Pelham rugby falls to national No. 3 Xavier in state championship final

Pelicans handed with the second place trophy.

The PMHS rugby team was defeated by national No. 3 Xavier 46-0 in the Division 1 Tier 1 state championship final on Sunday. Pelham ended its season with a final record of 11-2, both losses coming against Xavier.

Pelham played a hard-fought game, but could not overcome the Knight’s physicality, overpowering offense and strong defense. Star players for the Pelicans included seniors Liam Bruckner and Mike Sample and junior Erik Fontanella, who also contributed big in the 50-19 win over Kenmore High School in the state semifinal that sent the team to the championship game.

“We had a very good season, we beat everyone but one team,” said head coach Matt Persanis. “That one team happens to be number three in the nation. I was proud of the way the team played, and I expect to be better next year with so many returning juniors and upcoming sophomores. I think the final rankings will have us somewhere in the top 25 in the nation.”

With players such as Fontanella and Asa Mallach returning, few teams will be able to challenge Pelham’s star-studded squad.