Grand Gents reach Rugby Colorado high school state final
The Junior Gents youngsters are doing their best to set the stage for the Gentlemen of Aspen Rugby Football Club.
The local youth rugby team, also known as the Grand Gents for its affiliation with the Grand Junction Youth Rugby team, won a tense state semifinal match against a highly ranked Boulder team on Saturday, 21-15.
Next up for the Grand Gents is tonight’s 8:15 p.m. Rugby Colorado high school boys state final at Infinity Park in Glendale. They’ll face PAC Rugby, a club that hails from the foothills of Denver.
Tenacious defense paved the way to victory against Boulder. Three first-half tries also helped considerably.
Boulder struck first, coming out strong and pressuring the Gents’ line for the first five minutes and came away with a penalty for a 3-0 lead.
A chip kick by Wiehan Pretorius (Glenwood Springs High School) was gathered by speedster Chris Gershon (Grand Junction) for a score after 10 minutes. Pretorius booted the conversion and the Gents took a 7-3 lead.
A drive by the Gents’ pack, led by captain Phil Gomez (Roaring Fork), was finished off by the strong running of Eli Harrison (Grand Junction) moments later. Pretorius again converted, staking the Gents to a 14-3 lead.
Just before the half, a solid effort by Basalt sophomore Matt Williams resulted in a 21-7 lead for the Gents. The scrum-half’s break from the halfway mark featured a step to break the line and smart chip and a chase and gathering dive.
The seemingly safe lead was quickly whittled down in the second half by strong-running Boulder, which would not give up the fight.
Substitutions by coach Robert Hurley got fresh legs in the form of Basalt’s Hayden Quintana and Tyler Shultz. Both added dynamism to the defensive effort.
Boulder scored twice to take them within a score of victory, but the Gents held out to clinch a spot in tonight’s final.
For information about youth rugby in the Roaring Fork Valley, contact Gary Williams at email@example.com.
Aspen Rugby Football Club begins play in June.
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.