Thrice as nice: Black and Blue win third consecutive state rugby title

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The Daily Inter Lake

CORVALLIS — The Black and Blue dynasty is alive and well.

Led by Tucker Nadeau’s three tries, the Black and Blue high school rugby team from Kalispell captured the state championship for the third consecutive season on Saturday afternoon with a 29-17 victory over their hosts — the Bitterroot Warriors.

“You can’t say enough about them,” Black and Blue coach Bob Kiesel said. “What a great group.”

Nadeau, one of six players who played on all three state title teams, kicked off the scoring for the Black and Blue with a try in the 14th minute of play.

Paxton Boyce added another three minutes later, and Jock Eve followed Bitterroot’s first score with yet another try to give the Black and Blue a 17-5 advantage.

Bitterroot controlled the ball inside the Black and Blue’s five-meter line for much of the final three minutes of the half, but an inspired defensive effort kept the Warriors out of the try zone and the Black and Blue’s double-digit lead intact.

Just a minute into the second half, Nadeau poached the ball and sprinted 40 meters untouched to give the Black and Blue a seemingly comfortable 24-5 advantage.

But Bitterroot stormed back for two tries while the Black and Blue was down a pair of players due to yellow cards to close its deficit to 24-17 with five minutes remaining.

Nadeau once again took matters into his own hands, however, punching through for his third try of the game with just two minutes remaining to all but assure a third consecutive Black and Blue championship.

“They gave us everything we wanted,” Kiesel said.

“The difference is we had Tucker Nadeau and they didn’t. “He ran the ball well. He made a lot of tackles. He was definitely the man of the match … and the best rugby player in the state this year.”

Nadeau joined Hunter Wellcome, Sam Mann, Brisman White, Erik Macatee and Daniel Long in winning a third championship in his high school career.

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