HOUSTON – In battle that can only be described as epic, St. Thomas High School (Houston) defeated Dallas Jesuit 7-6 in the Texas State High School Championship Sunday at Strake Jesuit High School.
Top-seeded St. Thomas (#9) was unable to capitalize on a strong wind at its back throughout the first half, which ended in a scoreless tie. Dallas Jesuit, ranked #10, was able to put a pair Tommy Evans long-range penalty kicks on the board for a 6-0 lead in the second half, leaving the St. Thomas faithful almost without hope.
However, a try in the closing seconds of the match by Will Gutkowski narrowed the lead to 6-5, with only the remaining conversion attempt from Sebastian Gracia left to decide the match. Despite the very difficult angle from the sideline, and the fierce wind now blowing in his face, Gracia was able to convert; the final whistle went, and St. Thomas celebrated a win they will remember at their class reunions for decades to come.
St. Thomas reached the championship match by defeating cross-town rival Strake Jesuit in one semifinal Saturday, while Dallas Jesuit dispatched of powerhouse Austin Westlake in a bruising match in the other. In Sunday’s third place contest, Westlake ran past Strake, 41-7. Side note: rugby is a varsity sport at all four semifinalist schools.
In the U-19 division, Alliance (Dallas-Forth Worth) toppled top-seeded Woodlands 37-24 in a rock’em, sock’em affair that featured four lead changes before Alliance could pull away. Alliance participated in the weekend’s two hardest-hitting matches, including its semifinal gut-check win against Katy, while Woodlands easily handled Plano in the other semi. Katy took home third place Club honors with a 53-20 Sunday win over Plano.
A new High School Division II champion was crowned Sunday with Stony Point HS (Round Rock) taking down Allen HS (North Texas), 12-0. Stony Point defeated Westside HS (Houston) to reach the final, while Allen slipped past St. Pius X (Houston). St. Pius regrouped to defeat Westside 24-19 Sunday to capture third place.
High School Varsity Division
St. Thomas HS (Houston) 7-6 Dallas Jesuit College Prep
Austin Westlake HS 41-7 Strake Jesuit College Prep (Houston)
U-19 Club Division
Alliance (D-FW area) 37-24 Woodlands (Houston area)
Katy (Houston Area) 53-20 Plano (North Texas)
HS Div. II
Stony Point HS (Round Rock) 12-0 Allen (North Texas)
St. Pius X HS (Houston) 24-19 Westside HS (Houston)
St. Thomas HS– 56
Strake Jesuit – 7
Dallas Jesuit – 37
Austin Westlake HS– 19
Woodlands – 67
Plano – 7
Alliance – 24
Katy – 21
Allen HS– 14
St. Pius HS– 12
Stony Point HS – 17
Westside HS -- 0