Blue Jay Ruggers Come Up Short Against Houma Hurricanes, 29-23

Posted April 4, 2017 / Last updated April 5, 2017

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Sophomore Langston Goldenberg makes a run against two defenders. (photo by Hudson Ellis)

Sophomore Langston Goldenberg makes a run against two defenders. (photo by Hudson Ellis)

The defending state champion Bayou Hurricanes rugby team of Houma came out to compete against the Blue Jays on Saturday, April 1. Though the Blue Jays ultimately fell to the ‘Canes, the match was an exhibition in intense back-and-forth possessions by both teams.

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The Hurricanes opened up the scoring with a tough run up the middle off a Jesuit penalty. The conversion was good, 7-0 ‘Canes. But the hard-nosed Jays quickly battled back with an explosive 30-meter run by senior 8-man Bryce Duffy and another 20-meter run by junior forward Chuck Lobrano. Duffy then took it in for the try, but the conversion failed.

After the ensuing restart and a few change of possessions, senior flyhalf Case Ellis pouched a kick down the middle of the pitch surprising the Hurricanes. He then used his rugby prowess to snatch up the ball and take it in for the try. Though the conversion failed again, the Jays took the lead, 10-7.

However, this lead was short-lived as Houma stormed back, taking one in for a try off a penalty against a sleeping Jesuit defense. After a good conversion, Houma regained the lead, 14-10. With 10 minutes left in the half, the Hurricanes were again on the move. A massive forward jaunted down the pitch, and — with poor tackling by the Jays — the Hurricanes scored again. A failed conversion increased Houma’s lead to 19-10.

One of the bright spots for the Jays was their execution on the line-outs. With time running down in the first half, the ruggers managed a nice poach off the line-out, which allowed Lobrano to jet off on a 20-meter run. Jesuit chose to take a penalty kick, and junior Noah Tobin lofted over the post to narrow Houma’s lead to 19-13.

Junior Chuck Lobrano looks downfield. (photo by Hudson Ellis)

Junior Chuck Lobrano looks downfield. (photo by Hudson Ellis)

After the half, Houma received the restart kick and methodically moved into Blue Jay territory. Coming off a hard-fought ruck, the Hurricanes moved in for the try and the conversion was good. The Jays needed to hunker down and get back into the match. Ellis again managed a quick kick and ran the ball down to take it in for the try. A failed conversion narrowed Houma’s lead, 26-18. However, during the last 10 minutes of the match, both teams showed fatigue. Houma added a penalty kick to their score, and Jesuit closed its scoring with senior Nick Gauthe’s try. The Jays were edged out, 29-23.

Although not the outcome for which Jesuit had hoped, head coach Adam Massey was pleased with the effort.

“Last year the Hurricanes beat us soundly in the regular season, 29-10. This year, we closed the gap, and had them frantically holding on for dear life,” said Massey. “Victory was a whisper away, and the Bayou Hurricanes heard that whisper. You can rest assured they will continue to hear that whisper from now until the championship.”

But first, the playoffs. The Blue Jays face Brother Martin in a match this Saturday, April 8, at 3 p.m., the winner of which will face off in the state championship on April 22.