By Charles Vermont
Westlake Picayune Contributing Writer
The Westlake ruggers took care of business in its last regular season match of the season by beating Jesuit Dallas 28-8 Friday.
The match was important because the win means that the Chaps will enter the state tournament in late April seeded No. 1. Because the Chaps had crushed Jesuit earlier in the season 71-3, the victory was not unexpected.
However, no one told Jesuit that they were supposed to lose.
They defended their home pitch with a level of energy and aggressiveness that took the Chaps by surprise in the first half. With impeccable tackling and crisp rucking, Jesuit was able to keep Westlake out of the try zone for the first 30 minutes of the match, and the match was scoreless with five minutes left in the half.
With the Chaps backed up against their own try line, flanker Anthony Patino grabbed a lose ball, stiff armed some tacklers and rumbled 90 yards for a beautiful try to put the first points on the board. Patino then followed it up a few minutes later as the first half ended with a second try putting the Chaps up 14-0 at half time.
The Chaps also managed two tries in the second half from Garret Cantor-Cox and Justin Brown, and this gave Westlake an unassailable 28-0 lead mid way through the second half. Fullback Alex Rees continues to kick very well and hit 4-of-4 conversion kicks. Jesuit scored a try and penalty kick late in the game to narrow the margin to 28-10.
While Westlake looked good, it was not the dominating play that we’ve seen in some of the earlier matches where the Chaps seem to be able to score almost at will. After the match head coach Jason Spodick and forwards coach James Lowrey were proud of the Chap ruggers but also praised the Jesuit team.
“They kept us honest and humble,” Spodick said. “If we had had another blow out, I’m afraid we might go into the state finals in two weeks a little bit arrogant. Jesuit played well and made us work hard for it.”
The junior varsity match was also especially important since the Chaps 42-10 win gave them an undefeated season and bragging rights as the junior varsity state champions. In what has become the modus operandi for the second side, the Chaps forwards took control of the game and ran wild. Charlie Person had two tries, and Jackson Cantrell and Drew Potter also had a try each from the forwards. The Chaps backs added two tries with one each from Bobby Perry and Garret Cantor-Cox. Jack Lynn hit all six of the conversion kicks to finish off the scoring. Backline coach Aaron Cahoon was very proud of the second side and their undefeated season.
“Our JV team has been soundly beating everyone, and their undefeated season and state title look good for the future of Westlake rugby,” Cahoon said.
The Westlake Rugby team plays in the Texas State High School Championship Tournament April 27-28 at Burr Field in Austin.
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