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Warriors to play in rugby championship match

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

Fallbrook High School’s boys rugby team advanced to the Southern California Interscholastic Rugby Federation’s championship match.

The Warriors will play Cathedral Catholic for the championship Feb. 24 at Cathedral Catholic. The game will begin at 7 p.m. Fallbrook earned a berth in the final with a 14-13 victory Feb. 11 at St. Augustine which closed out the Warriors’ regular season.

“It was a very tough game,” said Fallbrook coach Sierra Arteaga.

Fallbrook and St. Augustine both entered the Feb. 11 game with one loss, so the winner would play in the championship match against Cathedral. The Dons were responsible for Fallbrook’s only loss; the Jan. 21 game at Cathedral had a 41-17 final score.

“I just think we were a little bit inexperienced at the time,” Arteaga said. “We were definitely tested, and we just didn’t come out with the victory.”

The 2022-23 Fallbrook varsity roster has 26 players including nine seniors. (Only one freshman is on this season’s varsity.) Approximately half of the players were on last year’s varsity.

Fallbrook was in a four-team league for 2021-22 and played each league opponent twice. The Warriors opened 2022 with a 33-24 home win over Cathedral but lost the second 2022 match at Cathedral by a 72-10 margin.

Both 2022 games against St. Augustine were won by the Saints. The game at Fallbrook had a 38-0 score while the St. Augustine home match saw the Saints leverage a 42-14 halftime lead into a 56-33 victory. Fallbrook finished the 2021-22 season with a 5-3 record, and the Warriors were 3-3 in league competition.

Fallbrook’s final home game of 2022-23 took place Jan. 27 and was a 40-0 triumph over La Costa Canyon. “It was a fun game. It was really good to have our last home game be a shutout,” Arteaga said.

The Warriors settled for a non-shutout victory over St. Augustine. Fallbrook had a 7-3 halftime lead with Thomas McSheehy scoring the try and Tyler Craven kicking the conversion. The Warriors increased their advantage to 14-3 in the second half with Alan Leon scoring the try and Craven making the conversion kick.

St. Augustine narrowed the deficit. “In the final minutes they scored two tries,” Arteaga said. “They didn’t convert on either one.”

The victory placed Fallbrook into the championship match while giving the Warriors a final regular season record of 7-1. “We’re really excited,” Arteaga said. “We’ve built a really good foundation, and we’re excited for the opportunity to compete.”

 

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