Jays Compete in Jesuit Dallas Rugby Showdown

Posted March 18, 2015 / Last updated March 19, 2015

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Sam Clutter (center) takes on a Katy ball carrier. In the background, from left to right: junior Josh West, senior Tony Celano, junior Will Waguespack, senior Josh Mackles, and junior Scott Derbes (4). Photo courtesy of Eric Derbes ’83 and Michael Ellis ’88.

The rugby team traveled to Texas last weekend to play in the Jesuit Dallas Rugby Showdown. The eight team field included four Jesuit High School teams, two Catholic schools from Canada, and two nationally ranked Club Rugby teams.

The Jays were short some key players and lost a few more to injury, but spurred on by the support of each other, their coaches, and a large group of family members who made the trip, the Jays finished 1-2 against stiff competition. To add to their challenge, Jesuit drew the tougher side of the bracket.

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Blue Jays Fall to Colorado Springs, 19-7

In their first match, the Blue Jays fell to the Colorado Springs Grizzlies, 19-7, in a hotly-contested match. Colorado Springs jumped on the Jays early, but the team refused to participate in a route and stood toe-to-toe with a physical, experienced club team. As the match wound down, the Jays were moving down the pitch and threatening another score.

Jays Top Strake Jesuit, 14-10

Strake Jesuit from Houston was the second opponent for the Jays. A confident Strake team grabbed the lead, 5-0, with an early try. The conversion attempt was no good. With time running out in the first half, as Strake was penetrating deep into Blue Jay territory, freshman Gabe Massey turned things around by scoring on an 80-yard run off of a turnover. His try, along with junior Scott Derbes’ conversion, gave the Jays a 7-5 lead.

After Strake scored to take the lead back, Jesuit scored another try when Senior Josh Mackles fought his way over the goal line. Derbes’ conversion was on the mark and the Jays were in the lead again. With grit, determination, and the vocal support of their fans, the Jays held off a furious late push by Strake to win 14-10. The victory was total team effort.

Jays Come Up Short Against Aggressive Katy Barbarians Club, 34-14

In their final match, Jesuit faced the big and aggressive Katy Barbarians club. The Jays lost 34-14, but earned their opponents respect. Jesuit refused to be intimidated and would not go quietly against an older, more experienced, and bigger opponent. The Jays’ tenacity frustrated the Barbarians who were coming off of a 68-0 victory against St. Maximillian Kolbe (Canada). Katy was issued yellow cards and penalties during the match. Despite the fierce intensity of the match, afterwards the teams gathered together under one of goalposts to take a group picture – a nice sign of sportsmanship between the two teams.

The experience of playing up to tough opponents should help the Blue Jays during playoffs time. At the end of the final match, Coach Jim Hotard gathered the players and their families for a team huddle and prayer on the field. Afterwards, Coach Hotard thanked the families for their support and thanked the players for playing with toughness and tremendous heart.

The team returns to the pitch on Saturday, March 21 when they take on Archbishop Shaw.