breakdown. Eventually they found their stride, and — with it — a hard-fought victory.”