By Melanie Cane
For the second time in three years, the Rye High School Rugby team won the Division II New York State Championship at SUNY Binghamton. They beat the Foothills from Glens Falls 22-10 in the semifinals May 27, and the next day topped Keio/FASNY, 24-22
In the championship game, at halftime, the score was knotted at three. Senior Captain Michael Davitt, who scored the first three points on a penalty kick, scored two tries and three conversions in the second half. Co-Captain Chase Bekkerus scored the third try. Keio came a few yards from scoring a five-point try in the final seconds, but freshman Lucas Perez-Signini made a game-saving tackle.
Davitt said, “It was the best game we’ve played, and it took a total team effort.” He added, “Their guys are much bigger than we are, and we expected a lot of physicality and kicking from them. We knew we had to outrun them, keep our penalties to a minimum, and outlast them.”
After losing to Keio/FASNY May 11 in their final regular season game, Garnets Coach Jim O’Hara said they practiced plays specifically created to beat Keio, and it paid off.
“They are a great group of boys. They always pushed themselves as hard as possible in practice and in games, and they have true grit, “said Coach O’Hara. “With three starting freshmen and a mix of old and young, this win proved that our past win was not a fluke and that we are here to stay. As always, Mike Davitt helped motivate the team like a true leader.”
The State champs outside Rye High School