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Rugby Texas play begins with a bang Friday night, when defending state High School champions St. Thomas and defending state Club champions The Woodlands meet under the lights at BBVA Compass Stadium following the opening day of Houston 7s play.

Texas has joined their club and single-school teams together in the same competitions this season. The top four high school teams and top four club teams from last year will compete in DI, and there will be DII and JV divisions. So Friday’s match is a league contest.

“Nothing like starting off with a challenge. I don’t know if we’re completely ready,” said St. Thomas coach Jim Wolfinger. “I’d like to be doing this two weeks from now, but that’s not the way it worked out. We’ll see what we have.”

St. Thomas lost 14 seniors off last year’s squad, not all of them starters. “We’re starting over, as we often do,” Wolfinger said.

But not entirely. Keegan Mills is back manning the flyhalf position, and the monstrous Parker White is still in the pack. Both are four-year contributors, seniors and fantastic players. Mills is Lindenwood bound after this year, and White, a standout defensive end, is going to play football at Miami (OH).

Elsewhere in DI, Westlake plays Jesuit Dallas, Katy takes on Strake Jesuit and Alliance faces Plano.