The Canton Maddog rugby team traveled to Chicago Illinois on May 16th to compete in the Midwest DIV Final Four. Canton lost their first match 60-5 against the East Side Banshees. Aaron Traugh scored the only try for Canton. The consolation match was called due to weather.
Head Coach Dan Sturtz said "Today was a tough match against a very good rugby team. I am extremely proud of what our rugby team has done for the past year, especially finishing in the top 4 in the Midwest division IV. Today the men kept playing together as a team regardless of the score, all the way down to the final minute. Making it as far as we did, this is something that all of the players and us coaches can be proud of. A lot of work has gone into our accomplishments, and I would personally like to thank each and every member of this club that has contributed to our success. This is just the beginning of what will be many more years of success for Canton Rugby."
The Stark County Maddogs traveled to Coventry for their last game of the Rugby Ohio DII 2015 Spring season. They battled hard for a full 60 minutes but came up short on the scoreboard, losing by a score of 24-38. Scoring try's for Stark County were Courtlin Nix (McKinley), Josh Archinal (Dover), and Ty Walters (Jackson). Cole Bellinger (Hoover) was able to convert 2 of the 4 conversion kicks. The Maddogs finished their season with a 2-4-1 record.
Head Coach Dan Sturtz said “These young men completed another successful year competing in the NE Ohio Rugby League. All the coaches are very proud of the effort and time every player put in this season during training and all the matches. Although we had expectations this season to reach the playoffs, there is no reason to hang our heads today or for the season. We came out week to week and kept playing rugby as well as improving our team and individual skills. Again, I am very proud of all the players and the parents that have supported the Maddogs all year! To all the seniors, it’s been a pleasure having you on the high school club and wish you the best in all your future plans after graduation. Special thanks to Cole Bellinger and Winter Andrews for captaining the squad this year, you both served your teammates well. To all the underclassmen, we are not done, it will take all of you to carry on the tradition of the Stark County High School Rugby team. Keep your heads up, and keep playing this wonderful sport of rugby!”
The Canton Maddogs hosted the Detroit Tradesmen in the Midwest DIV playoff seeding match this past Saturday. Canton held tough for most of the match, but came up short on a victory, losing by a score of 27-19. Scoring try's for the Maddogs were Scott Hills, Ian Kell, and Tim Donnelly. John McMullen was successful on 2 conversion kicks.
Head Coach Dan Sturtz said "We played stout defense for most of the game, we just had a few lapses and Detroit was able to capitalize and build a lead that we could not overcome. We played til the final whistle, and gave our best effort for the full 80 minutes. It was not a victory for us, but we can keep building on our success's and take momentum into the Final Four next weekend in Chicago."
Captain Kris Carroll said "We did not play our best rugby today. We showed that we could move the ball and score points at times, we showed that we can play rugby with any team in this division. We made our tackles, we supported, we moved the ball, we just let let our defensive guard down a few more times than Detroit did. We have 2 weeks to practice and get better, and be ready to play on May 16th in Chicago."
Canton travels to the Chicago Blaze Rugby facilities in Lemont Illinois on May 16th for a 10:00am semifinal matchup. If they win that first match, they will play in the DIV finals at 5:00pm, with the consolation match kicking off at 4:00.
The Canton Maddog Rugby team slotted themselves in to the Midwest DIV Final Four playoffs in Chicago on May 16th with a victory this past Saturday over the visiting Battle Creek Griffons. This victory made history for the Maddogs, with their first ever Final four appearance in the club 39 years of existence. Canton will host Detroit this coming Saturday at 1:00pm at Weis Park for seeding purposes for the matches on the 16th.
The match with the Griffons started off very physical, and the intensity picked up for each of the 80 minutes of match play. Battle Creek was able to break Canton's defense within the first 10 minutes of the game to take a 5-0 lead. Canton fired back with a lot of ball possession of their own, and were able to squeak out a 3 point penalty kick by Gabe Mullane before halftime, putting the score at the half at 5-3.
The second half started out much like the first ended, with Canton retaining the ball and securing 2 more penalties within kicking range. Mullane was unable to convert either one of those though, leaving the Maddogs behind the Griffons going into the last quarter of the match. Things finally broke free for Canton, and Chris Wright was able to cross the try line and secure a 5 pointer. The conversion attempt failed, but Canton was now up 8-5. It didn't take long for Canton to march right back down the field to get back in scoring position, with solid kicking to touch and field position all game by John McMullen. The Maddogs capitalized on that field position with Eugene Naude touching down for another 5 points. The conversion attempt failed, leaving the score 13-5 in Canton's favor.
After some handling errors for Canton, Battle Creek found themselves with possession deep in their opponents territory, and were able to touch down their second try of the day. The conversion kick failed, and the score was 13-10. Canton mustered up all the energy they had left to play stout defense to the final whistle to secure the victory and their goal of making the trip to Chicago.
Co-captain Chad Menegay said "We made tackles all across the pitch, even a few try-saving ones. We had some smart kicks for territory as well. We fought through adversity today and look forward to battling it out in Chicago for a Midwest DIV title."
Head Coach Dan Sturtz said "We were trailing at halftime, but I told the guys to keep playing together and applying pressure. Battle Creek was a very determined team, and they took advantage of our mistakes when they could. But the second half, the Maddogs came out and executed our game plan, maintained possession of the ball, and capitalized when we were in scoring range. This is the first time this club has made it this far into the playoffs. I am proud of the team, but looking forward to going even further on this post season run."
"A determined team playing with heart can do incredible things" Canton's other Co-captain Kris Carroll stated after the game. "My hat is off to all of my teammates that have been working hard for the last year together to help propel us to this victory today. Everyone left everything out on that field today."
Canton will host Detroit this Saturday in the seeding match, then have a week off before traveling to Chicago's South side for the Final Four.
The Canton Rugby Foundation is pleased to announce the schedule for the 5th annual free, non-contact rugby skills clinic. Our clinic will be hosted at Hall of Fame Fitness center's indoor field on Sunday February 15th and March 1st, from 2-4pm. We encourage all boys and girls in the Stark County area from ages 12 and up to attend this clinic to learn more about the sport of rugby. We will put them through fun, fast paced drills and games, and stress the importance of teamwork in rugby.
Canton Rugby Foundation President and Stark County High School Rugby head coach Dan Sturtz is quoted saying "This is our 5th year doing this for the youth of Stark County. We get new kids every year, and plenty more coming back after the fun they had the previous year. We have sign up sheets for our Middle School teams, and our High School team as well. We have been successful in building our teams by getting the kids started with our free clinic."
Rugby has grown immensely in the US in the past few years. Carlin Isles, a product of Stark County, is a member of the USA Eagles 7's National team, which competes internationally in the World Rugby 7's league. Rugby 7's will be an Olympic sport in Rio in 2016. The USA Eagles 15's team will compete in the Rugby World Cup Tournament this year, and hosted a monumental game in October 2014 where they were defeated by the #1 team in the world, the New Zealand All Blacks by a score of 74-6.
Sturtz said "Rugby has so much popularity now. The Seahawks trained with rugby players to improve their tackling skills. Nate Ebner, a former rugby player who walked on to Ohio State's football team, just won a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots. And with the success and promotion of both USA national teams, rugby is just going to keep growing. It has been said that rugby is the fastest growing sport in America."
"The Canton Rugby Foundation is part of that growth too. We started this free clinic 5 years ago, with less than 20 kids. Last year, we had around 80. This year, we are expecting over 100. And we welcome the growth. Our club now has 7 coaches who have been certified by USA Rugby. Plus we have veterans from the Canton Maddogs who help in running the games and drills. The kids that run through this clinic have lots of fun, and they come out better rugby players. Who knows, we may be training the next Isles or Ebner in our upcoming clinic."
The Canton Maddogs improved their Midwest DIV league record to 6-0, with a 39-10 win over North Central West Virginia this past Saturday. Scoring Try’s for Canton were Aaron Traugh, Mike Pitcher, Anthony Wilkens, Andrew Hopwood, Pete Sweitzer, Ryan Moton and Tim Donnelly. 2 conversion kicks were made by John McMullan.
Head Coach Dan Strutz said “Another good team effort with 7 different players scoring today. Although this was not our best performance, the guys pulled out another win. We must learn from our mistakes and finish this season out exactly how we started, moving forward with constant pressure on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. We have two more league games left, it’s time for the Canton Maddogs to finish their 2014 season strong and cap off another great year of rugby.”
Canton travels to Columbus to take on the Coyotes this coming Saturday, kickoff is slated for 1:00pm.
The Canton Maddogs hosted Greensburg RFC this past saturday in Midwest DIV league action. Canton came away with a 34-5 victory. Scoring trys for the Maddogs were Chris Wright (2), Andrew Hopwood, Will Walmsley, Matt Carmany, and John McMullen. McMullen and Walmsley also converted one kick each.
Head Coach Dan Sturtz said “Our weeks of training and conditioning paid off for us today as we put pressure on both sides of the ball the entire match. It was a great way to start off league competition. The Maddogs played as a team today and had constant support for one another the entire 80 minutes. Now it’s time to use this momentum to move forward each week on our way to the DIV league title.”
Captain Kris Karroll stated "These guys played their hearts out today and we came out with a great win against a good team. Now we focus on keeping this attitude and momentum going forward as we travel to WV next week."
Canton travels to North Central West Virginia RFC this coming Saturday for their second league match of the fall season. Kickoff is slated for 1:00pm in Fairmont WV.
High School Rugby Updates
The Canton Rugby Foundation is pleased to announce the upcoming schedule for the Stark County High School team. The team is comprised of players from high schools all over the county, including Lake, Hoover, Perry, GlenOak, Jackson and Dover. They will be playing in Ohio Division IIAA Cleveland South Region, which culminates at the end of the season with a state tournament for all Ohio schools in Division II.
The Maddogs will host Copley March 30th at 1:00pm, Brunswick on April 5th at 12:00pm, Coventry on April 19th at 12:00pm, and St Ignatius on May 2nd at 7:00pm. They will travel to play Hudson April 13th at 1:00pm, to Revere on April 27th at 1:00pm, to Coventry April 30th at 6:00pm, and to Strongsville on May 9th for a 5:00pm match. All home games are held at Weis Park.