Aspetuck Valley Rugby’s high school level team’s last game of the season, and a chance at the state playoffs, was bittersweet on Saturday. The team played a hard-fought game in both attack and defense, but had to endure some questionable calls in a 24-21 loss to Fairfield Prep.
Aspetuck’s first try was initiated when Weston’s Max Carroll chipped the ball over the heads of the opposition and rushed ahead to put his players onside. Christian Huribal was the first to pick up the bouncing ball, crashing a tackle and distributing to outside center Luke Preston who raced to the line for a successful try to the right of the posts making Carroll’s kicking job relatively easy.
Its second try came from Redding’s Zach Raposo, who charged ahead on the wing to scoop up a bounced ball kicked on the run 30 yards diagonally across field by Carroll, enabling the former to take his opposition off guard and score under the post. The try was successful, converted by Carroll with a direct in front kick.
As the result of a well-drilled backline move Luke Preston claimed his second try of the game with a dive to the corner post bringing the score to 21-19 in favor Aspetuck. Presented with a very challenging sideline kick, Carroll regained his composure, placed the kicking tee with ball atop and lined up his target. The ball sailed straight through the uprights, floating an extra 20 yards.
Needing only one more try to claim a bonus point, Aspetuck’s job became a lot harder. Ryan Robb started with a run to the line, offloaded to Carroll, who took the tackle which led to multiple line drives by the aggressive forward pack. Stalled at the line, an opportunity was seized by scrum-half Scott Dineen, who picked the ball from the back of the ruck and pounced over for a try. Unfortunately the referee was ill-placed to see the action and disallowed Dineen’s efforts.
With only about ten minutes left in the game an awarded try meant that Aspetuck would have clearly won the game and possibly progressed to the state playoffs in its first season as a high school team. What seemed an eternity, and evidently was by the referee’s watch, the extra minutes allowed Prep to take advantage of an Aspetuck knock on to charge the visiting team for the line and score in the extended dying seconds. Even without making the kick the home team managed to quash Aspetuck’s playoff hopes.
For more information on Aspetuck Valley Rugby visit the website at www.AspetuckValleyRugby.org.