WESTERVILLE — With the wind in its face during the second half and needing a big play, Brunswick’s rugby team got it Saturday afternoon.
The Blue Devils recorded an insurance score with 10 minutes remaining and used stingy defense to defeat Springfield 28-14 and clinch the club’s first Division II state championship.
After the Reapers scored just before halftime and cut the lead to 21-14 with 22 minutes left, Brunswick’s Tommy Knuff slammed the door after two big plays by teammates Brent Janik and Logan Pratts.
Janik sent the ball deep and Pratts followed the play before forcing a fumble. Knuff picked up the pieces, as the sophomore barreled by three defenders to put the Blue Devils up 28-14.
The back four of Dylan Rief, Joey Webster, Cody Pratts and Nick Altman then made the lead stand up.
“Just when it seemed like all our momentum was gone — the wind in our face and we were being pushed around — they found a way,” said Brunswick coach Brian Williams, whose program is in its second year of existence. “They made a play. They stuck together.”
Early on, the Blue Devils took advantage of the wind, as senior Danny Stepp ran in for the game’s first try after a Janik punt. Triston Wasil made the conversion kick.
Five minutes later, Janik again gave Brunswick favorable field position, setting up a Garrick Koermer try from 10 meters out to make it 14-0.
The Blue Devils saw their lead balloon to 21-0 with 4 minutes left in the opening half after some power running by Austin Monyak, Dan Roginsky and Jake Roginsky, who set up Andrew Videgar’s feed to Koermer again before Springfield attempted to rally.
“It has been a blessing in my life to get the opportunity to be a part of this team,” Williams said. “I told the boys before the game that a lot of people were counting on us for this game. They promised me they would not disappoint.
“This class is such a special class. Think of all they have been through. Nothing can rattle this group of kids.”
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.