Two days after beating the British Columbia U18s 64-0, the western version of the Boys High School All-Americans held on to sweep BC 33-13 at the University of British Columbia campus in Vancouver on Saturday.
BC did a much better job of containing the HSAA attack, disrupting possession, moving up quicker on defense, and using its continuity to put the Americans under pressure. But the HSAA team was still more skilled and more alert -- at least alertness put them ahead early.
The two teams traded penalty goals, and then a kick downfield by the HSAAs produced a penalty. BC was guilty of knocking the ball forward, and another BC player picked up the ball from an offside position. That's a penalty not a scrum, and just about everybody put his head down and trudged to the mark expecting a scrum. HSAA scrumhalf Ethan McVeigh saw it was a penalty, ran to the mark, tapped, and was over before the BC players knew what had happened. McVeigh slotted the conversion, and the Americans led 10-3.
It was soon 17-3, as the HSAA forwards pounded down to the line and lock Chase Jones scored. McVeigh kicked the conversion, and the HS All-Americans looked in control.
It was very nearly 24-3 after a nifty high kick and chase from center George Niethammer almost put the ball into the Jesuit star's hands. A penalty eventually allowed McVeigh to claim three points and make it 23-3. BC added a penalty just before the break, but McVeigh answered to give the tourists a 23-6 lead.
BC scored right from the kickoff in the second half, exploiting a spilled HSAA ball and spinning it wide. But the HS All-Americans came back. They thought they had a try from a quick tap, but that one was called back. Still, some good work in consolidating lineout ball led to a charge from prop David Ainuu and then some support from Jones for his second.
Down 28-13, the BC team put its opponents under a good deal of pressure for the last quarter of the game. Repeatedly, the HS-All Americans were in trouble, but BC opted not to kick for points on penalties. With some good defensive work from everyone, especially sub flanker Joseph Kamara, the HSAA team survived. And then, once the HS All-Americans got out of their own end, flyhalf Sam Gasparovich, subbing in at flyhalf, launched a kick to space, and Kaden Loversky raced in under to gather the ball and score the try that would seal it.
HS All-American mistakes were most likely forced from a better BC defensive effort than anything else. But whatever the reason, the tourists held on.
That makes the HS All-Americans 4-0 for the summer, with different squads going to Ontario and British Columbia. The HSAA team beat Ontario 26-5 and 22-17 and BC 64-0 and 33-13.
HSAA RosterProp Xavier Doering, St. Thomas Aquinas, KS
Prop David Ainuu, Liberty, WA
Prop Siope Koloamaitangi, Tempe, AZ
Hooker Jake Burns, Chuckanut, WA
Hooker Gabe Mahuinga, Herriman, UT
Lock Chase Jones, Solo, CA
Lock Deven Lawhorne, Back Bay, CA
Lock Asa Carter, Union, OK
Flanker Alex Rayton, Woodlands, TX
Flanker Chris Noggle, Santa Barbara, CA
Flanker Conner Bellinger Jesuit, CA
Flanker Joseph Kamara, Palmer HS, CO
No. 8 Ivan Pula, Budd Bay, WA
Scrumhalf Ethan McVeigh, St. Augustine HS/OMBAC, CA
Scrumhalf Carlos Ramirez, Jesuit CA
Flyhalf Owen Sheehy, Gonzaga, DC
Flyhalf Sam Gasparovich, St. Thomas Aquinas, KS
Center Jack Wendling, Chuckanut, WA
Center George Niethammer, Jesuit, CA; 14
Center Michael Nettleton Fisher, IN
Center/Wing Keoni Francis, CY Fair, TX
Wing/Center Ian Kilcullen, Gonzaga, DC
Wing Ryan Santos, Philippines
Fullback Kyle van Tonder, Rocky Mountain, ID
Fullback Kaden Loversky, Mora Costa HS, CA