ABBOTSFORD — Last week, Victoria’s Oak Bay Barbarians turned the 2018 B.C. high school rugby season on its ear by defeating the previously unbeaten, three-time defending B.C. top-tier champion Shawnigan Lake Stags 20-15 in the Vancouver Island AAAA final.
So what do you do for an encore, especially when the pundits predict a lapse and your next match just happens to be the B.C. Quad-A provincial semifinals?
How about fashioning a win that was every bit impressive as its win over the Stags?
“The boys came flying out of the gates and played the way that we know they can,” said Barbs’ head coach Pete Atkinson following a 52-10 victory over North Vancouver’s Carson Graham Eagles. “It was nice to see them not have the nerves.”
Oak Bay scored at such a prodigious pace that if you weren’t a die-hard supporter, you needed a program just to keep up.
Devin Fennerty, Nick Carson, Daniel Franz and Jack Carson all scored tries to make it 24-0 before Mahyar Hosseini and Filip Preda scored for the Eagles to cut it to 24-10.
The rally brought back memories of Oak Bay’s earlier meeting this season with Carson Graham, one which ended up as a 40-22 Barbarians’ win.
“A very similar game to this one today,” said Atkinson. “We came out like a house on fire and led 28-0, but then the foot came off the gas pedal and they scored four tries in the second half. So today, when they scored two in a row, we turned it up again.”
Fennerty with his second try of the game began a string of four unanswered scores to end the game.
“It was nice to sit back and watch the boys call the game,” added Atkinson. “We have a bunch of really confident kids, and they have played together, in school and club, for six or seven years now. When we play together, when we rely on each other, we can really be a force.”
The Barbarians await the winner of Wednesday’s second semifinal between Shawnigan Lake and St. George’s. Friday’s championship final is slated for 5:30 p.m. at Rotary Stadium, and comes in advance of the evneing’s capper, a 7 p.m. match between the B.C. Under 23s and the Canada Under-20s.
Saturday features B.C. titles in AA and AAA, both of the Tier 1 and Tier 2 variety, up for grabs.
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