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Doylestown Rugby teams win state titles


The Doylestown Rugby Academy junior team (eighth and ninth grade) defeated La Salle College High School for the RugbyPA Junior State Championship Sunday, May 19 at Penn State Berks Rugby stadium.

Gavin Graham started the scoring for Doylestown in the opening minute when he busted a long run right up the middle and through the La Salle defense. The Dragons followed up with first half tries by Chris Imperato, Davis Parisi and Nick Miletto. All tries were converted by Jamie Weir’s golden boot to stake a 28-0 lead. La Salle ran in a try at the halftime whistle to make the score 28-5 at the break.

The highlight of the first half was the Dragons’ defense. La Salle tried to break the line many times, but were constantly driven backwards by the Dragons’ low and hard tackling technique. The coaches’ message at halftime was to stick to the game plan and to keep tackling.

Doylestown came out and punched in two more tries by Louie Cipollo and Weir, with Weir once again converting both. The scoreline now showed 42-5 and victory was in sight. La Salle was able to score two tries in the last two minutes, but the match and the state championship were won by the Doylestown Dragons 42-15.

Try scorers for Doylestown were: Graham (one), Imperato (one), Parisi (one), Miletto (one), Cipollo (one) and Weir (one). Weir kicked six conversions. La Salle scored three unconverted tries.

This is the fourth straight undefeated season and state championship for the ninth graders on the team. Doylestown recorded a perfect 9-0 record and outscored their opponents 632-71 on the season. Doylestown now moves on to summer 7s rugby where it will play in numerous tournaments across the state.

On May 19, the Doylestown Rugby Academy youth team traveled to Reading to play Blackthorn Youth Rugby in the RugbyPA Youth State Championship match at Penn State Berks Stadium.

The Young Dragons had previously defeated the Blackthorn youth team in league play this season. Any thoughts that this would be the same result as the last time they played each other were quickly nullified when Blackthorn’s forward pack slowly moved the ball downfield for the first score of the game. The conversion kick was good and the Young Dragons found themselves in a familiar situation ... behind in the score, 0-7.

It was clear to the Young Dragons at this point that the Blackthorn team was rejuvenated and was intent on showing Doylestown how to win the state title. However, Doylestown responded by working the ball down the field, with both backs and forwards moving the ball into Blackthorn territory.

Finally, the Young Dragons were able to pass the ball wide to their swift and shifty center, Jonah Khanan, who scored in the corner of the field. The conversion kick by Conor Cassidy evened the score just before halftime, making the game, 7-7, at the break.

In the second half, Blackthorn continued to dominate the time of possession in the game, as it appeared content to move the ball at a snail’s pace, covering only 10 yards in total, at times, but possessing the ball for eight to 10 minutes at a time. More than once, Blackthorn threatened to break the goal line for a score, but were repelled by the ferocious Doylestown Youth defense. Many onlookers in the crowd began questioning if either team would score as the clock ticked toward full time at the 50th minute.

Finally, a breakthrough happened for the Young Dragons as Blackthorn was penalized for an obstruction. Then, Blackthorn was penalized again for offsides. The Dragons were content with just kicking the ball out of bounds on a penalty and then winning the lineout that followed. However, with just one and one-half minutes remaining and Doylestown working the ball down the field, the Young Dragons saw how Blackthorn’s outside backline players were bunched toward the middle and therefore not covering the outside. Doylestown’s backs demanded a wide ball pass be made.

Finally, the Young Dragons were once again able to use their passing skills to get the ball to their danger man – Khanan. Once Khanan received the pass, he ran toward the far corner of the field toward the try zone. Blackthorn recognized this (a little too late) and scrambled its best defense to try to thwart the “flying Dragon.” Khanan, however, won the foot race and emphatically touched the ball in the try zone for the deciding score of the game.

Another Conor Cassidy conversion kick would guarantee the Young Dragons not only the victory, but a RugbyPA Youth State Championship.

Khanan scored both tries for Doylestown and Cassidy was successful on both conversions. Blackthorn had one converted try.

For more information about Doylestown Rugby Football Club, go to

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