The Mira Costa Rugby Team entered the day as the #1 seed in the Plate Championship as they took on the Rigby Royals from Rigby, Idaho. The Mustangs jumped out early as Rob Fiene fed Jarem Cortez off a scrum as Cortez side stepped his defender and raced 44 meters for the opening Try and a 5-0 lead. Not long after that the Mustangs were again on the attack as they drove deep into Royal territory. Reed Vabrey took the ball off a 5 meter scrum and managed to find paydirt and a 10-0 lead. Costa’s final score of the half (and game) came from Ryan Ohanessian as he received a beautiful offload from Vabrey. Captain Jonah Tavai added the conversion for a 17-0 lead. The match ended 17-7 as the Royals added a late score to avoid the shutout.
The semi-final game was a rematch from last year as the Mustangs took on their friends from Tennessee. Last year’s match featured two top scrum-half’s, Harrison Dulgarian (Costa) and Tripp Wirring (Tennessee State All Stars) who are now both starting at the University of Alabama and now great friends. Last year Tennessee was one of the 5 victims as the Mustangs captured the Bowl. This year was different.
Aiden Martinez (who scored in 4 of 5 matches) took a loose ball and raced 67 meters for a Try and a 5-0 lead. The two sides traded possessions for the rest of the half with the exception of the final play. The Mustangs lost possession as a Tennessee Winger took the loose ball and raced down the sideline to score and gain momentum going into the 2nd half. The play was questionable as it appeared that the Winger had stepped out but regardless, the score stood. Tennessee opened the second half with 3 quick scores taking advantage of sloppy play by Costa and giving them a 5-22 lead as it looked very bleak for Costa. However this Mustang team refused to quit and fought to the final whistle as they have done all year. With only 2 minutes left in the match Ohanessian took a pass, ran over a defender and then bench pressed another defender to the ground in route to a 54 meter romp. Tavai added the conversion to bring the Mustangs to a 12-22 deficit. Despite the match being out of reach and on the final play of the game the Mustangs created their best possession of the tournament as they managed to score a truly spectacular Try. Costa secured possession following the kickoff. In the most pure team play of the day they made 8 consecutive and extremely timely passes as 6 players touched the ball finally ending up in the hands of Sophomore sensation Luke Weaver as he drove the ball in from 24 meters out. The 17-22 loss eliminated the Mustangs from the tournament. Costa ended the tournament 3-2. While they failed to win the tournament they played great rugby, gave 100% effort and showed their usual first class sportsmanship. Well done boys!
Watch the match. Go to YouTube and type in “Tennessee Rugby All Stars.”
The match should be posted later today and we thank our fellow ruggers from Tennessee for sharing the film.