By Tom Crosby
2008-2009 Deep South Rugby Report
Below are major events this year in the Deep South and reports on the Deep South teams who were the champions in their respective divisions and advanced to compete in regional play-offs.
In September the sad news of the death of Wayne Fontenelle (LSU, NORFC, BRRFC) deeply shook those who knew and loved him. (See article in Archive Issue 2).
The Deep South Rugby Union had several teams join this year. Baton Rouge Men’s & Women’s teams both joined after playing in the Texas Union for some years. For info on the BR Men’s season read below. The BR Women’s side will play its first season in the Deep South Union in 2009-2010.
LSU B side played a season in the Deep South Union. They captured the SEC B-side title.
Marion Military Institute played its first full season. They won their first match against Southern Mississippi 15-0 on February 14th by forfeit.
Niceville (FL) High School under the leadership of Dr. Ed Frisbee signed up to join the Louisiana High School League for the 2009-10 season.
Chris Liddy was promoted to referee grade B-3 giving the Deep South 2 of the 8 B-grade referees in the South Union. (See article in Archive Issue 2 for other referee promotions.)
The Deep South Union proposed a new constitution at its annual meeting in 2008. The Deep South Constitution has been redone, reworked and somewhat modernized and will be presented at the November 2009 AGM. (See article in Archive Issue 2 for information on the originally proposed Constitution.)
High School and Youth Championships
Rummel advanced to the finals of the USA Rugby South regional championships high school division. The Raiders lost 26-16 to Charlotte Catholic (NC). In the USA Rugby championships held in Pittsburgh (PA) Charlotte Catholic was blasted 50-0 by the reigning national champs Jesuit High School (Sacramento) who went on to recapture this year’s championship. Charlotte Catholic finished in 8th place losing the 7-8th place match 29-22 against St. Thomas (Texas).
In the U-19 youth club division Shaw lost to Highlanders (NC) in the semifinal 29-0. The Highlanders won the final beating Naples (FL) by a score of 21-7. At the USA rugby championships the Highlanders fell 31-15 to the perennial rugby power Highland Rugby Club (Utah) who went on to capture the title this year for something like the 19th year in a row. The Highlanders ended up 7th beating Union City (NJ) 11-7 in the 7-8th consolation match.
Although not playing in the (official) Deep South Union, DeepSouthRugby.net claims LSU as a “spiritual member” of the Deep South rugby community. The Tigers had an incredible season advancing to the national quarterfinals. To get there they defeated Colorado State University 18-14 in Greeley, Colorado, to claim the Western Rugby Union University Div. 1 title. In the first match of the round of 16 the Tigers destroyed Utah University 47-5, but fell to San Diego State Aztecs 44-30 in a very tough quarterfinal match. San Diego State lost to Brigham Young University in the semifinals 31-13 and Brigham Young went on to claim the national title upsetting the University of California 25-20. (For more information on LSU’s fantastic season see 2 articles in Archive Issue 2.)
The Deep South Union has no Collegiate Div. 1 sides.
The Deep South has 2 Collegiate Div II teams, Ole Miss and Alabama. Ole Miss won the Deep South/Mid-South bracket and was then defeated by eventual South runner-up East Carolina University. After Western Kentucky pulled out of their playoff game against App State, the boys from Bama stepped up, putting a team together and traveling 8 hours on the 1st weekend of Spring Break. They were defeated, but showed great effort in giving App State a playoff game with very little notice going in. App State would lose to University of Florida (19-14) and USF would be the South #1 seed to the Round of 16. East Carolina was the South #2 seed. In the Round of 16 East Carolina would fall (36-10) to Miami-Ohio who would then lose to Wisconsin in the Semi-final. USF defeated Colorado School of Mines 37-14 in the Round of 16, but would lose 32-17 to Middlebury College (VT) in the Quarterfinals. Middlebury would go on to defeat Wisconsin (27-10) and capture the national title for the second time in 3 years.
Tulane (Deep South West #1) defeated Mississippi State University (Deep South East #1) 22-13 on March 14th to advance to the regional play-offs. Tulane lost to Furman College 29-8 in Rugby South Div. III Final 4 match-up in Tuscaloosa. Furman had captured the Rugby South title 5 out of the last 6 years, but lost to Coastal Carolina University 13-10 in the final. Coastal Carolina went on to win the National Small College Div. 3 championship defeating SUNY-Oswego in Cherry Hill, NJ, on April 26th by a score of 36-15.
Men’s Div. 3
The Birmingham Vulcans traveled to Hilton Head (SC) on April 11th and unfortunately came up a little short (15-9) in the play-offs.
Pensacola Aviators hosted and defeated the High Country (GA) Rugby Club 38-21 on April 11th to advance to the Rugby South championships in Columbus, Georgia. On April 25th Pensacola defeated Savannah 37-3 and then the next day captured the South Div. III title by defeating Hilton Head 27-11 in the finals. May 18th in Columbia (SC) Pensacola faced Danbury (CT) in the Round of 16 and lost 19-3. Danbury went on to beat Blacksburg (PA) 30-27 to advance to the Final 4. Pensacola won its consolation match 31-29 against Cleveland Eastern Suburbs.
On May 30th Danbury lost 37-12 in a national semi-finals match against Northern State (SD). Northern State went on to capture the National Div. 3 title defeating Beaumont(CA) 67-22. Danbury lost its consolation match 49-10 to Middlesex (MA).
Men’s Div. 2
New Orleans RFC was the Deep South’s #1 seed. On April 11th they hosted and defeated Atlanta Old White B-side 42-5 to advance to regional play-offs in Ft. Benning, Georgia.
Baton Rouge RFC was the Deep South’s #2 seed. They traveled to Huntsville on April 11th and barely came away winners with a 1 point win (25-24).
At Ft. Benning NORFC lost to Krewe Rugby Club (Tampa) 26-10 in the semi-final and Baton Rouge defeated Jacksonville 24-17. In the finals Krewe beat Baton Rouge 33-22, but both teams advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals held in Columbia, SC, on May 16th. Baton Rouge lost to Indianapolis Impalas 53-12. The Impalas would go on to defeat Brandywine (PA), last year’s national runner-ups, and advance to the Final Four.
In the national semi-finals on May 30th, Indianapolis fell to East Palo Alto by a score of 30-11. East Palo Alto went on to capture the national Div. 2 title defeating Albuquerque 46-22. Indianapolis won the consolation match in overtime (43-38) beating Lancaster (PA).
The Deep South has no Division 1 sides.
Deep South Women’s
The Deep South will seed at least one Women’s Club Div II team to the South LAU Championships in October, something that has not previously ever occurred in the Deep South. This team has the chance to represent the South TU at the unofficial Div II Women’s National Championships.
Thanks to Charles Dube and Stephen Parrill for information for this report.
If you have other information you would like added to this report, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org