On the second cold and wet weekend of a two week homestand, Southern Pines Men’s Rugby trounced Charleston 105-0. The loss all but secured Charleston will be regulated down a division next season, and puts Southern Pines in prime position to win the division after a slow start to the season.
Overall, the team scored 17 tries over the course of 80 minutes. The team will be off for a couple weeks and then finish the regular season on the road at Tobacco Road and a division title bout with Charlotte on March 30.
The rain held off until the second half, but the wind and cold did not hamper the Big Cones as Chris Skinner set the tone four minutes into the match with a try off a Zach Miller boot. Rod Bonner scored nine minutes later, the longest drought of the match, followed by two tries by Jay White.
Emerson Bessell add his first of the match as did Ashton Levarek and Zach Miller to bring the score to 43-0 at half time. Charleston offered little resistance to powerful running and precise passing.
The second half saw another 62 points scored on a hapless Charleston, and it could have been worse, but Southern Pines started sending the ball back to Charleston through kicks with 20 minutes left in the half to get some defensive practice in.
Graham Shellenberger opened up the second half with a try in the corner, the following kick off was brought back for a try by Jeramy McCarty, and then Zach Miller added two more tries. Emerson Bessell added his second try of the day off another kick off return.
Brandon Reamers added a try off a lineout and long run, and Ashton Levarek dotted down his second of the day. Mike Goering added a try off a lineout when he took off 30 meters when the defense of line opened in front of him anticipating a pass. Graham Shellenberger added a second try, and Adam Smith finished the match with a try to bring the final score to 105-0.
The Southern Pines old boys played a friendly with New Bern after the match in preparation for their annual trip to the Savannah Rugby Tournament. They fell 21-26, but everyone was in good shape and spirits after the runaround.
Four Southern Pines players will make the trip to Vegas this weekend to play in the Las Vegas Invitational with the Carolina Selects 7s. The team is looking forward to a successful rest of the season and a run at a national title.
Youth rugby kicks off, and new middle and high school players are needed. Visit www.southernpinesrugby.org for more information.
Written by Sandhills Sentinel contributor Robert Bortins.