Rugby Bests St. Paul’s, Faces Brother Martin Saturday in State Final
The Blue Jay rugby team will take on Brother Martin in the state championship on Saturday, April 21, at 5:30 p.m., at Pan Am Stadium. Jesuit will be heading for its third consecutive state championship match and is defending its title from last year. Brother Martin will be making its first championship appearance in recent years. As such, it has the makings of a match of the ages. Be sure to come out and support the Blue Jays in their quest to repeat as the state rugby champions.
Jesuit 52 – St. Paul’s 24
Monday, April 16
On Monday, April 16, 2018, the Blue Jay rugby team faced-off against St. Paul’s in the semi-finals. Jesuit found the try-zone quickly after a St. Paul’s penalty gave Jesuit the chance to kick for touch. Senior flyhalf Gabe Massey used a driving, accurate kick to pin St. Paul’s deep in its own zone. Jesuit won the ensuing lineout, and executed a sustained driving maul that had St. Paul’s on the back-foot. The Wolves were unable to find a lawful way to stop Jesuit’s maul, and as such, were pressured into committing a penalty just outside their own tryzone. Quick thinking and an even quicker tap’n go by senior hooker Pat Gallagher saw him capitalize on the penalty and dive across for the score. Jesuit 5-0.
St. Paul, however, showed grit and a fiery determination to punch their ticket to the state championship. They responded with two impressive scores in short succession, which left the Blue Jays in the unfamiliar position of trailing, with St. Paul leading 12-5 midway into the first half.
The Blue Jays, who are well-known for their collective sang-froid and methodical play, did not blink. Instead, they continued to play a wide 70 meter game that stretched the St. Paul’s defense beyond its capacity, resulting in a bevy of tries scored in short succession. One particularly beautiful passage saw Jesuit pressuring St. Paul’s deep in their own zone. The Blue Jays’ defensive line-speed resulted in a St. Paul’s turnover. Jesuit pounced on the ball and immediately shifted into an offensive attack pattern. Senior halfback Brady Moran fired a quick ball to flyhalf Gabe Massey, who attacked the line and drew to him several Wolves before firing off a rocket pass to senior inside center Matt Palmer who caught the pass in-stride at full pace while executing a well-conceived “unders” running-line. The result was another score for the Jays, and much head scratching for the Wolves, who were unable to stop Jesuit’s attack.
Immediately thereafter, on the ensuing re-start kick (from St. Paul’s to Jesuit), the Blue Jays fielded the ball cleanly and then executed a brilliant “Luigi” maneuver, which found senior Johnny Tindall on the receiving end of a flat pass from Gabe Massey. Tindall burst through the Wolves defensive line for a long gallop before being tackled. Several Blue Jay forwards, including seniors Zac Beckman, Charles Lobrano, and junior Langston Goldenberg, formed a formidable platoon of powerful runners waiting in the wings for the next phase, which came without pause: as soon as Tindall hit the ground senior halfback Moran skipped a pass to junior wing Jack Dilaberto, who attacked the Wolves’ depopulated defensive line before executing a simple draw-and-pass to a charging Zac Beckman who collected Dilaberto’s pass with nothing but 30 meters of green grass standing between himself and the tryzone. Beckman found speed he was not known to possess as a Wolf attempted to catch him from behind – but to no avail, as Beckman’s fleet-feet beat the pursuit. Beckman dove over the tryline and dotted down for another Blue Jay score.
Showing the depth of their bench, later in the match, with the contest well in hand, the Blue Jays were able to substitute almost their entire starting side. Jesuit’s B-side showed its class and skill as it put two additional tries across the line as well. Final score Jesuit 52, St. Paul’s 24.
After Saturday’s state championship match, Jesuit will take on the mighty Australian high school champion team, Oakhill College, of Sydney, Australia, on Monday, April 23, at 5:30 p.m. at the Marconi pitch. The travelers are looking to teach the Blue Jays some lessons about rugby. Make sure to come out and support your classmates at they take on the fiercest opponent the Blue Jays have ever faced in club history. Oakhill is a Catholic prep school, so let’s show our Catholic-brothers from down-under what Blue Jay hospitality and support looks like.