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SEMIS: FRIARS TO FACE SHARKS IN RUGBY FINALS

The IIAAG boys rugby finals is set with the top two teams earning Tuesday evening victories at the GW Field. The FD Friars dominated action against the GW Geckos while the Sanchez Sharks overwhelmed the JFK Islanders.

By Nolan Miles

The IIAAG boys rugby finals is set with the top two teams earning Tuesday evening victories at the GW Field. The FD Friars dominated action against the GW Geckos while the Sanchez Sharks overwhelmed the JFK Islanders.

FRIARS DOMINATE GECKOS

The Father Duenas Friars make their way back to the championship game of the IIAAG boys rugby league with a dominating display on Tuesday afternoon against the GW Geckos. The Friars led from start to finish in a 23-7 victory at GW field.

The Friars were led by Austin Peredo who scored two tries on the day, and Matias Calvo who scored a total of 10 points off of a combination of conversions and penalty kicks.

The Friars scored 12 points in the first half while keeping the Geckos scoreless, and rode their early momentum to a spot in the championship game next Saturday, where they will be looking to complete a three peat.

Going into the championship game on Saturday, Peredo talked about some of the lessons to be learned from the win: “This shows us that we still have things we can work and improve on, and hopefully we play even better on Saturday.”

Friars Matias Calvo and Austin Peredo

The Friars came out looking focused and determined and dominating ball possession. They made their way down the field with crisp passing which led to a breakaway run by Brian Anderson who ran in for the early try. After a conversion by Calvo the Friars led 7-0.

GW fought back working their way down the field, but could not break through as FD marched right back with their superior ball movement. Austin Peredo took the ball out of a scrum about five yards out and punched it in for the 12-0 Friar lead.

Down by double digits the Geckos tried battling back before halftime making their way to just outside the try line. The Friar defense held strong making stop after stop to keep GW scoreless at the half.

With rain starting to fall in the second half the Friars stayed hot, moving down the field quickly and kicking for points after a penalty. The penalty kick by Calvo was good putting FD in a comfortable 15-0 lead. Peredo followed up quickly with a big run to score his second try of the day pushing the lead to 20-0.

The Geckos were able to get one back towards the end of the second half with Rico Mandilag scoring a try and Calvin Aguon booting the conversion to put the score at 20-7.

FD went right back to business slowly working their way up the field before opting to kick for points after a penalty. Calvo put the icing on the cake with his penalty kick putting the Friars up 23-7 and sending them to the big game on Saturday.

Up big at halftime, Peredo knew the game wasn’t over yet and explained what kept the Friars from getting complacent. “ We just continued to play physical and match their intensity throughout the game.”

The Friars are looking to cap off yet another undefeated rugby season with a win on Saturday where they will take on the Sanchez Sharks.

SHARKS SLIDE INTO FINALS WITH WIN OVER ISLANDERS

In the second semifinal game of the IIAAG boys rugby league it was the Sanchez Sharks who punched their ticket to the championship game on Saturday. The Sharks handily defeated the JFK Islanders 28-5 on Tuesday afternoon at GW field.

The offensive explosion was a team effort for the Sharks as four different players recorded a try. Jake Uncangco was perfect on conversions going 4 for 4, to help lead his team to the big victory.

The Sharks scored 28 unanswered points after conceding the first score of the game and a lot of their success was attributed to their ball movement. “The difference maker on offense was for sure our forward pack, moving the ball and swinging it out, that was big for us” said Uncangco.

JFK struck first marching down the field before Christian Taiverbue punched the ball in for the try and the 5-0 Islander lead early in the half.

Sanchez Sharks Willie Booker and Jake Uncangco

Sanchez got their offense going, bringing the ball down the field to about five yards out. Brandon Reyes was then able to score a try after a tap-and-go. Uncangco’s conversion was good to give the Sharks the 7-5 lead.

The Sharks didn’t rest, immediately coming down the field again to score with Gade Martin running in the try and Uncangco scoring the conversion to put them up 14-5 at halftime.

Having the lead didn’t seem to matter for the Sharks who came out in the second half even more aggressive. Their passing led to big runs and eventually another score by Henson Ignacio, giving Sanchez a 21-5 lead.

Nothing seemed to work for the Islanders as they tried to stop the Sanchez assault. Both teams struggled to gain possession and emotions were running high. The Sharks were also able to hold off any attack the Islanders threw at them.

Sanchez capitalized off of penalties, with Willie Booker taking the ball from a line-out and pummeling in for game-sealing try. Uncangco kicked his fourth conversion and the Sharks cruised to a 28-5 victory.
Sanchez moves on to challenge the defending champion, FD, in the championship game. In their regular season meeting they narrowly fell to the Friars, but they are looking to bounce back on Saturday.

“Sanchez hasn’t been in the championship game in years; it’s always been FD and GW, but now I think it’s our time to step up and take that challenge.” said Booker on the motivation going into the big matchup.

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The FD Friars have retired running back Kein Artero’s (#3), becoming the third Friar in three years to have his number retired. 2018 saw two numbers be retired from quarterback Daniel Phillips (#6) and De’Aundre Cruz (#24).

(photo from Kein Artero on Twitter)

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