Loyola upends Calvert Hall for MIAA rugby championship (VIDEO HERE!)
2021 MIAA RUBGY CHAMPIONS
LOYOLA BLAKEFIELD DONS
by Demetrius Dillard
Special to VSN
Loyola Blakefield’s rugby team made the necessary adjustments for the most important game of its season Friday evening.
After trailing 7-0 early, the Dons scored 19 unanswered points and used a lockdown defensive effort in the second half to defeat Calvert Hall College, 19-7, in the MIAA championship match at Mount St. Joseph’s Pleyvak Field.
In winning their first league title since 2016, the Dons (4-2-1 overall) figured out the previously undefeated Cardinals, who won 27-26 and tied them (29-29) during the regular season.
“This whole year we had nothing to lose because we knew [the season] could get shut down at any time so kept that mindset and the boys really stuck to the plan and trusted me,” said first-year head coach Danny Breda.
“Our hard work paid off.”
Nick Dubois helped Loyola Blakefield drive the ball deep into Cardinal territory, setting up a try by David Kraus in the 19th minute to tie the score, 7-7. In the 29th minute of the first half, Tyler Cahill scored a try shortly after a scrum to put Loyola Blakefield ahead, 12-7, at the half.
The Dons sustained control in the second half by tackling low on defense. Luke Amaral, a senior outside center who provided a major spark on both ends of the field down the stretch for the Dons.
In the 21st minute, Amaral intercepted the ball and sprinted across the goal for a try, putting Loyola up 17-7.
“Winning the ship my senior year after a year of real hardship is a real big deal. I’ve been playing with some of these guys for three or four years, and it’s just so nice to see it all come together at the end. I think we played our best rugby,” said Amaral, who plans to continue playing on the club level at the University of Maryland. “Our offense is impeccable, we always do well but it was the defensive adjustments that helped us win the game today.”
Calvert Hall (6-1-1), looking for its first MIAA crown since 2017, produced only one try Friday. The Cardinals failed to convert three penalty kicks.
“Our guys fought. That’s what we asked them to do, and it just wasn’t enough,” said Calvert Hall assistant JR Elliott. “The flow of the game is always so tough to adjust to when you’re not converting in areas where you need to convert.”
Dubois said Friday’s title was about his senior teammates.
“It was one last ride, and they were my mentors,” said Dubois. “Hopefully we get the ‘ship next year, recruit some guys. All thanks to our seniors and our team.”