Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Wando rugby kept its perfect season intact with a dominant 48-5 playoff-opening win over Chapin Saturday in Mount Pleasant.
It’s the second time in two weeks Wando, ranked No. 21 in the nation, has defeated the three-time defending state champions.
Wando controlled the outside from the start with tries from Andrew Mulvany, Nick Hamlin, Jon Cummins and Sam Huthwaite from out wide.
“At practice, we focused on quick rucks and spinning the ball wide to our speedsters,” Wando head coach Tod Shepherd said. “Right from the opening whistle, the boys executed the plan. We dominated possession and play throughout the game.”
After Wando established control on the outside, Austin Clark pounded two tries inside off set plays, one in the first half and another in the second, to extend the Warriors’ lead.
Chapin tried to expose the 10-channel in the second half but was repeatedly closed off by Kyle Harbin. Clark and Hamlin both finished with two scores and each contributed to two other scores.
Wando advances to face Greenville in the state championship Saturday at Furman University in Greenville. The Warriors defeated Greenville, 12-7, earlier in the season in what Shepherd described as a “hobknocker of a game.”
Wando B-team defeated Irmo, 14-10, in night’s opener and will face School of the Arts Saturday in the state finals.
Brandon Neasley scored Wando’s first try on a powerful run up the middle to send the Warriors into halftime leading 7-5.
Irmo regained a 10-7 lead in the second half and looked to be in control with time wearing down in the match. With just five minutes to play, Wando freshman Joe Schmidt scooped a loose ball inside the Wando 22-meter line and turned the corner down the left sideline for the breakaway go-ahead score.
“I still don’t know where that fifth gear came from but Joe hit the gas and outpaced everyone to score under the posts,” Shepherd said. “The No. 1 reason we won was Charlie (Van Vilet). His passing was great. His kicking was spot on. But above all, he was fearless. If we had 15 Charlies on the field, we would be the smallest team in history of the universe, but I guarantee we would never lose a game.”