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Germantown rugby wins state final

Germantown Max 2018

2018 Boys TN state championship (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2018 Tennessee Boys Rugby final at the campus of MTSU in Murfreesboro on May 12 saw the top two teams from the playoff stages square up against each other; Germantown from the West and Harpeth Harlequins from Middle Tennessee.

The Harlequins took to the field as the defending Cup champions, while this was Germantown’s first time in the Cup final. A proud moment for Germantown Head Coach Kevin Roedel, who helped develop the team through their four-time middle school state championship Mustang feeder program.

Several Germantown seniors have been playing with each other since seventh grade and annually on the TN Tristars at the South Regional Cup and Las Vegas Invitational tournaments under USA South and TN Tristar Director Mark Williams.

Having dispatched the Ravenswood Raptors in the semi-final, this was Germantown’s final game of a mixed but improving season that had seen its share of injuries and soggy pitches. The stage was set for a gripping contest between the two best teams in Tennessee.

Harpeth kicked to get the game underway and came out strong. The kickoff went deep and was retained by Harpeth in Germantown territory putting early pressure on the Germantown line.

Despite an early injury to the Harpeth fullback, scrum possession and running lines saw the open side flanker take the ball over to open the Harlequins count with a converted try at the four minute mark. A further three points via a penalty kick took the Harpeth tally to 10 unanswered points after twelve minutes.

Germantown settled down and leveled the flow of play as the first half continued before hooker and junior captain Ryan Bullock caught the defense napping to score from a quick penalty under the posts at the 23 minute mark.

Germantown dominated the end of the half with strong forward play inside Harpeth’s 10 meter with multiple phases however got a little over zealous spinning wide ball 1 phase too late leaving the open wing out of space for a missed opportunity. The halftime score Harlequins 10-7 Mustangs.

The second half saw increased confidence and control from the Germantown team as play ensued. A deep kick off by Germantown forced a short return to a speedy Germantown counter attack, which was finished out with a 20 meter kick and chase by junior fullback Lincoln Pare for a score in the corner 12-10 Germantown 1 minute into second half play.

Finding their rhythm, the Germantown forwards took control of the scrums and improved line out execution. Forward pressure eventually created opportunity for the back line to exploit an overload feed to senior winger Aidan Riseling and extend the lead 17-10 with 18 minutes left.

A drop in concentration by Germantown enabled a quick kick counter by Harlequin fullback along with a chip and chase by H2’s No. 13 into the corner closing margin within two, 17-15 Germantown.

In full flight now and homing on the finish line, the Mustangs switched up another gear and started to close out the game with strong attacking runs by forwards and backs alike and control at the set piece. Harpeth saves two threats one failed 22 meter kick and chase and a jackal steal two meters out from Germantown center to keep the score 17-15 with five minutes left.

Germantown junior center Chris Colebank finishes a three phase 22 meter drop kick counter under the posts and junior scrumhalf Max Pleban converts to put Germantown up 24-15 with 3 minutes left.

Harpeth gets a late turnover and digs deep to put multiple phases together to drive inside the Germantown 5. A knock on and stolen scrum leave the Harlequin #8 open for a 2 meter pick and go weak side for five points.

With time expired, the Germantown kicker puts a high 1 bounce kickoff out of bounds for the final whistle Germantown 24 – Harlequins 20.

Said Germantown Coach Kevin Roedel, “Hats off to Scott Reagan and the Harlequins. They have a tremendous program and battled for 60 minutes keeping us on edge with strong play to the final whistle.”

“Our coaching staff put together a very difficult schedule to see what we were made of to put us in a position to be here in May with confidence,” he continued. “We went down to New Orleans in February missing six starters and lost to Brother Martin by 10 and turned around 90 minutes later and played LA state champion Jesuit to test these boys mental and physical toughness.

“We beat St. Louis Ruggerfest champion Little Rock by 10 at home and went 2-1 at Nashbash against teams from Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, still without our full starting roster,” he continued. “I knew once we got everybody on the pitch good things could happen. I am so happy for our seniors that closed out their high school careers as state champs, they started this back five years ago in middle school.

“We have a very strong group of underclassman,” he concluded. “Hopefully they will get us back here next mother’s day weekend. It would be nice for this Cup to stay in Memphis and the western part of the state for a little while.”