BE Rugby team ends 2018 season, falls to Wando 22-7
Following a team prayer behind the bleachers, Bishop England’s “band of brothers” took the field vs. Wando on May 12 in classic international rugby final format. Head coaches Keith Bayer and Steve Evangelista led their respective D2 players into the BE stadium for full team line-ups and the National Anthem.
Earlier that day, coach Bayer, along with assistant coaches Matthew Loveland (Citadel class of 2018) and Baron Christopher Hanson, hosted Bishop England Rugby’s annual tie and blazer lunch at Dockery’s on Daniel Island.
On the field that evening, UK-born captain Jack Tessier led the tireless and ever-present wrestler CJ Hand, with solid running and tackling by prop Branden Baltimore and center/flyhalf Carter Kilgore. Stealthy second row Alex Wojcik and flanker Andrew Woodlief pilfered loose balls, tackled fiercely, and fought hard winning lineouts in the air.
However, the men in green lost scrum half Zach Pace in the first five minutes due to arm soreness. Powerhouse winger Jack Graves sustained a hand injury near halftime. The Bishops could not seem to move the ball in open play as well as Wando. Monster prop forward Jaylen Stoney was continually held up in the maul and penalized for offside tackles. Big eightman Daniel Hollister, who played hard charging rugby all season, earned a yellow card late in the match for NFL-style tackling. Rugby rules, running, and passing are often a challenge for American football players to “unlearn” during spring rugby season.
Bishop England hooker Beckett Rice applied brilliant technical rugby skills all evening long, throwing clean lineout balls, and winning both offensive and defensive scrums with his feet. The man, myth, and wrestling legend known only as “Spidermon” tackled, ran, and kept running like a man on a mission, as did outside center Harry “4.0” Lee. Prop forward Jaquan “The Hammer” Brown and fullback Cole “Road Runner” Jones –– both suffering from slight ankle and shoulder pains respectively –– each ran the rugby ball strongly and refused to leave the match or their boys.
Bishop England’s 20-man team stood up gallantly to Wando’s 100-player army of B-side and A-side players, according to assistant coach Hanson. Wando strategically off-loaded, loop passed, kicked and chased, and ultimately caught the rugby ball in the air (before it bounced) more skillfully and consistently, setting up four breakaway Wando tries to Bishop England’s early one. Captain Jack converted the only kick.
A Wando Rugby coach remarked after the match: “Your Bishop England boys really played their hearts out tonight… they brought it all, and left it all on this pitch… Well played, Bishops.”
BE parent Craig Kilgore said: “Everything about rugby is classy and high character… You [BE coaches] did a great job with those boys, looking after them, being mentors, and motivating our boys… which is something they’ll never forget.”
A tearful end to a successful winter and spring of rugby –– and a four-year high school career –– Bishop England Rugby’s graduating seniors will now set their sights, leadership, intellect, and confidence on attending such campuses as The Citadel, University of South Carolina, Clemson, William and Mary, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Queens College, and University of Kentucky, among others.
Spring rugby at Bishop England begins late December for Spring-2019. All BE gentlemen and scholars are encouraged to attend rugby interest meetings, match video BBQs, and light training sessions. Find Bishop England Rugby on Facebook for details. Game intensity practices are held every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30 to 5:45 p.m. at the BE lacrosse fields or outside the BE track. Proper rugby cleats, mouthguard, attire, CIPP registration, and league dues are required. BE Rugby matches are held on Friday or Saturday evenings during spring semester only. All players from other sports are welcome to tryout.