(A quick note. RUGBYMag.com screwed up in implying rather strongly that the Jesuit team in the Sacramento Valley HS league competition was the 1st team of Jesuit of Sacramento. It’s not. It’s essentially their 2nd team; a fine, hard-working bunch of kids, but not what we think of when we say “Jesuit.” The 1st team Jesuit Marauders play in the newly-formed NorCal Single-School competition, and are undefeated there so far. – AG)
The Jesuit of Sacramento team got a scare last week as they just barely held off the Marin Highlanders 35-32 in a thrilling match.
“Marin are for real,” enthused Jesuit Head Coach John Shorey. “They will make some noise in this season.”
Jesuit relied on their forward pack in this game, perhaps more than they have in the past.
“Their forwards are very good but we have a very big forward pack and we decided to keep it in tight and it worked for us,” Shorey said. “We were able to get some go-forward that way.”
Jesuit were led by Cameron Todd, who it a very dynamic runner at outside center, and junior Matt Ternan, who is a talent with a lot of potential.
Meanwhile Marin Head Coach David Cingolani was enthused with his team’s performance.
“It was a great game to be part of,” Cingolani told RUGBYMag.com. “We had our opportunities and there was lots of the stuff one would expect from two excellent teams matching up: great running, tackling, slick backline play, very organized defenses, hard contests at the tackle.’
Jesuit scored twice early, and perhaps that was the difference.
“I think we were a bit star-struck,” said Cingolani. “But we woke up and after some great forward and backline work.”
Fullback Matson Carver scored for Marin, and then a nifty grubber Grant Collins to the corner for wing Jesse Butler made it 14-12 Jesuit.
Marin took the lead on a penalty kick, and then a massive punt from Collins allowed Butler to run on and score a stunning long-range try. 20-14 Marin.
The thundering runs of big prop George Vrame and excellent work with the ball from Todd led Jesuit back. Todd scored one of the two Jesuit tries to put his side up 28-20 with 25 minutes to go.
Collins orchestrated another try for Marin, one he scored himself, to put Marin within three. Jesuit scored one more, and then Marin’s forwards, led by loosies Louie LeMerle and Jeff Calzaretta, bashed their way close. Collins picked and dov to make the score 35-32.
Six minutes remained, and Jesuit’s defense absorbed the pressure enough to escape.
“Two great teams matched up well,” said Cingonali. “Jesuit are well coached, well organized and stayed true to their systems in attack and on defense. We made a lot of mistakes and got away from our pattern often, but we were able to reorganize and play our game at times. After watching the video, the team identified the things they need to improve going forward.”
Marin and Jesuit are not in the same competitive league, but they certainly showed they are in the same league in terms of their level of play. Jesuit takes on rivals Christian Brothers next, while Marin takes on Montgomery.