It was brother against brother this past weekend in Utah, as coach Michael Puriri’s Snow Canyon team faced off against Colin Puriri’s United squad.
These two high school teams, Snow Canyon as a single-school, United as a HS club, are both headed to the national invitational tournament, and both were eager to lay down a marker in their match this past Saturday. Since Michael left United to start Snow Canyon six years ago, United has won every game, but this Saturday was different, as Snow Canyon edged United 20-17.
“It’s a good rivalry,” said Colin Puriri. “Michael’s done a good job and has a great program down there. Losing to them wasn’t really a shock, because we know how hard they’ve been working.”
United beat Snow Canyon earlier this year, but Colin was also mindful of the pre-season tournament that also featured Trybe (used to be Highland) and Red Mountain (aka Mesa).
“They beat Mesa, we lost to Trybe, and Trybe lost to Mesa, so we figured there is some parity in Utah.”
“Coming out of that first loss to them, they thumped us five tries to two,” said Michael. “I knew we needed to do better defensively. The two key guys on attack is the #10 and #12, so if you put them under pressure and shut them, you can win. And our loose forwards really smothered them and did a good job of putting them under pressure.”
Claiming the victory was an important confidence boost for Snow Canyon.
“It was huge for us,” said Michael. “And I can’t single out anyone because we did it as a team. I am really proud of the performance.”
“I think it’s a good wakeup call for us,” added Colin. “Like I said, there’s parity in Utah, and I think that’s exciting.”