In front of a capacity crowd in Boise, Idaho, for the second time in three years, Nakahi was crowned as the Rugby Idaho High School boys State Champions with a 28-27 win over Capital. Nakahi is a High School club team (Eagle, Middleton and Rocky Mountain HS student/athletes) where Capital is a single school team. Similar to the last two state finals, it proved to be the must-see match of the year. There is no bigger rivalry in the Gem State.
Nakahi struck first, within the first 5 minutes, off of the consistent foot of senior Blake Siebert. Nakahi followed that up with a try by rookie sophomore flyhalf Austin Hook through some great support play. The conversion was hit by Siebert. Under fierce forward play, Capital struck back to make it 7-10. Capital scored again with another try, but the conversion fell short; 12-10. Nakahi reclaimed the lead with another penalty kick off Siebert’s boot.
Nakahi took a blow at minute 45 when their standout No. 8 was red-carded, leaving them shorthanded for the remainder of the match. From that point forward, the seven-man pack, led by openside flanker Josh Crossgrove, blindside flanker Mitch Cottle, loosehead prop Logan Paul and hooker Aiden Blazina, played inspired rugby and proved effective in the tackle, pick & jam and ruck.
The forward play, coupled with the efficiency of Nakahi scrumhalf Troy Tolman, and their backline, which boasted four speedsters in Blake Boren, Mikie Bishop, Skyler Elsworth and Cody Burden, was the difference. The Nakahi backline put on a great defensive effort led by Junior center Hayden Cross, shutting down the loose forward attacks by Capital. The Nakahi Backline scored all of their tries on the day, with seniors Boren and Skylar Elsworth both crossing the goal line to cap off well-executed backline movements. Siebert converted two of the three tries on the day.
Keep an eye on Nakahi for next season. Only six of their first 22-man roster are seniors and with tours scheduled for Utah and Northern California in the spring of 2014, they are bound to raise their level of play.