In 2007 the MIAA became the first high school athletic governing body in America to sanction rugby as a varsity sport and 2016 marked the 10th Anniversary of that milestone.
Leading the celebration are the Loyola Dons, who defeated Archbishop Spalding, 15-14, Friday night at Mount St. Joseph, to capture their second straight league title and fifth overall.
The Dons had routed the Cavaliers earlier in the season, but this game, contested in a steady rain, was much closer. Loyola pressured the Spalding side of the field for most of the first half, but the Cavaliers’ stout defense and gritty rucking only allowed the Dons to manage a 5-0 lead at the half.
The second half saw a more scoring, with Loyola’s Justin Delcher scoring with a driving 5-meter line-out and Life University bound Marc DeCesare converting to make the score 12-0. Spalding surged back with flawless offensive rucking and ground in a try and conversion to bring the score to 12-7.
As the clock kept rolling, Loyola capitalized on a Spalding penalty and put three more on the board, making it a two-score game with just minutes remaining. The Cavaliers scored from the ensuing kickoff as time ran out, but fell one point short.