After a disappointing showing in the A&M tournament two weeks prior, the Plano 7/8 Rugby team bounced back with a 48 - 0 victory over Yukon, the top 15s team from the state of Oklahoma on a brilliantly sunny day at Celina Bobcat Stadium on May 6th. In what can only be described as a total team effort, the Predators set the tone early with solid rucking and tackling and maintained the pressure throughout the match. Yukon later went on to lose a close match to Celina.
The Plano offense got off to a quick start. After multiple phases shortly after kick-off, Aiden Walls took a pass from James Knight to touch down in the far corner for the first try of the game. Plano missed the tough angle conversion kick putting Plano up 5 - 0. Shortly thereafter, Bryce Chatfield stole the ball from Yukon in the loose and weaved through the defense from midfield to touch down his first try of the game center posts. Bryce put Plano up 12 - 0 by converting his own try.
Plano kept the pressure on Yukon the entire first half, bending but never breaking. As a result, Plano played most of the half in the Yukon end of the field. On a ruck won inside the 10 meter line, Bryce Tucker passed wide to James Knight who touched down a try after running through several players. With the conversion missed, Plano was now up 17 - 0. Not too long after, Jamerion Sanford took a pass from Bryce Chatfield after a ruck set by James Laprocido and outran the Yukon defenders to dot down a long try down the left side of the pitch. Again the conversion was missed but Plano ended the half up 22 - 0.
In the second half, it was more of the same. Picking up where he left off, Bryce Chatfield took a pass and ran wide left to weave his way through the Yukon defense to center a try. Aenghus Denvir converted to put Plano up 29 - 0. A few minutes later, Bryce Tucker caught the entire Yukon team off-guard with a quick tap off a penalty to put down an 70 meter try in the right corner. Conversion was missed but Plano was up 34 - 0. Later both Aiden Walls and Jamerion Sanford notched their second tries, both center post. In a contrast in styles, Aiden showed his speed by racing down the left side while Jamerion displayed his power by running through the Yukon defense. Aenghus Denvir converted both and the game ended shortly thereafter with Plano defeating Yukon 48 - 0.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
Despite the disappointment of our letdown at A&M, the team showed character in bouncing back against a raw Yukon side that was both physical and athletic. Going back to basics apparently was the right approach as evidenced by the team's dominant rucking and tackling. The result was the Plano controlled possession for most of the game and completely limited Yukon's opportunities. It was a great result that capped off a fine 15s season, especially considering that everyone was involved and played well. In fact, I was very happy to see the progress of many new players including Joe Hoodenpyle, Conner Woodrick, Jacob Turner, Charlie Maretzky and Mia & Victoria Balderas. In fact, it was a coming out party for Victoria who was a tackling machine the entire second half! Also, I was impressed by the play of many of the veterans who improved dramatically over the season including the Rita Habib, Liam Carroll, Merrick Moncure and David Hader who all had a great game and fine seasons.
Although we fell short of our goal of a State Championship, I believe I speak for the entire coaching staff in saying that it was a true pleasure to coach these kids! They are a great bunch of kids who put in the effort, took instruction well and became a true team in every sense of the word. And, with a 15 - 2 season, it was clear that their effort paid off. In my opinion, every single player on the team has showed progression - many of which have the capacity to play the game at very high levels. To that end, we hope we instilled in all of them a love for the game of rugby - a game they can enjoy for the rest of their lives. Time will tell!
Otherwise, we hope everyone attends the season banquet this Thursday at Gleneagles as well as chooses to participate in the 7s tournament hosted by DARC this Saturday at the BF Phillips Sports Complex in Frisco (with a picnic celebration afterwards). It should be a fun way to end the season and look forward to what hopes to be a great summer.