The sequel was coming.
After beating Neuqua Valley, 20-15, in the first game of the season, Lake Forest Harrier coach John Walker had a feeling the two teams would meet again.
Lake Forest prevailed again, this time with a bigger reward. The Harriers, a club team comprised of players from around Lake County including Lake Forest and Lake Bluff, posted a 33-25 victory over Neuqua Valley to capture the Illinois Youth Rugby Association Tier 2 State championship held Monday in Lemont.
"The difference this time was we were all healthy and we've been more cohesive as a team over the last four to five games," Walker said. "You could see us really jell the last couple of games."
Neuqua staked an early lead, and Lake Forest was hampered by playing a player short due to repeated penalties. The Harriers would finish the game a player short for nearly 30 minutes.
The Harriers battled back with tries from Niall McCann and Peter Passalino to take the lead, and never looked back. Constant pressure by the determined Harrier defense didn't let Neuqua out of its own end.
"It was a tough, tough day, but the players stepped it up and showed tremendous strength," Walker said.
The team roster included:Nick Boretti, Trow Crow, Richard Daniels, Johnny Frame, Phillip Frenzel, Quinn Giangiorgi, Matt Harmon, Jack Hermes, Ralph Hutchins, Max Joyce, Tommy Kienzle, Niko Kyriacou, Morgan Layton, Michael Mariani, Zach Martensen, Michael Mathy, Niall McCann, James McKegg, Chris Musacchio, Jack Newtown, Steven Nowak, Blake Parsons, Peter Passalino, Jack Picchietti, Jesse Pine, Nico Pons, Diego Rojas, Wesley Siu, Sean Sneen, Wilson Veech and Eric Wasser.
Coaches included: John Walker, Ed Giangiorgi Michael McKegg, and Ken Pierini from the Lake Forest Parks and Recreation Department.