Photo: Ball Out! Belmont tackling knocked the ball out during match vs, St. John’s Prep.
Over the past two years, Peter Berens made countless great saves as the starting goalkeeper with the Belmont High School boy’s soccer, help leading the team to a sectional quarter- and a semi-finals.
On Wednesday, April 29, Berens was in the spotlight again, but for his speed and smarts as the senior fullback scored a pair of highlight reel tries as a dominating second half allowed Belmont High Rugby Club to defeat St. John’s Prep, 26-17, in an exciting – and at time, chippy – match between first division teams on the pitch of Harris Field.
“That was one excellent second half,” said Belmont Head Coach Bruce Greg.
“We had 21 unanswered points and only one mistake gave them that try. This game says a lot where we are,” he said.
After a falling behind 12-5 at half time, Belmont was able to establish constant, physical pressure on the Danvers-based school – which three years ago had a five-year undefeated streak with nearly 50 consecutive victories – setting up the offense and Berens.
About nine minutes into the half, at the 44 minute mark, Berens took the ball 40 meters from the try line and ran down the right sideline, sidestepped a pair of Prep defenders and sprinted in for a five-point try. Darren Chan hit the two-point conversion from an acute angle with plenty to spare, leaving the match knotted up at 12.
Soon after, St. John’s Prep found itself two players down after a particularly violent hit by a Prep player on a Belmont player who was in the air. At the 50 minute mark, Belmont was on the front foot, pressuring St. John’s when Berens suddenly kicked the ball over the heads of the Prep defenders and outran the Eagles to retrieve the bouncing ball and dove into try. Chan again scored the conversion to give Belmont a seven-point margin, 19-12.
While St. John’s had the opportunity to take control of the game when a Belmont mistake gave the visitors the ball 20 meters out but a jarring tackle by senior back row Jacob Hale gave the hosts the ball. Over the next 10 minutes, Belmont forced the ball down the pitch through its speedy backs and kicking the ball forward for line-outs.
At the 61 minute mark, Belmont’s Luke Perrotta pushed his way over the line for the third consecutive try. A late Prep try did not threaten Belmont’s well-deserved victory.
The team is now 4-1, 3-1 against Division 1 competition. The next match is against Xaverian Brothers High School on Wednesday, May 6 (the second night of Town Meeting) at 7 p.m. at Harris Field.