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GECKOS, FRIARS EARN WEEK 5 WINS

Week 5 in the IIAAG went down at Southern High Saturday in a showdown just weeks away from the playoffs.

By Nolan Miles

Geckos shut out Dolphins

On a sunny Saturday afternoon at the Southern High field the GW Geckos kept the Dolphins scoreless in a 7-0 victory in the IIAAG boys rugby league. The gritty defensive battle between the two teams resulted in lots of penalties but not a lot of points. The lone score in the game was a try from Nathan Babauta and the ensuing conversion kick by Calvin Aguon.

The first half started physical with both teams coming into the game with a lot of passion. The teams marched down the field back-and-forth but were stopped by either penalties or costly turnovers. Babauta finally broke though and scored the only try of the game while Aguon booted the conversion through the goalposts for the 7-0 lead.

The Dolphins came out of halftime with a lot of energy and moved the ball down the field with big runs and great passing. Their march to the try line was stopped just short as the Geckos gained possession of the ball and kicked it out of danger, keeping the ball on the Dolphin’s half of the field for the remainder of the game.

The rest of the game was a slugfest as neither team could gain momentum or score points as the defenses played hard and penalties kept teams from breaking through.

Aguon said the team never let their guard up even when they were up in the first half. “ We didn’t change our mindset from the first to second half. We just worked hard, played our game, and do what we do best.”

With the IIAAG rugby playoffs starting next week, the Geckos don’t plan on slowing down. “ We go into each game the same way, looking to win and looking to play our style.” said Aguon.

Babauta also added that going forward “ the confidence gained from this win and our mentality in practice will keep us going.” as they prepare for the playoffs.

Friars edge Sharks

In a tightly-contested battle between two of the top teams in the IIAAG boys rugby league it was the FD Friars who emerged victorious over the Sanchez Sharks in a 10-7 victory. The Friars came in sporting the league’s only undefeated record and the Sharks with only one loss were no pushovers.

Matias Calvo scored the game-deciding penalty kick in the second half giving the Friars the lead in a clutch come-from-behind win.

The game started with lots of back-and-forth possession between the two teams. Sanchez found their rhythm first, steadily making their way down the field to the try line. FD’s defense was prepared making stop after stop right outside the try line.

The Sharks never quit and their resilience paid off as Sigi Sanchez capitalized off an error and punched the ball in for a 5-0 lead. Jake Uncango scored the conversion kick pushing the lead to 7-0 at halftime.

Calvo said after the first half, “Our coaches just talked to us and said we need to clean up everything, and we went out with the intent to outwork everyone else.”

The second half was definitely a turning-point for the Friars as they came out with a lot more energy. Brian Anderson scored the Friars’ only try of the game in the beginning of the second half and Calvo’s conversion kick was good tying the game at 7-7.

The Friars and Sharks kept the energy going with each team making their way down the field with flashy runs and big hits. The Friars caught a break when they were awarded a kick after a penalty. Calvo’s kick sailed through the goalposts to put the Friars up 10-7 and sealing the game.

The defending champion Friars finish the season undefeated in the IIAAG boys rugby league. The Sharks drop only their second game of the season. With the playoffs slated to start next week the Friars are seeded first and earn a first-round bye.

Captain of the Friars Jalen Delgado said the win was big for the them going forward.

“ It’s always a good thing to have momentum going into the playoffs and hopefully we can build on that, we’re not done yet.”

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