Pride Rugby (Formerly Hyde Rugby, now known as Perry Street Prep) opened up its 2012 Metro Area Varsity Conference (MAVRC) season with a convincing 55- 12 win over MAVRC newcomers the Titans of TC Williams HS Friday.
TC Williams is nationally known for their football program that was the subject of the movie, Remember the Titans. New to the MAVRC after having left Rugby Virginia at the end of the 2011 season, TC is the ninth school to join the MAVRC, a collection of top private, public and charter school athletic programs in the DC metro area. Two additional varsity programs are planned for 2013.
The opening MAVRC game for TC Williams proved to be a major step up for the Titans as they faced a Pride team that was 14-2 in 2011, winning the MAVRC championship.
Despite having graduated 12 of 15 starters from that 2011 Championship team, this years’ squad has high expectations. Prides Coach Tal Bayer said “a return to the Championship game will require a steep learning curve for our players and a substantial increase in the depth of our Varsity player pool.”
With 3 preseason scrimmages and 12 Varsity games scheduled over 10 weeks, the “Pride” will have plenty of opportunity to address that curve.
As it is with most early season games, both teams struggled early on with handling errors, miscues and messy cleanouts at the breakdowns. The Pride eventually began to find its rhythm and created some long range tries with solid ball movement through the backs and aggressive pick and gos through the forwards.
Pride Rugby’s new prop forward, Vernard Poindexter, has only three weeks’ experience but showed the soft hands, surprising speed and field vision to create tries and assists from all areas of the field. Flanker turned inside center Adrian Ray showed that he still has a flanker’s mentality, with his punishing defense and aggressive running style. Meanwhile No.8 Marcus Mcintyre, a junior who has been with the team since the 7th grade, showed what his previous summer in New Zealand has done for his leadership and game. He was a constant force at the breakdown, cleaning things up and dominating his opposition.
As the Pride appeared to be running away with the game, TC Williams finally began to show their potential with a well deserved, multi-phase try from 50 meters out and quick tap penalty that caught the opposition napping. The Pride answered back with two more scores to end the game.
“We were happy with the win but have a lot of work ahead of us,” said Bayer, adding that he was pleased to see TC Williams join the league. “TC Williams are a class act and have the potential to become a major power in DC area rugby. The caliber of athlete, quality of facilities and school support combined with being the only public high school in the city of Alexandria is almost the perfect storm.”
With all the wind and rain wreaking havoc on the metro area over Friday and Saturday, perhaps it is a symbol of things to come.