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Stags Tried by Cadets, Lose 22-20

Sloppy defense by DeMatha, strong kicking by St. Johns sees Stags lose first rugby game of the season.

DeMatha Catholic High School's rugby team lost a nail-biter, falling 22-20 to league rival St. John's College High School yesterday at Heurich Field in Hyattsville.

With DeMatha leading 20-15 with roughly two minutes to go in the game, St. John's College High School senior fullback Dennis Connolly scored a dramatic try, grounding the ball in the far corner of the endzone to tie the game. Cadet senior Christian Quiros made a difficult conversion kick at an extreme angle to bring St. John's ahead 22-20.

"We rucked really well, or for American ears, we retained possession well at certain times," said St. John's rugby coach and proud Australian John France after the game. 

DeMatha rugby coach Matt Kowalewski blamed his team's loss on uncharacteristically poor tackling and defense. 

"The last three games we only allowed 24 points total," said Kowalewski after the game. "Defense is normally something that we're pretty strong at."

He also noted a busy team schedule this week which may have taken its toll. DeMatha beat Archbishop Spaulding 29-17 in a physical away game on Tuesday. 

"It was a little intense," said Kiwalewski. "That really took a lot out out of them."

Quiros' kicking kept St. John's in the game. He made two extra-points conversions and a penalty kick. Zach Prince and Sean Johnson also each scored tries for the Cadets. 

Scoring tries for DeMatha were juniors Alex Johnson, Brandon Shepherd, Yaasseen Ba'th and senior Reggie Flagg. DeMatha did not make any of its extra points conversions. 

St. John's improves to 2-1 on the season. DeMatha drops to 4-1.

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