Pendleton Rugby opens high school season with dominant wins


PENDLETON — An early season contest between Pendleton and the Westside Black Swarm — a rematch of last year’s double-overtime, sudden-death, penalty-kick-decided championship — failed to live up to the 2023 hype.

The Arabians defeated the Black Swarm on the road 69-3 to open up the Indiana High School portion of their schedule.

Sam Rhea began the Pendleton scoring blitz at the five-minute mark. The score was set up after a Nick Trout takeaway and Peyton Pollock to Zane Davis run.

An impact tackle from Dresden Roberts that the referee deemed card-worthy sent Roberts off and forced the Arabians to play down a man for the next seven minutes.

Westside ran four phases that resulted in lost yardage on each attempt. The pressure soon resulted in a contested ruck and a Pollock steal and assist to JJ Kissick for a short try. The score led to a 14-0 early Pendleton lead.

The next kickoff led to an eventual Arabian lineout.

At the breakdown, Rhea used his left foot for another impressive territory-gaining box kick. The ensuing attack from the Swarm was immediately thwarted by a Davis and Eli Libler double-tackle and a steal, again, from Pollock who found Nate DeRolf.

DeRolf was tackled, and a trailing Trout took the ball and found speedster Jacob Rowley for the third score of the first quarter of the match.

Trout’s third conversion made the score 21-0 with 12 minutes left in the half.

Two phases later, an errant pass by the Black Swarm led to a Trout takeaway, but the pass from contact turned the ball back to the Swarm, and to a tackle situation where Kissick again took the ball this time resulting in a Westside penalty.

After several back-and-forth phases, Pendleton was awarded a penalty and chose to kick for points.

What looked like a good kick was not and was returned out of the goal, turned over, and scored by Kissick for the try.

The conversion was unsuccessful, and the Arabians led 26-0 with six minutes remaining in the half.

The Arabians committed two penalties after the kickoff but continued to take the ball.

DeRolf found Reese Reddington who found Trout who stepped a defender and while getting tackled found a wrapping Reddington for an easy score. The easy conversion made it 33-0.

The following kick saw a strong run from Pollock and Steven DeVault. Trout found an open area to kick to, and Rowley tackled the returner, leading to a Garrett Pederson steal and run and try.

The converted try made it 40-0 with only moments remaining in the first half.

Pederson forced another Swarm turnover that ended up in Trout’s hands. He eventually found Rowley for his second score of the day. The converted try made it 47-0 at halftime.

An Isaac Wilson score made things 54-0 early in the second half before another Trout score pushed the lead to 59-3.

Elijah Pimental capped off the scoring for the Pendleton Rugby Club High School Boys.

On Saturday, the Arabians faced off at home against Penn High School. They continued the dominant start to the season, winning 50-5.

Scores came from Wilson, McKinley, Rowley, Pollock, Trout and Eli Arthur.

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