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Sunday, April 12, 2015

St Thomas topples Cy-Fair

8-man Josh Pane runs off a quick-tap penalty.
Pictures courtesy of Elizabeth Pardee
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12 April 2015
By Peter Scamardo, STHS

St. Thomas was able to close out their regular season on Thursday with a win at home against the Cy-Fair Warriors. Similar to the Eagles’ previous match with the Katy Barbarians, both teams came into the game fully aware that the loser would be eliminated from Cup-level playoff contention. Fortunately for the Eagles, they maintained their playoff hopes with a 42-11 win over Cy-Fair.

The Eagles were coming off a very easy win against St. Pius X, shutting out the Panthers 65-0. In that game, St. Thomas physically dominated the Panthers and took advantage of gaps in the Panthers' rugby IQ to emerge victorious.



Cy-Fair suffered a tough loss to the first-place Woodlands, their first defeat of the season. The Warriors may not have a completely healthy squad on Thursday night, but they were very game for their match against the Eagles, completely aware of the stakes.

The Eagles put points on the board early with tries by lock Charlie Vatterott and 8-man Josh Pane, giving them a 14-0 lead before the Cy-Fair fly half slotted a penalty kick to give the Warriors their first points.

A neck injury to one of the Cy-Fair props caused a long delay in the game due to an ambulance having to come onto the field. The action is believed to have been precautionary and, it is reported that the player did not suffer a severe injury.

The delay did not cause the Eagles to take their foot off the gas, adding two more tries from flanker Payton Pardee and lock George Michael by the end of the half. The coaches for St. Thomas kept a sense of urgency with the players, not allowing them to become complacent with the score. The players responded in suite with a pair of tries from Vatterott and flanker Griffin Maat. St. Thomas did not give up a try until late into the second half, and they only gave up one.
Santi Gonzalez went six for six on his conversion kicks in the match

Santi Gonzalez, now at fly-half, ensured no points were left off the board, going six for six with his precise conversion kicks. A luxury the Eagles have not enjoyed all season.

Cy-Fair is a team greatly improved from last season, thanks in part to an extremely strong and powerful pack that has led them to many of their wins this season. St. Thomas’ forwards were simply able to out-gain the Warrior forwards on the day, rarely allowing Cy-Fair to take advantage of opportunities they had when deep inside St. Thomas' half.

The backs for St. Thomas were able to move the ball deep when they got it but they never seemed to finish on good scoring opportunities. On defense however, they were superb; communicating as a unit and forcing turnovers off of pressure on the slow ball movement of the Cy-Fair backs.

After two straight losses on senior night, it was pleasing to see the class of 2015 sent off with a win.
Senior captain Payton Pardee's attacking runs and a try helped lead his team to victory on Senior Night.
St. Thomas currently sits at second place in the South Division with Kingwood right behind them at third. With Kingwood set to play Cy-Fair this weekend, the result of that game will determine who will earn second place and compete in playoffs for the 2015 Rugby Texas Cup. St. Thomas needs either a Cy-Fair win or a bonus pointless win for Kingwood to advance to the state cup competition. If Kingwood wins and gets a bonus point then the Eagles will compete in the state plate competition. For now, St. Thomas can only watch and see if their playoff prayers will be answered.

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