It wasn’t quite a scrum, but if one broke out Siope Kolomantangi would have been right at home.
In Red Mountain’s comeback win over Gilbert two weeks ago, the turning point came on a blocked punt where the ball ended up in the Tigers’ end zone.
A host of players dove for it, creating a scrum-type mass where a fight for the loose ball came.
Out of the pile came Kolomantangi with the ball to give Red Mountain a touchdown in helping grab the second-half momentum. It probably shouldn’t have been a surprised as he’s an accomplished rugby player.
“The sports are different but some of the skills needed are the same,” Kolomantangi said. “I’ve been playing football longer, but rugby is starting to become bigger.”
It started over the summer when Kolomantangi represented the U.S. after he was selected for the Boys High School All-American team. The team headed to Canada in July for two matches against BC Rugby’s under-18 team at University of British Columbia.
The 5-foot-11, 255-pound senior is a prop, a position that forms part of the front row of the scrum and push against the opposition’s props, helped the U.S. win both matches.
“It was a great experience,” said Kolomantangi, whose club team is Tempe Rugby. “I want to keep playing for (the U.S.) as long as a I can and take it as far as I can.”
Here are some notes on all area football teams:
Desert Ridge (5-1, 1-0)
The running attack has been committee for the Jaguars, which is different than years past when a workhorse usually goes for more than 1,000 yards if not 1,500. Four runners have more than 300 yards through six games. … The defense has 33.5 tackles for a loss, 12.5 sacks, 31 passes defensed, four fumble recoveries, but only one interception. … The program has a 105-60 record since 2004 including an 11-game win streak in 2013. … The team is 55-21 over that time frame.
Last week: W, 68-47 at Gilbert. This week: Corona del Sol (1-5). History (since 2004): 3-0. AIA Ranking: No. 4. Last five: 4-1.
Dobson (3-3, 0-1)
The passing game was atrocious last week, going 0 for 11, according to MyNewsMesa.com’s stats, with four interceptions including three pick 6s and a safety. … Senior running back/linebacker Jared Haggard has been a leader on both sides of the ball for Dobson. … Mustangs are 49-91 since 2004 with a 37-37 record outside of section/region games and 12-53 against section/region opponents.
Last week: L, 54-7 at Red Mountain. This week: Westwood (3-4, 0-2). History (since 2004): 3-6, won last year. AIA Ranking: No. 19. Last five: 2-3.
Mesa (3-4, 1-0)
Running back Kris Jackson, who ranks 12th in the nation in rushing with 1,513 yards, finally received a scholarship offer (Weber St.) after two straight 300-plus straight running games. Receivers Marcus Taylor (28, 538, 5 TDS) and Boyd Mox (24, 392, 4 TDs) have been the main targets for Nate Hanna, who has 15 TDs and three interceptions. … The Jackrabbits defense forced four turnovers (two interceptions, two fumble recoveries) in the win over Westwood. … The Jackrabbits have gone 67-83 since 2004 that included a nine-game win streak 2005 and 2006 including the first eight games of the 2006 season.
Last week: W, 41-7. This week: Skyline (4-3, 2-0). History (since 2004): 4-6, six straight losses. AIA Ranking: No. 25. Last five: 3-2.
Mountain View (3-3, 0-1)
Junior running back Jeremiah Hollen had three rushing touchdowns against Skyline. He is becoming a short-yardage thumper. He has eight touchdowns on 15 total carries. … Tate Allen is doing a little bit of everything for the Toros. He is second on the team in catches, receiving yards, first in TD catches, third in tackles and TFL and is tied for first in interceptions.
Last week: L, 43-36 at Skyline. This week: Red Mountain (4-2, 1-0). History (since 2004): 6-5, won last year to end three-game losing streak. AIA Ranking: No. 15. Last five: 2-3.
Red Mountain (4-2, 1-0)
The team started with black helmets and logo, but the familiar RM logo was put back on the helmet once the Mountain Lions “earned” it with their first win in Week 3. … Lance Lawson hasn’t been as big as part of the offense as expected – he ranks fourth in rushing, second in receiving and thrown three passes for a total of 292 all-purpose yards. He clearly hasn’t been healthy and is a far cry from last year’s 1,777 yards in 11 games. … The Mountain Lions have a 95-64 record since 2004 including a 40-23 record against section/region opponents.
Last week: W, 54-7. This week: at Mountain View (3-3, 0-1). History (since 2004): 5-6, lost last year. AIA Ranking: No. 15. Last five:
Skyline (4-3, 2-0)
After completing just 43 of his passes in the first three games, senior quarterback Steven Castle has completed 56 percent over the last four. … Sophomore slot back William McGowan, a transfer who had to sit out the first half of the season, could see a more prominent role in coming weeks. … The Coyotes are 76-76-1 since 2004 including 40-32 at home.
Last week: W, 43-36. This week: at Mountain View (3-3, 0-1). History (since 2004): 6-4, six straight wins. AIA Ranking: No. 11. Last five: 3-2.
Westwood (3-4, 0-2)
After missing three straight games because of an injury, junior running back Ethan Neeley returned last week with eight carries for 21 yards. He is averaging 5.1 yards a carry on the season. … The thing that bothered Warriors coach Kyle Ide most about the loss to Mesa was the fact the Jackrabbits were physically dominant. “It’s something that has be addressed in the offseason,” he said. …The Warriors are 67-83 since 2004 including a 23-47 mark in section/region games.
Last week: L, 41-7 Mesa. This week: at Dobson. History (since 2004): 6-3. AIA Ranking: No. 24. Last five: 2-3.
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.