The Yukon boys and girls rugby have reached the midway point of their seasons and they are both having tremendous success on the rugby pitch.
The boys are 4-1-1 overall with a 3-0-1 record in league play. The girls are 2-1 overall and 1-1 in league play.
The Yukon boys are in second-place overall in the league behind Union. Norman and Bixby are in third and fourth-place behind the Millers. Yukon will take on Union in their next regular season match on April 1.
The remaining matches on the Millers’ schedule are Union, Edmond, Bartlesville and Jenks. Only four teams make the postseason.
“We are happy with several things at this point,” Yukon coach Aric Gilliland said. “We are undefeated and sitting in second-place with a shot to move into first when we meet (Tulsa) Union, but we definitely have a lot of work to do. The tie with Bixby and the close call with Norman are not acceptable. They aren’t acceptable because as a team we know we can do better. That being said, I am very proud of the work these boys are doing each week and the way they have responded to adversity in those close matches.
“We had been concerned about the slow starts we were seeing in our first three weeks of the regular season, but the boys seemed to turn that around last week against Broken Arrow. Our fate is in our hands and we have some tough matches coming up. We as coaches will be working hard to help the boys prepare for a difficult rode to the playoffs.”
Here’s a recap of the Yukon boys’ season so far:
-The boys traveled to Stillwater and won 22-3. Yukon started out slow, carrying a 7-3 into half-time but finally opened up the score through a steady domination of the second half.
-Bixby came to Yukon on a Thursday night. This was a very intense and physical match. Yukon gave up a score in the first minute but slowly regained control of the first half carrying a 12-7 lead into half time. The second half was a “knock-down-drag-out”. Both teams maintained a fierce offensive attack and stubborn defenses. Tables seemed to turn in the second half. Bixby scored early in the half to tie the game and again in the final minutes of the game to take a 17-12 lead. As the game neared its end Yukon scored its last try but missed the kick. The game ended in a 17-17 tie.
-A rival matchup (Yukon’s record against Norman is now three wins, two losses and one tie). The previous three meetings between Yukon and Norman have been decided on the last play of the game and this matchup proved to be no different. After a slow start, Yukon gave up a score on the first possession of the game but Yukon Seemed to gain control of the game quickly and carried a nice lead into half time. The second half may have been the most dramatic half of Rugby ever played in Oklahoma High school Rugby. There were four lead changes in the second half. With 11 minutes to play in regulation, Yukon player fly-half Cody Cagle was issued a yellow card and sent off the field for 10 minutes after an incidental high tackle. Yukon played the next 10 minutes down a man but held tough to a three point lead. With two minutes left Norman got its hands on the ball by intercepting a pass at midfield and running it back for the go ahead score of 34-32. There was one minute remaining after the failed conversion and Yukon’s Cagle was allowed back in the game. As time expired, Yukon put together a dynamic drive using a combination of Cagles passing skills, powerful forwards and fast backs to break up the Norman defense. As Yukon was driving deep into Norman Territory, a Norman defender came up with the ball sending it out of bounds and apparently ending the game but a high tackle penalty was called on Norman (the game cannot end on a penalty). Yukon was given the ball for a final play with no time on the clock. With a series of beautiful passes Yukon moved the ball from one edge to the other with the ball ending up in the hands of senior Mitchell Allyn who was able to allude several would be tacklers and drive his way into the try zone to end the game 37-34 in Yukon’s favor.
Standout performance by junior center Eddie Jackson who scored three tries from outside the 50 meter line.
Sophomore Fullback Antonio Washington had a break out game with numerous try saving tackles and explosive running on offense.
-The matchup with Broken Arrow saw Yukon control the entire match. Yukon scored two tries early in the match and one more just before half to carry a 19-0 lead into half time. Many subs were made at half and the younger boys earned valuable experience. Freshman Dylan Hawkins added the final score for the Millers in the closing minutes. Junior fly-half Cody Cagle and senior center Gavin Turner gave the BA defense fits. Cody’s dynamic running and passing skills combined with the strength of Gavin Turner proved to be unstoppable. The Yukon Forwards did an excellent job dominating the Scrums and maintaining possession for the Yukon offense. The final score was 24-5.
The girls have one remaining regular season match against Edmond on April 13 at home. Yukon is currently in second place. The match with Edmond will determine seeding for the four team playoff.
“Our girls are having a great time,” Yukon coach Mike Mason said. “They continue to show tremendous improvement. I’m proud of how the girls played against Broken Arrow. They continued to work on their game as the day went on. BA was able to use their size to their advantage. We look forward to meeting them in the playoffs again this year.”
Here’s a recap of the Yukon girls’ season up to this point:
-Yukon defeated Bixby rather easily with a final score of 45-0. The Yukon girls went into the game confidently and it showed. It didn’t take long for Yukon to demonstrate their relative superior athleticism and skill. The girls dominated the entire match in every aspect. The forwards strength could not be contested and the backs speed was unmatched. Sophomore prop Shandree McNatt scored three tries in the match. Senior center Jade Homme had a break out match scoring on two long runs and Sophomore Meg Morgan demonstrated a high level of skill by picking the defense apart with great vision and feet.
-Broken Arrow is a perennial powerhouse in girls high school rugby. The Yukon girls had no illusion that this match would be easy in any way. BA came to town with a great deal of size and experience. The girls gave BA all they could handle in the first half. The Lady Tigers took a five point lead into half but their size and experience proved too much over the course of the 2nd half. The Yukon defense finally wore down and BA won with a final score of 34-5.