With Strake Victory, Rugby Takes Down Another Interstate Opponent
By Adam Massey
This past weekend, the Blue Jays took on their brothers from Strake Jesuit, a fellow Jesuit high school Houston, Texas. Strake came to Louisiana for a mini-tour, winning against St. Paul’s Thursday night and against Brother Martin Friday night. With around 70 players, the Strake Crusaders travelled strong. Like Jesuit Dallas, Strake has integrated its football and rugby programs. The Blue Jays knew they faced a powerful opponent. Strake did not disappoint.
The match’s opening stanza saw the Blue Jays commit a bevy of handling errors and other infractions that kept them flat-footed if not back-footed. Strake suffered no such problems, and scored early when their openside flanker pierced the Jays defense for the opening try. Whether it was the 20 mile per hour plus wind, nerves, Strake’s assertive defense, or a combination of all three, Jesuit tasted nothing but frustration for the first 25 minutes.
The Jays are known, however, for their sangfroid—and for good reason. Despite early setbacks, the Blue Jays kept calm and continued to work the pattern, which eventually ignited when junior flyhalf Andrew Newel lofted a perfectly weighted ball to senior flanker Ben Waguespack, who punched through Strake’s line for a 35-meter trot. The Jays, finally on the front foot, quickly found first glory when Newel quick-tapped off a Strake penalty and darted over the tryline for Jesuit’s initial try. Shortly thereafter, Strake experienced déjà vu when Newel and Waguespack connected again, which again saw Waguespack punch through the line and scramble down the field for another long run. And, once again, the Jays turned meters into points when senior 8-man Conlon Pausina executed his patented pic’n’go over the tryline. The first half ended Jesuit 12, Strake 5.
The second half was a more one-sided affair with the Jays controlling the tempo on both offense and defense. Newel and Waguespack completed a hat-trick, as they once again connected for an explosive line-break. This time, however, Waguespack chose to shake one Strake defender and then bake another on his way to the tryzone. Not to be outdone, Jesuit’s bench made a loud statement. Senior reserve lock Matt Correa turned a short crash-ball into another seven Blue Jay points when he forcefully convinced several Strake defenders to allow him to cross the tryline. And senior reserve fullback Dom Carbo, taking a page from seniors Tyson Oliver and Nate Williams, showcased sticky hands and shimmering speed when he chased down and collected a deep kick by Newel, which he carried over the goal line for Jesuit’s final try of the day. Final score: Jesuit New Orleans 32, Strake Jesuit 5.
The undefeated and nationally ranked Jays (6th in the nation) take on Brother Martin, Friday night, at 6:00 p.m., at Marconi.