Thirty-two athletes from Camas, Columbia River, Mountain View, Hudson’s Bay and Union high schools are building an unbreakable bond through rugby. They are called the Clark County Warriors.
“A warrior is somebody who keeps fighting for what we want,” said CHS junior Jason Vailea. “Our team is a family, and we will keep fighting for each other until the end of the match.”
Vailea enjoys playing the game with Papermakers Nick Gadbaw, Jesse Kiesser, Riley Moss, Drew Clarkson, Michael DiGenova, Matt Walser, John Ashford, Gavin Grable, Tanner Aldridge and Dylan Tauscher. Many of them participate in rugby and football together during the school year.
“In football, you work hard with your friends every day. We try to bring out that same attitude on the rugby field,” Vailea said. “To me, rugby is a lot more fun because there are no pads. We’re always testing each other to see how much pain you can take without pads.”
Rugby not only requires brute force, but also speed and endurance. The two teams square off in a “ruck” formation to gain possession of the ball. The team that has possession can run, pass or kick the ball down the field to their teammates.
“Not only do you have to be quick, but you also have to be more conditioned,” Vailea said. “In football, you play to the whistle and then you stop. Rugby is non-stop. You just keep going until somebody scores or until the end of the half.”
Vailea loves getting down in the muddy trenches and fighting for the ball.
“When both teams are unbelievably strong, it’s fun to see the outcome,” he said. “The best thing is watching our guys go all out with all their strength to win the ball.”
The Clark County Warriors defeated the Westside Alliance 65-14 Saturday, at Liberty Middle School, in Camas. The Warriors compete in the High School Boys Club Championship Division. Log on to www.rugbyoregon.com to look at the team’s scores and schedule.
Vailea hopes this is just the start of a special rugby season in Clark County.
“I would love to see the Clark County rugby team grow and become as famous as football is in this area,” he said. “It would be great to come back here one day and see every school in this area having a football and a rugby team, and to know that I somehow played a part in making that dream come true.”