Humboldt State

Jacks lose a close one in exciting playoff showdown

Submitted photo – The HSU men’s rugby team in action in Vallejo on Saturday.

The Humboldt State men’s rugby team came up just short in its bid for a place in this year’s final four of small schools rugby on Saturday.

The Lumberjacks suffered a heartbreaking 21-20 loss to New Mexico Tech in a thrilling playoff showdown at Vallejo.

The game was a back-and-forth affair that wasn’t decided until the final seconds.

With the Jacks trailing 18-15, forward Latu Kolopeaua scored a try with just three minutes remaining to give them a 20-18 lead.

Unfortunately, however, HSU missed the conversion kick and New Mexico Tech would answer with a game-winning penalty kick with just 30 seconds on the clock to hand the Jacks a heartbreaking loss.

“We hope to come back stronger from this experience and continue the work of developing our team,” assistant coach Vincent Celotto said. “It wasn’t the desired outcome and we are definitely dejected, but proud of our team for the high level of play they exhibited on the pitch.”

Deshaun Ellis scored a first-half try for HSU and the two teams were tied 10-10 at the break.

The Jacks, however, were unable to take advantage of some scoring opportunities in the second half that might have seen them take control of the game.

The loss ends a brief fall season for the Jacks (3-1), who plan on playing in some tournaments in the spring as well as competing in some 7s competitions.

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