Ryan Rumsey of the Fulton Maroons, left, and Dez Hazle of Penticton’s Princess Margaret Mustangs, battle for the ball in the Valley senior AA boys playoff rugby final Wednesday at Grahame Park. (Lisa Mazurek/Morning Star)

Maroons move to B.C. rugby finals

Fulton 57 Princess Margaret 7 in Okanagan Valley playoff

The Fulton Maroons are going back to the B.C. High School Senior AA Rugby Championships.

The Maroons mauled the Princess Margaret Mustangs of Penticton 57-7 in the Okanagan Valley final Wednesday at Grahame Park. It was Fulton’s second straight Valley title.

Fulton advances to the provincials, May 30-June 2, in Abbotsford. The defending bronze-medalists will play three games in the eight-team AA Tier II tournament over the first two days and then move to the seeded playoff round.

Evan Trottier and Caden Doyle each recorded a pair of tries for the Maroons, while Ryan Rumsey, Ike Olson, Hiro Kaga, Hunter Krieger and Pablo Hurtado also scored. Trottier was 6-for-9 on conversions.

“These guys have gone undefeated in league play for two-consecutive years now and should be commended for a good run,” said Fulton coach Mike Scheller, assisted by Gord Cheyne. “They play a fast and physical game of rugby that can give their opposition trouble. They have been a super group of kids to work with. They come to practice every day and work their tails off, and are fun to be around.”

Despite racking up almost 60 points, Scheller said the Maroons committed lots of handling errors that can be corrected for provincials.

“The number of knock-ons definitely slowed the pace. We also ran ourselves out of position at times. These are simple errors that good teams do not make. On the positive side, we made a lot of nice runs and the players were very unselfish. We had some nice long try runs where multiple players touched the ball. Trottier was dynamite at scrum-half. He was all over the field and he made a lot of very good decisions with the ball. His kicking game is excellent because he spends a ton of his own time working on it.”

Scheller also gave props to flanker Yano Jannssens for his endless hustle and terrific tackling. Winger Hiro Kaga and fullback Ty Cheyne were cited for solid showings in the back, while Dylan Schwagele earned praise at lock.

Meanwhile, the Junior Maroons bowed 34-24 to the Sa-Hali Sabres of Kamloops in Valley quarterfinal play Tuesday at Grahame Park.

Liam Gombrich supplied three tries for Fulton with Quaid Willett adding one. Dom Pederson booted two converts.

“The young Maroons went winless this season, but they were a great group of kids who will only get better,” said Scheller. “They had a lot of Grade 9s who were playing their first year of rugby and ran into some tougher, more experienced competition. Liam Gombrich had a great game with some very punishing runs, while Quaid Willett at flanker also had a great game. He was physical and all over the field tackling.

“Pederson had a very good game at 10; he does not shy away from contact. Sanjot Jammu at prop had a very good season for the Junior Maroons. He was a good presence in the scrum and he added a physical presence to the squad. Ethan Schiman at scrum-half led the team and his knowledge of the game certainly helped this team. Kris Gibson, Jordan Sitko and Diego Ramirez all had solid seasons.”

Scheller says the Juniors were fortunate to have the senior men Jackals and some Fulton alumni help with coaching. Those volunteers included: Kevin Stecyk, Mike Foster, Bryan Cragg, Clay Coles, Garth Cooke, Satchel McDermid and Christian Harpe.

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