Phoenix Win Big Over Local Rivals

Friday, Feb. 23, 2018

Updated Friday March 2, 2018 by Niall Fenton.

East Cobb Trojans versus Phoenix Varsity is always a highly anticipated fixture particularly since these two honored teams are the only ones remaining in continuous existence since their first meeting in 2006. On that occasion, then Lassiter Trojans, emerged victorious and it marked the beginning of an intense rivalry resulting in 7 State U19 Championships for Phoenix and 6 for Trojans.

Thus, the two squads met at Walton High School on a perfect Friday night to resume their rivalry in a combined Georgia League/MSIRL contest. Both teams came into the contest undefeated in MSIRL play with Trojans having beaten Knoxville and Phoenix triumphing over both Irmo and Greenville. Phoenix fielded an almost full-strength side for this game and looked to get one hand on an MSIRL playoff place with a win. As former Phoenix star, Campbell Robinson, said to the team before kickoff --- there was everything to play for on the night but most of all, pride in the Phoenix jersey.

The game began with some consistent Phoenix pressure in the Trojan 22. After a number of phases, Phoenix scrum half Logann Cridick deftly spotted a gap on the blind side of the scrum and scampered over for an opportunistic score, converted by Ollie Kennett. Ollie would go on to have a perfect night with the boot, converting all of the Phoenix scores and adding a try of his own. The Alpharetta boys were on full song after the Cridick try and five minutes later center Tim Voin glided over for another score to bring the Phoenix lead to 14 points to zero. The visiting side looked to be in full control and on course for a comfortable win but, inexplicably, lost focus and allowed Trojans back into the game. The latter part of the first half belonged to the home side and it was not long before East Cobb scored in the corner despite a despairing tackle from full back Danny Pena. The conversion was narrowly wide but the score was now a close 14 to 5 and Phoenix looked to be on their heels. Five minutes before half time tempers boiled over and red cards were handed out by the referee to Danny Pena and a Trojans player after a heated scuffle. Phoenix were disappointed but fortunate to take a 14 to 5 lead into the half time break having defended their line with great tackles for the prior 15 minutes.

No doubt motivated by clear words from coach Buster Kennett at half time, the Alpharetta squad got their rhythm back early in the second half. Converted tries from Elvis Pressley, Elliott Robinson, Ollie Kennett, Mitchell Blair and Kyle Monahan brought the final score to a resounding Phoenix 49, Trojans 5. The last conversion was made by Jack Lavelle who impressed throughout with his excellent play. This was a record margin of victory in this fixture and the Phoenix boys can feel justifiably proud and confident heading into hard games against Charlotte Catholic and Chapel Hill Highlanders at RuggerFest. Standout performances came from Logann Cridick who controlled the game from the #9 position, Eric Cooper who shone in the scrum, Griffin Tucker was dominant in the lineout and Brendan Bibb who was named Man of the Match by the players and coaches. Well done Brendan ---- well deserved!

In the JV fixture, Phoenix took on Atlanta Youth Rugby in a friendly but spirited contest between two very talented young sides. The game was very close up to the half way point when Alpharetta steadily pulled away for a solid win on the night. Standout performances came from Michael Walsh, clearly a future star, Blake Bibb, strong as always, and Mateo Podesta who looked very elusive on the night and was rewarded with the Man of the Match award for his performance. This team looks capable of bringing the State JV Championship straight back to Alpharetta!