With a 29-24 victory over a highly decorated Brother Rice team, the Chiefs co-op rugby team are crowned the 2014 State Champions in the Illinois Youth Rugby Association (IYRA) Division 1 High School Boys Final Match. The number 2 seed Chiefs (8-1) defeated the number 1 seed in the final match of a full day of youth rugby at the IYRA State Rugby Championship Series, held on Memorial Day in Loves Park, Illinois.
The determined Chiefs squad scored first and never trailed, but persistent Brother Rice never conceded. The Chiefs led 7-5 when play was stopped due to severe weather. The Chiefs scored twice more in the first half to take a 19-5 lead into halftime. The opponents traded scores to start the second half and the Chiefs appeared to put the game away 29-12. Brother Rice answered with two late scores to narrow the lead to 29-24, where the match ended.
Chiefs’ scoring included two tries, worth 5 points each, by Andrew Kallas (WVHS junior), and additional tries by Austin Golden (OHS Senior), Keagan Griffin (OEHS Senior) and Griffin Lawrence (OHS Senior). Kallas also connected on two conversion after try kicks, worth 2 points each.
The club's last Championship came in 2009 at the IYRA Division 2 level. This year's seniors have had State playoff experience after finishing 3rd at the freshman/sophomore level in 2012.
"Our seniors set the State Championship as the team's goal for 2014 and they earned the right to play today," said Bryce Elliott, the Chief's head coach and native New Zealander. "We knew that Brother Rice had an excellent team and that we would need to play our best match of the season to compete. I am proud of all of our boys, starters and reserves alike, for their accomplishments and thankful to our parents, coaches, and fans for their support."
The Chiefs are a co-op team, comprised primarily of players from four area high schools; Waubonsie Valley, Metea Valley, Oswego, and Oswego East, with additional players from Aurora Central Catholic, Neuqua Valley, and Yorkville. The Chiefs also field a Division 2 varsity team, a junior varsity team, a freshman/sophomore team, and a Middle School co-ed team, the Ospreys. New players are always welcome, there are absolutely no size restrictions or requirements, and no experience is necessary. Additional information is available on Facebook Chiefs Rugby Club, on Twitter @ChiefsRFC, or online at www.wvrfc.com.