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Tigers lose in the state title match on Saturday versus Prairie High School of Washington

PHOTO COURTESY OF LYNNE TUCKER
 - Fighting through adverse conditions, senior fullback Kody Butler carries the ball during Newberg's state title game loss on Saturday.

For the fourth time in five years, the Newberg High School boys rugby team finished second at state, coming up short of a championship with a 20-5 loss to Prairie High School from Vancouver, Wash., on Saturday.

Newberg fell behind 7-0 to start when Prairie scored and converted, but the Tigers responded as senior lock Max Boenisch scored to make it 7-5.

A 40-minute lightning delay froze play until the teams closed out the first half, with the score remaining a two-point Prairie advantage at the break.

In the second half, Prairie converted two penalties to extend its lead to 13-5 before converting a try in the game's waning moments to bring the match to its 20-5 final score.

Newberg graduates eight seniors that have been part of previous runs to state title matches. The eight depar- tures from the program include Boenisch, Chase Jackson, Kohl Looney, Kody Butler, Rowan Gallardo, Marcus Bland, Gerardo Obregon and Alex Cobb.

Newberg coach Rick Rogers wraps his first season balancing his mayoral duties, work at Habitat for Humanity and coaching the boys rugby squad. He said the resilience and toughness displayed by this team was admirable.

"The Newberg boys showed class and composure throughout," he said. "It was a tough loss but the boys played as a team and were respectful of the game, the officials and their opponents. Everyone affiliated with Newberg High School should be proud of these boys and the team they became."

Newberg was 5-2 in the regular season, 4-1 in its conference, before its playoff run. It beat Battle Ground High School 18-17 in the cup semifinals on May 11 before its loss in the title game a week later.

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