After an extremely productive season, the Elizabethtown Rugby Blues fell short of a state title, narrowly losing to the Kiski Valley Titans 19-15 in the Division 2 semifinals at Cumberland Valley on Saturday, May 19.
It was an extremely tight game in the first half, with both teams struggling to advance the ball downfield. Kiski Valley was finally able to score a try just before halftime, also completing the conversion kick to go up 7-0.
The Titans added two more tries early in the second half, making one conversion kick and missing the other for a 19-0 lead. The Blues slowly battled back, however, first scoring on a try from Hershey senior Braydn Minnich, then on another from Elizabethtown senior Zach McNitt.
Minnich added one more try to put the score at 19-15 with just under six minutes to go. Where the Blues faltered was the conversion kicks; they missed all three of their attempts, though that was mostly because they scored their tries close to the sidelines, making the kicks extremely difficult to make.
Elizabethtown had one final chance for a go-ahead score with around two minutes on the clock. Kiski Valley was able to stop a charge close to the goalline, setting up a scrum that the Blues failed to convert, giving the Titans the victory.
Kiski Valley went on to lose to Hempfield in the championship game 34-5 the following day. The Blues finish the season with a record of 6-2. They’ll lose nine seniors (McNitt, Blake Andrews, Kyle Nutter, Kevin Gamber, and Jeremy Davies from Elizabethtown; Matt Weaver, Braden Barker and Devan Sosnoski from Palmyra; and Minnich from Hershey) to graduation this year, but they will presumably retain a double digit number of underclassmen for next season.
The rugby team will also be hosting a seven’s tournament at their field next to Rheems Elementary School on Saturday,July 7.