Staples beats Madison
Determination and will fueled the Staples rugby team at home on Sunday. Staples resolved itself to limit its mistakes and play a crisp game, which led to the team arguably turning in its best performance of the season in a 24-5 home win over Madison.
"I'm proud of the boys," Wreckers Coach Oscar Barahona said. "They were a lot more intense and aggressive this game and played with more heart today. They were all in support of each other and they weren't afraid."
Staples raised its record to 1-3-1 and made up for lost opportunities as it lost a couple of close games earlier in the year (missed extra point kick turned a potential 7-6 win into a 6-5 loss to Cheshire on April 18). Madison dropped to 3-3.
"We needed the win and worked hard all year but we couldn't pull through in previous games," Wreckers senior captain Harry Rappaport said. "This one worked out in our favor."
Senior captain Charlie Stanley said, "Our injured players returning, helped, and we brought more intensity than we usually bring."
Stanley is a solid passer and deftly sets up the offense and missed the games against Cheshire and New Rochelle because of an injury. He's also a fine tackler as well. Luke Chunovic was involved in many tackles against the Tigers on Sunday and returned after missing the April 28 game against New Rochelle.
From the opening whistle, Staples dominated and kept the ball in Madison's end. By controlling the scrum, senior Will Muchnick scored a try off a pass from classmate Wes Langham to give the Wreckers a 5-0 lead. Junior Tyler Book kicked the extra point to make it 7-0.
The tackling of Stanley and senior Eric Nebelung helped Staples with its transition and gave it possession deep in Madison territory. Rappaport then set up Muchnick, who did the rest and scored the try. Book's kick made it 14-0, which was the score at the half.
"Rugby is a real team sport and the ball has to touch a lot of hands before it gets to me," Muchnick said.
Rappaport said, "We went for the overload and we tried to get more men on our side and less on theirs. Will breaking tackles helped a lot. Having Wes Langham and Will Muchnick as centers provides a great benefit to the team. Wes played an unselfish game, which, really contributed to the win today."
Juniors Ed Hickson, Josh Kogstad and Andy Fitton were all involved in many tackles. Classmates Jesse Sussmane and Will Gottschalk ran the ball with strong determination. Senior Ryan Vaughn and junior Bret Epright controlled the scrums.
Early in the second half, junior Yuri Lenskiy extended the Wreckers' lead to 19-0 when he picked up the ball at the 18-yard line, juked past Madison defenders and ran in for the try. Although Book booted a good kick, the wind slightly blew his extra point wide of the posts.
"We formed a pod where several forwards came together and we were faster them and I managed to get in for the try," Lenskiy said.
Sophomores Mike Washington and Chris Chu were defensive forces and stopped the Tigers near Staples' goal line. However, the ball took a bad roll during the ensuing scrum and Madison fell on the ball in the end zone for the try to make it 19-5. The kick was no good.
Any chance for the Tigers to further get back into the game ended when Rappaport picked up the ball at Madison's 36-yard line and broke some tackles. He then went down the sideline for a try to ice the game, 24-5.
"I took the ball off a penalty and ran past their men and had only one man to beat," Rappaport said. "I made a turn and faked a pass, my opponent bit on it and I was able to go in for the score."