The High School All-Americans needed about 20 minutes to get going, but after that, they opened it up to earn a 64-0 win over the British Columbia U18s on Thursday at the campus of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
The game was back and forth early on, with defenses holding firm.
"I think we tried to go wide a bit early, and we needed some patience," HSAA head coach Salty Thompson said. "We needed to flood the middle and then consolidate before we went wide."
Defensive pressure led to the first points, with scrumhalf Ethan McVeigh, who was superb on the day, slotting a penalty.
Then BC had a scrum near its line, and instead of working its way out and finding space for a kick, the hosts tried to kick directly from the scrum platform. That was a mistake as McVeigh raced in, blocked the kick, caught the ball, and touched down. McVeigh added the extras for a 10-0 HSAA lead.
Another try from McVeigh made it 13-0, but in the second half, everything started to open up. Lock Chase Jones had a massive game, while the front row, anchored by David Ainuu and Xavier Doering, scrummed effectively. Center Jack Wendling and Doering also laid in some big hits and kept pushing BC back.
In the second half, Wendling, Jones, Ainuu, and Conner Bellinger all got involved in the scoring, as the HSAA team worked some really patient, powerful team tries.
"Defense was a big part of what we worked on, and we did a really good job of working as a team," Jones said.
HSAA Roster17. Xavier Doering, St. Thomas Aquinas, KS; 2. Gabe Mahuinga, Herriman, UT; 3. David Ainuu, Liberty, WA; 4. Chase Jones, Solo, CA; 5. Asa Carter, Union, OK; 6. Alex Rayton, Woodlands, Texas; 7. Chris Noggle, Santa Barbara, CA; 8. Ivan Pula, Budd Bay, WA; 9. Ethan McVeigh, St. Augustine HS, CA; 10. Owen Sheehy, Gonzaga, Washington, D.C.; 11. Ian Kilcullen, Gonzaga, Washington, D.C.; 12. Jack Wendling, Chuckanut, WA; 13. George Niethammer, Jesuit, CA; 14. Ryan Santos, Philippines; 15. Kyle van Tonder, Rocky Mountain, ID
16. Jake Burns, Chuckanut, WA; 18. Siope Koloamaitangi, Tempe, AZ ; 19. Deven Lawhorne, Back Bay, CA; 20. Conner Bellinger Jesuit, CA; 21. Carlos Ramirez, Jesuit CA; 22. Joseph Kamara, Palmer HS, CO; 23. Sam Gasparovich, St. Thomas Aquinas, KS; 24. Michael Nettleton Fisher, IN; 25. Keoni Francis, CY Fair, Texas