The Unionville High School rugby program competed in the 2013 North Carolina Youth Rugby Festival, held in Charlotte, NC this past weekend, winning their bracket, but also getting a wakeup call in an clash of the two bracket champions.
Nearly 70 Unionville High School and Patton Middle School athletes competed under sunny skies against rugby programs from North Carolina, Texas, Florida, Ohio, and Georgia.
The Unionville’s Boys Varsity team won the Boys Single-School Elite Division championship with huge wins over East Mecklenburg High School and Providence High School, both from North Carolina.
Unionville 55, East Mecklenburg 0
Unionville 80, Providence 0
In fact, Unionville was so dominant that tournament organizers established a special “Best-of-the-Best” match on Sunday between Unionville and the club champs, St. Thomas from Houston, Texas.
Unionville fell behind 22-0 in the first 12 minutes against St. Thomas. The Indians had not previously seen a team of St. Thomas’s caliber and had trouble adjusting to the speed, size, and skill of the Eagles.
The Indians, however, began to show signs of life toward the end of the first half, nearly scoring just before the time expired. But the score remained 22-0.
“St. Thomas came out and simply ran over, through, and around us for the first 12 minutes,” said Head Coach Curt Baker. “They are a terrific side and we weren’t mentally ready for the intensity of playing a team this good.”
The second half was an entirely different story. Unionville took control of play from the opening kick-off. Five minutes in, outside center Beck Tuvesson scored Unionville’s first try. Chris Baker converted and the score was 22-7. Several minutes later, Baker scored a try of his own, closing the gap to 22-12.
“At this point in the match, play vaulted to an exceptionally high level,” said Baker. “St. Thomas had not been tested in a couple of years and suddenly they were in a fight for their life. We were controlling play and had them in real trouble. It was incredibly exciting.”
Unfortunately for Unionville, time ran out as the Indians were threatening to score a third time. The final score was 22-12.
“I’m sad we lost, but that second half really was breathtaking. What a thrill to watch our boys out there," said Baker. "They rose to the occasion and played magnificent rugby. I couldn’t be prouder of their performance.”