Ferndale, Wash. - It’s been a busy spring season for rugby players, coaches and fans throughout the state of Washington. After all the practices, games and traveling time, it all culminated to a two day state tournament at the Polo Fields in the Land of the Rising Rugby Ball, Bellingham, Wash.
In the Division II Boys Bowl Tournament, the Yakima Griffins came prepared. Handling the number four seed Prairie on the first day 60-19, leaving room to breathe for the second day matchup with Shelton.
They never lost stride with a convincing 43-18 and to make the three and half hour drive well worth it.
Division II U19 boys saw the Valley Joeys hoist the trophy at the end. Valley upset number one seed Harbour Hurricanes 27-17 in their first game and pulled out a nail-biter over Kent 7-5 in the final game.
In the U16 Boys bracket, the Budd Bay Barbarians once again left no doubt. After a dominant season, Bay breezed through their first-game forfeit of host Chuckanut Bay 22-0. That would set up a match with Liberty, the only team they lost to in the regular season.
The second day matchup with the Patriots was a battle for the first 20 minutes. However, the Barbarians were out for blood from the start and settled in to a 31-5 victory. Liberty scored in the final seconds of the game, but not nearly enough to wipe away the confidence and pride of what the Barbarians had accomplished.
On the girls side of the U19 Division I, Kent was, for lack of a better word, dominant. The Crusaders breezed through both Bay opponents (Chuckanut and Budd) to the tune of 151-0 and polished off a season in which they finished with a top five national ranking.
In saving the last report for the Boys U19 game, it could only be fitting to see the host team, Chuckanut Bay Steamers, as the champions 11-10. Though no easy task against a feisty Liberty Patriots squad, the Steamers won with disciplined defense.
Chuckanut’s Keande Washington would score first for the Steamers followed by a penalty kick to go up 8-0. Liberty took momentum into the half with a last minute score to make it a gripping 8-7 score.
Second half was all about the defense as neither team could get into the touch zone. Liberty took the lead midway through with a penalty and with only a few minutes remaining Chuckanut lock Reicle Erchinger kicked it through the uprights for a late 11-10 lead.
The Patriots, however, didn’t go quietly. Pressing hard inside Chuckanut’s 22-meter, every player in a Liberty uniform pushed with everything they had left in the tank. Chuckanut’s defense, though, would answer the call every time and when the final whistle blew; Chuckanut players ran off the pitch directly at their fans and coaches.
The game was the lowest scoring for either team this year and notched the Steamers undefeated season at 10-0.