Greenwich beats Fairfield Prep for sixth straight state rugby championship
The players on the Greenwich High rugby team didn't mind at all there was no trophy to hoist after winning their sixth-consecutive state championship, a 33-14 decision over Fairfield Prep Tuesday in the Division I final at Fairfield Ludlowe.
It seems the wife of coach Joe Kelly decided to leave the hardware home, either because of her supreme confidence in a GHS victory or her "premonition" that the Cardinals would prevail. Whatever the case, had the Prep comeback from a 26-0 halftime deficit gained any more strength, "Mrs. Coach," as Kelly calls her, would have had some serious explaining to do.
"We wanted to bring it, but my wife had a premonition and said to leave it home," Kelly said. "I think maybe Prep found out at halftime that there was no trophy here, and it might have (fueled the comeback). I think the rugby gods were punishing us with that comeback for being a little too cocky."
Greenwich appeared on its way to another romp until the Jesuits rallied after halftime.
"We could have cashed it in but we didn't," Prep coach Frank Decker said. "We made mistakes in the first half but we won the second half so I can't be more proud."
Greenwich dominated the opening half as McMurray and Kelly Jr. each scored twice, and Mateo Galland made three of four conversion kicks for a 26-0 lead.
"In my mind, in the first half the game basically concluded," Kelly Sr., said. "We played great. But Prep is improved since the last time we played them (a 46-14 Greenwich victory), and we weren't aware of that."
After Prep (4-3-1) got back in the game on tries by Matt Montani and Chris Golger and two conversion kicks by Connor Ward, the Cards regained their footing and put the game away. McMurray's third try with one minute remaining completed the scoring.
"In the first half we capitalized on out opportunities," McMurray said. "Then when they got those two scores we responded and took it in again."
It was a familiar ending for the Jesuits who are used to watching Greenwich hoist the trophy ... even if they didn't see that last night.
"For as long as the tournament has been going on, it always seems to come down to Greenwich and Fairfield Prep," Decker said. "We played well but they're such a good team and so well-coached. My congratulations go to Greenwich."