LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The Boys High School All-Americans won the High School Elite 7s Cup at the Las Vegas Invitational Saturday afternoon at Sam Boyd Stadium, while the USA Falcons, made up of 12 Men’s Eagles Sevens Residency players, finished second in the Men’s Elite 7s Division with a 10-7 loss to the Serevi Selects.
Following the end of pool play at USA Sevens, the BHSAAs took the field against BCEY7’s 1, Canada’s elite high school entrant into the competition. The BHSAAs looked the stronger team from the get-go and were rewarded with the match’s opening try on the kick off.
Another try from the “home team” was met with the visitors’ first try to bring the halftime score to 12-7. The BHSAAs extended the lead to 19-7 before a late try from BCEY7’s brought the final score to 19-14.
Salty Thompson fielded two BHSAA teams, with the second squad in the running for the High School Elite 7s Plate Sunday after a win against BCEY7’s 2 in the Plate Semifinal. Atlantis, the BHSAAs’ opponent in the Plate Final, defeated the Washington Loggers in the other Semifinal Saturday.
The Falcons’ match against the Serevi Selects could have been mistaken for a full international. The quality of play belonged on the Sam Boyd Stadium field, as former international Ben Gollings suited up for the Selects alongside Eagles Mike Palefau and Miles Craigwell.
For the Falcons, Mike Te’o opened the scoring in the third minute with a try in the corner. The tough-angled conversion was no match for the boot of Dartmouth’s Madison Hughes, who gave the Falcons an important 7-0 lead.
The conversion proved even more important three minutes later when the Selects capitalized on an overload to score their first try, as their conversion missed for a 7-5 score line.
Another overload in the early stages of the second half would have given the Selects the lead, but a try-saving tackle from the Falcons kept the score 7-5. Gollings kept the ball in in the 12th minute to set up the go-ahead try for the Selects, but another missed conversion kept the Falcons within distance at 10-7.
In the final minute, the Falcons had multiple opportunities to win the match. Several penalties against the Selects within 15 meters of the try zone set up the Falcons for success, but better try-line defense kept them from scoring. After the final whistle, the Falcons cycled the ball to the left wing, but a ball lost forward brought the referee’s whistle, signaling the end of the match.