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St. Thomas of Houston, in the first year where winning the Rugby Texas championship is the postseason highest honor, looks to be on pace to win State. The Eagles are 5-0 and have conceded just three points, just one penalty kick, so far.
Ask St. Thomas coach Brett Mills last week if that would continue, and he probably wouldn’t have said yes, because Friday the Eagles played Dallas Jesuit, another highly decorated varsity program that usually stands toe-to-toe with St. Thomas.
Jesuit and St. Thomas both started varsity programs in 1999, and they’re Catholic schools in Texas’ two metropolises.
“To add to the religious element, it’s two different orders,” said Mills. “The Jesuits are obviously very famous, and for the Basilian order, which is what St. Thomas is, their fiercest rival is the Jesuits. Add that on top of it and it’s really fascinating.”
St. Thomas blanked Jesuit 48-0 Friday.
“In the entire history of that rivalry, this is the biggest win we’ve had against them,” said Mills.
“It was probably the best game we’ve played in the last two years. We played some pretty good ball.
“The forwards came to play. We probably took at least eight or nine against the head in the scrums. We did real well in the lineout, and as far as being in our end, I think maybe once the whole game. Our defense played some pretty serious ball Friday night.”
The win caught the eye of numerous St. Thomas community members.
“We do a major fundraiser every year at St. Thomas because we scholarship a lot of kids whoa re not able to afford tuition at St. Thomas. And I must have been stopped by 50 people that were not rugby people but were all talking about the win against Jesuit. It was huge for us. They were thrilled. Any time you get a win against a Jesuit school’s a big deal for us.”
St. Thomas will get another shot at beating Jesuit schools on its spring tour beginning March 18, when the Eagles take on Gonzaga (DC) in Philadelphia and March 20 when St. Thomas plays Xavier (NY).
The Eagles were unable to participate in USA Rugby’s High School Invitational, because of commencement, so outside of winning a Texas state championship, playing well on the spring tour would be the highlight of their season.