Pelham HS Alumni Rugby Win New York 7s Plate Final

New York 7s & Pelham HS Alumni

The article is by Ski Bailey, a coach of Pelham HS & who also coaches the flag and u12 and u14 programs.
On Saturday, November 25, 2017, the first Pelham High School Alumni team took part in the famous NY7s tournament in New York City. The team was formed of freshman, sophomores and one senior in college.
University of Delaware freshman Luke Persanis began to organize the Pelham High School Alumni team on the Wednesday before the tournament with the roster being finalized on the day before the tournament. 
Pelham H.S.Alumni finished the day 3-1 winning the Plate in the College Division of the tournament beating 7’s powerhouse Stony Brook University in the final.
Pelham looked pretty rusty in its first pool game losing to New Blue, but then seemed to remember how to play together in their second pool game beating Malloy College by a substantial amount. Their play continued in the semi-final where they won big again.

New York 7s Plate Final

In the Plate Final, Pelham faced the perennial 7s powerhouse Stony Brook University, which was coached by 7’s legend Jerry Mirro.
At that point, the team of friends from high school, with only 1 senior, 6 juniors, and 5 freshmen may have thought it had been a good day making it to the plate final, but there are some good college players and former high school standouts on the Pelham team. Despite being young. Pelham came out to win and would not be intimidated.
Pelham kicked off and Stony Brook gathered the kickoff. After a few phases, a strong tackle by Pelham’s Steve Ramos forced a knock on. After the ensuing scrum, Pelham’s captain and scrumhalf Luke Persanis took the ball out of the scrum and ran down the sideline for a 40 yd opening try, however, Persanis missed the conversion from the corner.
The next few minutes looked to belong to Stony Brook. The kickoff was recovered by Pelham, but the kick was ruled to have not traveled a full 10 meters. This was a pretty controversial call since there were no lines on the field and the entire crowd seemed to think Pelham had recovered its own kickoff.
Off the quick tap free kick, Stony Brook worked the ball back and forth sending wave after wave of attack at Pelham. They moved the ball slowly forward until a Stony Brook player faked a pass and cut inside, but was caught. Unfortunately for Pelham, he dragged two players with him leaving a player unmarked out wide, and a smart skip pass from Stony Brook sent the winger away.
In another controversial call, the referee awarded the try only to have the Assistant Referee come on the field claiming it was a double movement. After conversing, the try was awarded, but Stony Brook missed the kick and the match was tied 5-5.
Stony Brook kicked off and Pelham looked to be back on the attack, unfortunately, a missed pass went to ground and was recovered by a Stony Brook player. After two phases of play, Stony Brook found a mismatch they liked out wide and exploited it for a try in the corner. Pelham ‘s defense did force the try in the corner, which would prove to be important as Stony Brook missed the conversion, giving Stony Brook a 10-5 lead.
Stony Brook looked to be in control, but with just a minute left in the half, Stony Brook kicked deep to the middle of the field. Pelham’s Luke Persanis fielded the kick, stepped left and took off right, drawing two defenders. Persanis passed to a streaking Justin Johnson, who sprinted past the Stony Brook sweeper to score in the middle. Persanis made the conversion and Pelham went into halftime up 12-10.
After the break, Pelham worked a power try by using the strong running of Kevin Ndou and North Westall to set up a try by Julian Johnson. Persanis converted the try to make it a 19-5 lead for Pelham.
Cian Burns came on to replace North Westall and provided the spark they were looking for.  On the kickoff, Pelham’s Moriyah Tulloch made a jarring tackle causing the ball to come loose. It was picked up by Burns and Pelham used fast hands to get the ball to speedster Justin Johnson, who scored again. Persanis made the conversion giving Pelham a 26-10 lead.
With 3 minutes left, Pelham went to the bench bringing on forwards Thiboud Lafour, David Monaco, and Norbert Deak. All were strong defenders and Pelham held Stony Brook out until the last play of the game. Stony Brook worked a well-planned play to score in the corner, missing the conversion, to give Pelham the 26-15 win. Speed, handling and kicking conversions were the difference in the game.

Pelham HS Alumni

  • Luke Persanis (c) University of Delaware (freshman)
  • North Westall St Bonaventure (sophomore)
  • Kevin Ndou- Penn St (sophomore)
  • Justin Johnson- Lafayette (sophomore)
  • Moriyah Tulloch Canisius college (sophomore)
  • Cian Burns- Albany University (sophomore)
  • Julian Johnson- Dartmouth (senior)
  • Thiboud Lafour- Westchester Community College (freshman)
  • Norbert Deak WCCC (freshman)
  • Steve Ramos- WCCC (freshman)
  • Jake Galiani- University of Delaware (sophomore)
  • David Monaco- Fordham University (freshman)
  • Coaches: Keith Killeen and SKi Bailey.

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