The Boy's U19 National Semifinals took place earlier today, with Highland Rugby (Utah) going up against Cathedral (Ind.) and Utah United facing Kansas City Jr. Blues.
In the first semifinal, Highland came out on top with a 44-0 victory. Highland has been known to put a little fear into other teams and it was no different this time around. Cathedral appeared to be hesitant, more so than when they played Belmont Shore (Calif.) earlier today in the quarterfinals. "It was a whole different level even from the quarterfinal game we played this morning," Cathedral assistant coach Scott Peterson said. "We had a shot early on, a couple penalties within the five-meter line but we couldn't convert. They took it 90 meters and scored and it was pretty much one-way traffic after that."
In the second semifinal, Utah United got away with a 29-20 victory. It came down to United being bigger up front and using this to their advantage. The Kansas City backs did not want to risk giving possession away in their own territory, so they tried to use a tactical kicking game to pin United deep, but this just ended up giving the ball back to the United backline.
Kansas City coach Brian O'Laughlan said that his team played very well but gave United a jump start at the beginning. United was ahead at the half, 19-8. Kansas City scored one converted try, two unconverted tries and a penalty kick but it wasn't enough. "It was a tough game all around," O'Laughlan said.
This sets up a Highland/Utah United final and both these teams have plenty of experience playing for a national title. This is the fourth consecutive year that Highland and United have met in the championship game, with United winning last year and Highland the year before. It is Highland's coach Larry Gelwix's last year coaching the team, so his players will be determined to send him off with a national championship. The two Pacific Coast powerhouses will leave everything they have on the field when they compete for the trophy tomorrow at 4:30 (MST).