The Katy Barbarians Rugby Football Club U19 squad enjoyed another successful season in 2010, finishing 3rd at the National High School rugby championships. Katy is a perennial powerhouse in the Texas high school rugby and last year’s squad was one of the strongest they have fielded over the past few seasons.
The Barbarians took the state club title by defeating the Woodlands 15-13, then repeating the feat with an impressive 41-5 win over the same team at the Western RFU championships. Katy defeated the Westerville Worms 22-15 in the first round of the national championships, before succumbing to eventual champion Utah United 41-6 in the semi-finals. The Barbarians bounced back with a thrilling 20-19 victory over a massive Belmont Shore team. “We were down 19-3 at halftime, and considered the underdogs, with no chance of upset” said head coach Neil Doherty. Katy refused to quit and their efforts led to an amazing comeback and the 3rd place finish. According to Doherty the tournament experience was an amazing one, “It was like being back in Ireland, the quality of play, the commitment of the players, coaches and organizers was world class”
The Barbarians were led throughout the season by a group of high-quality seniors. Will Middleton, Fernando Assing, Felipe Campodonico, Reilly Mason, Liam O’Donnell all made major contributions throughout the season. Middleton, Assing, Mason, and O’Donnell went on to represent Texas. As members of the U19 Texas Select squad, they were part of the championship team that beat Utah 7-5 in this year’s Rocky Mountain Challenge tournament held in June in Denver, CO.
Despite all the high level opposition, Coach Doherty said that the toughest match of the season was the Houston City Cup championship game against long-time rival St. Thomas. “It comes early in the season, the rivalry is intense, the hits are huge as both teams play their hearts out to the last second,” said Doherty. The last three results were decided by a score, and everyone expects another close match this season.
Katy has a number of key players returning with which Doherty believes the Barbarians will maintain the winning tradition. Jason Devilliers, Danny O’Donnell, Irving Cruz, Nick Adourian, and Tyler Norris will all be instrumental in the rebuilding process. “We graduated 21 players from our U19 squad,” stated Doherty, “We are fortunate to have players who have been with us since they were 12, so thankfully, we are covered in some key positions”. This is the kind of statement that has opponents from around Texas frowning at the thought of having to face another powerful Barbarian squad in 2011.