In a defensive struggle, the Fort Hunt Warriors nipped the Hampton Heat 8-5 to win the 2012 Rugby Virginia High School Boys State Championship.
The match was played under partly cloudy skies in Newport News, Va. before a large and enthusiastic crowd. The first 10 minutes of the match both teams probed for an advantage, but neither team could gain the upper hand.
At the 12 minute mark, Hampton was penalized for hands in the ruck and the Fort Hunt flyhalf, Colin Gregory, hit the penalty kick from 30 meters to for a 3-0 lead. For the rest of the half, both teams seemed to suffer from nerves as several good scoring chances were not finished due to knock-ons or poor passes and the scored remained 3-0 at the half.
In the second half, the pace of the match picked up and both teams seemed to get their game together.
Hampton pushed into Fort Hunt’s end and forced a scrum about 15 meters from the goal line. Fort Hunt won the put-in and No. 8 Paul Skudlark picked up looking for a weakside break. However, Hampton’s blindside flanker, Omar Shepard, made a great one-on-one tackle, poached the ball, and Hampton spun it out to their backs.
Outside center Nick Sandavol made a strong run to the line only to be stopped inches short. However, Hampton’s inside center and captain, Daunte Wilson, snatched up the ball and dove over for the try to give Hampton a 5-3 lead. Sandoval’s conversion attempt went wide.
At the 15 minute mark, Fort Hunt hit back and scored a try. After being awarded a penalty kick in front of the posts, Fort Hunt passed up what looked like a sure three points and ran a quick-tap play. Flanker Darrien Pickett smashed over for the try, and Fort Hunt was back in the lead, 8-5, after Gregory’s conversion was missed.
For the rest of the match, defense was the name of the game. Fort Hunt’s scrum was strong, taking three balls against the head and winning several line outs but couldn’t capitalize.
Hampton’s center combination made several strong runs, but Fort Hunt tackled desperately and stopped the threats. With about five minutes left in the match, Hampton had an attack that looked to provide the winning try only to miss that opportunity when the last pass was thrown forward. The match ended with Fort Hunt forcing a turnover at a set scrum.