Knights earn date with Falcons
Boys rugby: Comp-HTA final June 3 at Foothills
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Friday, May 30, 2014 01:43 pm
The Holy Trinity Academy Knights boys rugby team is on a roll. Now it will be rolling into the Foothills Composite high school pitch to determine which school goes on to the provincial championships.
The Knights shutout Bow Valley 32-0 May 28 in the South Central zone semifinal at HTA. It sets up an HTA-Foothills Falcons showdown for the title on June 3.
“I haven’t seen Foothills play but it’s exciting for rugby in Okotoks,” Knights coach Joe Buck said. “We started rugby in Okotoks years ago, and here we are 1 and 2.
“I’m just elated for the game.”
Buck said it was the Knights’ experience that did Bow Valley in.
“They were very physical they just didn’t have very much rugby acumen,” Buck said. “They weren’t able to move the ball well or handle our pressure."
The Knights opened the score when they were able to work the ball deep into Bow Valley’s territory, then from about five-yards they had a series of passes to the wide-side of the field, resulting in Braedan Bespalko taking the pitch and diving in for the try to make it 5-0.
HTA went ahead 10-0 just before the half when Riley Westhaver did a tap and go and dove into the try zone.
If the Knights thought the Bow Valley was going away for the season, they had another thing coming. Bow Valley had possession of the ball for the opening five minutes of the second stanza, until HTA’s offence suddenly sprang loose — make that Sprague loose.
Cristian Sprague took a pitch from Ben Brown at about midfield and rumbled into the try zone and suddenly it was 17-0 after the successful conversion.
They would link up again when Sprague took a Brown pitch and burst out from 25 yards out to make 22-0.
“They were definitely a strong team and we were definitely a bit worried in the second half,” Sprague said. “Ben and I together — I tell you, we are becoming a force when we link up.”
Bow Valley’s Scott MacMillan said Sprague was virtually unstoppable.
“He’s got big quads — they can take him a long way,” MacMillan said with a laugh. “He’s hard to bring down.”
Brown would up the lead just minutes later thanks to his speed and his right foot.
The back booted the ball from about 20 yards out and into the try zone. He pounced on the ball before any Bow Valley players and touched for the try to give the Knights an insurmountable 27-0 lead.
The Knights final try came when Christian “Mighty Mouse” Nori came up with the ball and somehow squeezed his 55kg frame through Bow Valley and in for the score.
Although he didn’t show up on the scoresheet, Joey McMullen was named the Knights Man of the Match.
The HTA flanker dug for the ball like a pig going after a truffle — he always found the prize.
“I just got the ball after every contact,” McMullen said. “I just went hard and rucked over.”
Bow Valley coach Andy Townsend said while he is disappointed he said rugby is continuing to grow at Bow Valley, which is a combination of Cochrane and Bow Valley high schools.
“We just started to let HTA play their game,” Townsend said. “This was a great test of where we need to be. HTA is one of the top teams in their tier and a lot of them (the Knights) have played together for years.
“Every time we made a mistake, HTA knew what to do about it.”
Sprague said the Knights will be ready when they meet on Tuesday.
“We’re always excited to meet the Comp,” Sprague said. “They beat us last year, we are looking to get them back.”
The Knights-Falcon Tier I zone final will go at 6:15 June 3 at the Comp.