Jr. Gents reach state semifinals
The Aspen Times
The Junior Gents passed the opening test in the state prep rugby playoffs.
The Junior Gents, a high school team consisting of rugby players from throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, kicked off the 2014 state playoffs with a rousing 43-5 victory over Wheat Ridge.
“The Wheat Ridge Warriors lived up to their names and battled hard against the Junior Gents team,” coach Gary Williams said, “but a carbon copy start from last week set the tone for the game and another big victory.”
The game started in textbook fashion for the Junior Gents. Captain Matt Williams kicked off accurately, teammate Robert Hiles claimed possession in midair, and the Junior Gents were on the attack.
Olmer Marquez scored the first try after strong running from Martinez and Gonzalez just 5 minutes into the game.
Luke Prosence added another try with Hiles converting after both scores.
After a Wheat Ridge counterattack, Matt Williams darted across for a third try.
Hiles again converted, and the Junior Gents led 21-0 at halftime.
“At the start of the second half, the Juniors set up a superb sequence of … passing and running with Christian Gonzalez driving hard into the defense, ably supported by Dardynski and Wampler,” coach Gary Williams said.
Matt Williams finished the scoring drive with a 30-yard run for a try. The score was his third of the game — and 13th try in six games. The points made him the all-time leading scorer for the Junior Gents.
Jake Gentry scored and Martinez scored again in the second half.
Hiles completed all seven conversions in the 43-5 win.
The victory sends the Junior Gents, a division of the Gentlemen of Aspen rugby club, into the state semifinals in Division 2.
The Junior Gents won the state championship last year.
The Junior Gents will take on Fort Collins in Saturday’s state semifinal, scheduled for the Denver area.
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For Basalt, one of the preseason frontrunners in the Western Slope League, Friday’s loss puts its playoff hopes in jeopardy, while Aspen’s loss to the Bulldogs all but eliminates it from postseason contention.