Two Decisive Wins Help Rugby Remain Undefeated

Posted April 12, 2018 / Last updated April 13, 2018

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Johnny Tindall looks for the try-line.

Johnny Tindall looks for the try-line against St. Paul’s on March 28.

The Blue Jay rugby team closed out its regular season with two decisive victories – the first over St. Paul’s, the second over Brother Martin. Jesuit enters the playoff as the top seed with an undefeated record, playing St. Paul’s on Saturday at 4 PM at Marconi.

Saturday, March 28, 2018

Jesuit 42 – St. Paul’s 17

It was a cool Covington evening that saw Jesuit return to St. Paul’s campus for some mid-season rugby action. St. Paul’s rugby, recently elevated to full varsity status, was sporting a powerful squad filled with many multi-sport athletes who were supported by a robust group of sideline supporters. Jesuit, having just reeled off two decisive league victories, was looking for another win to tie Brother Martin at the top of the leader board. St. Paul’s was looking to let the league know its bulk and hulk made a squad to be reckoned with.

Jesuit kicked off to start the action. A smothering Blue Jay defense quickly stalled the St. Paul’s attack deep in its own territory. Possession changed repeatedly over the opening four minutes with Jesuit keeping St. Paul’s under intense pressure. Junior fullback William Newell plucked a St. Paul’s kick out of the air and made good meters before being dragged to the turf. Senior halfback Brady Moran was quick to the breakdown and initiated a series involving senior flyhalf Gabe Massey, senior center Matt Palmer, senior hooker Pat Gallagher, and senior wing Frank Sclafani. Sclafani cut and slashed to the Wolves’ two meter line. Senior Zac Beckman executed a dozing pick’n’go followed by a lightning pick’n’go by junior David Childs for the Jesuit score. This opening score, which was the product of consummate Blue Jay rugby, and in which nine Blue Jays carried the rock, was only an appetizer of more to come.

Zac Beckman with the offload pass.

Senior prop Zac Beckman with the offload pass to senior Matt Palmer.

For the remainder of the half Jesuit played with poise and aplomb, controlling possession and territory, scoring almost at will. During one seven minute stretch the Blue Jays put together a passage of brilliant rugby, during which they scored four unanswered tries. The passage was capped off by perhaps the most impressive phase of rugby Jesuit has played this season.

Following a St. Paul’s kickoff, senior center Tony Cesar earned tough meters before being tackled. Jesuit established a ruck and the ball was played by Brady Moran to Gabe Massey to senior Chuck Lobrano. Lobrano bullied his way for 20 meters before delivering the pill back to Moran, then to Massey, then to senior prop Zac Beckman. Beckman gobbled up yet more meters before three pic’n’go plays by senior Johnny Tindal and juniors Langston Goldenberg and David Childs. Gabe Massey flung a beautiful floating 30-meter pass to a blitzing Tony Cesar, who weaved deeper into St. Paul’s territory.  Senior Matt Palmer then earned another 15 meters before making the final offload of the series, again to Massey, who cut and cut and cut to avoid several Wolves for another Jesuit score.

Final score Jesuit 42, St. Paul’s 17. Jesuit tries were scored by Pat Gallagher (2), David Childs (2), Gabe Massey, Jack Diliberto, Chuck Lobrano, and Matt Palmer.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Jesuit 45 – Brother Martin 12

Jesuit closed out its regular season against Brother Martin in a battle of the undefeateds. The match started with the Blue Jays attacking deep in Brother Martin territory; however, repeated handling errors stymied the Jays’ offense and prevented Jesuit from turning territory into tries. Ultimately, the Jays found their groove after senior Gabe Massey drew a penalty against Brother Martin for their failing to release to ball to him. On the ensuing penalty, Massey kicked for touch deep in Brother Martin territory, giving Jesuit a lineout at the Crusader’s 10 meter line. Jesuit elected to create a maul, which gained meters and put Brother Martin on the back foot. With the Crusaders retreating, Jesuit executed a two-staged “Ireland” play that gave them pace and width and allowed them to punch the ball to the very edge of the tryline, when junior David Childs executed his patented pic’n’go for a try.

Jesuit scores came quickly and plentifully thereafter. Senior Pat Gallagher pounced on an unsecure Brother Martin ball, resulting in a turnover to Jesuit. Blue Jay senior half-back Brady Moran then quickly slung the ball wide to Gabe Massey, who in turn zipped it to senior Matt Palmer. Palmer likewise executed a long pass to junior Will Newel, who burst onto the ball with determination and pace, breaking the Brother Martin defensive line, and streaked for a 50-meter try to the delight of the Blue Jay supporters who filled the sidelines.

Final score Jesuit 45, Brother Martin 12. Jesuit tries were earned by David Childs, Will Newel (2), Frank Sclafani, Jack Diliberto, Gabe Massey, and Tom Arcenaux.