The Boys high school rugby semifinals played out Tuesday evening and the GW Geckos and FD Friars are headed back to the finals for a rematch of last year with the Geckos narrowly defeating the Southern Dolphins and the FD Friars getting by the Sanchez Sharks.
Friars beat Sharks In Close Contest
By Michael J.A. Nauta Jr.
It came down to the final four boys teams in the IIAAG/GRFU High School Rugby League last night at the George Washington High School field in Mangilao. The second semifinal match of the evening pitted the Simon Sanchez Sharks taking on the Father Duenas Friars. Both teams came battle ready and put one another to a strong test in hopes of clinching a berth into the championship match. With only one spot remaining, only one was able to advance and with the final score reflecting 18-12 the Friars earned that right. With the victory, the Friars set up a date with the defending champion George Washington Geckos who won the earlier match of the day against the Southern High Dolphins.
At the start of the match, both teams came out on fire as they brought nothing but sheer intensity. Hard tackles after hard tackles, rucks after rucks, and scrum after scrum, neither team was willing to give up any points in the first ten minutes of the opening half. With time on the clock continuing to tick away, it was anyone’s guess on who would score first.
Simon Sanchez looked poised to get passed the try line as the duo of Trey Leon and Johnathan Cepeda used their quickness and agility to get deep into Friars territory. However, strong defense by the maroon and gold wall denied the opportunity. It wasn’t until deep in the first half when the Friars offense helped their team to a 7-0 lead after a Derrick “Chung” Artero try followed a successful conversion by Josh Lujan.
With less than two minutes in the half, Simon Sanchez refused to go into the break scoreless. Despite being denied earlier in the game, Cepeda remained confident and determined and was able to score his team’s first try. A converted kick by teammate Matthew Sojo equalized the game.
The Friars came storming out in the second half and immediately upped their lead to 12-7 after a try by Tonu San Nicolas. The momentum for the Father Duenas offense continued to roll-on as the five-point lead turned into a 15-7 game when Lujan turned a penalty into three extra points. The Sharks were able to stop the bleeding and pulled within three when Matthew Sojo blew pass the entire Friars squad for the try.
Holding a one possession lead, the Friars defense knew exactly what had to happen in order to come away with the win. However, a feisty Sharks team continued to put forth their best as they tried to post points. With only seconds left in the game, the Friars put the icing on the cake when Lujan nailed another attempt for points and split the uprights to give his team an 18-12 lead. Shortly after the final whistle signaling the end of the game sounded.
Geckos Going Back To ‘Ship
By Jose Terlaje
The undefeated George Washington Geckos are going back to the IIAAG Boy’s High School Rugby Championship game for the second year in a row after winning a hard fought match against the Southern High School Dolphins at GW field. The match showcased an amazing display of skill, toughness, and heart from both competitors. The Geckos won the contest 24-19 and will face the Father Duenas Friars on Saturday in a rematch of last year’s championship game.
“We’re just going to polish our fundamentals and fill in the holes in our game at practice. It was a really tough game but we needed this. The boys needed this wakeup call and now I think they’re going into the championship game more prepared than they would have been if the game was only one-sided. Much respect to the Southern team for giving us a run for our money and showing us where we need to improve. They played a great game and helped us realize where we need to be in order to be in a position to hopefully win the championship game,” replied GW Coach Johnny Borja when asked about his post-game thoughts and plans for the Geckos’ second straight championship game.
The early portion of the first half belonged to the Dolphins as they were able to put some points on the board early in the match. The Dolphins pressured the Geckos and came knocking on their door, nearly scoring twice in the early minutes but were stopped by GW’s tough defense. After coming up short twice, Southern’s Tyler Topasna took it upon himself to score for his team, kicking the ball down the field and then diving to recover the ball in the Gecko try-zone for the first try of the match. Napu Topasna was good on his conversion after and the Dolphins went up 7-0.
As time progressed in the half, the Geckos were finally able to get something going after kicking for touch and winning a lineout at the Dolphins’ eight yard line. Upon winning the lineout, the Geckos formed a maul and picked up short yardage before handing the ball off to Damon Hocog who charged through a wall of Dolphin players to score a try. The conversion after by Tevin Santos was good, tying up the game 7-7.
With the half coming to an end, the Geckos looked to pick up one last try before halftime but the Dolphins would not let them into their try-zone so easily. After moving the ball down the field as a team, the Geckos were trapped inside the Southern 10 yard line for a good minute or two. Every attempt to break through was thwarted by the tough Dolphin defense. A tap-and-go was then given to the Geckos who made use of it and were able to get Devin Blas into pay dirt. Santos’ conversion was good again, giving GW a 14-7 as the half ended.
Early in the second half, the Dolphins were able to get a lineout at GW’s five yard line just moments after the kickoff. After the lineout another penalty was called which gave a scrum to GW. The Dolphins were able to recover the ball after the scrum and work the ball into the Gecko try-zone. After a number of attempts to break through the GW defense, Southern’s Dylan Tenorio made his way over the Gecko try-line to cut the lead 14-12 after a missed conversion by Topasna.
The Geckos were able to respond shortly after the next kickoff when the Dolphins failed to return the deep kick by GW’s Santos. After being trapped within their own try-zone, the Dolphins were penalized for a forward pass, giving a scrum to GW. After winning the scrum, the Geckos’ Hank Sablan was able to pick up the ball and dive into the Dolphin try-zone, extending the Gecko lead 21-12 after another good conversion by Santos.
The late portion of the second half consisted mainly of possession changes between the two teams. A penalty was then called on the Dolphins but good field position had to Geckos choosing to go for a penalty kick. The kick taken by Tevin Santos was good and the Geckos increased their lead to 24-12.
With time winding down in the half, the Dolphins went for one last run. After a penalty, the Dolphins chose to kick-for-touch and the kick by Topasna gave Southern a lineout at the GW eight yard line. After winning the lineout a penalty on the Geckos gave the Dolphins a tap-and-go which they quickly used, passing the ball down the line to Napu Topasna who ran it in for the try and then was successful in kicking his own conversion to bring the Dolphins within one try from tying the game with a score of 24-19. The try came too late though and time ran out shortly after the next kick-off, giving the Geckos the victory and chance to play for a second consecutive rugby championship.
GPS Sports Calendar