With the loss of captains Zach Martindale (fly-half, junior) and Will Mahaffey (open-side flanker, senior) to injury in the Charlotte Catholic game, and the early injury to hooker Nathan Wilson (junior), the Providence Panthers relied on several inexperienced backups to step up and make an impact against the seasoned and nationally ranked Myers Park Mustangs. Captain for the match Braedon Butte (sophomore) moved to open-side flanker with John Joiner (sophomore) backfilling at blind-side flanker, Joey Coppola (sophomore) at hooker, Gabe Gomez Mijangos (junior) at tight-head prop, and Toby Stamps (freshman) at scrum-half.
Connor Hicks (sophomore) moved to fly-half and started the match strong, scoring Providence’s only try in the first few minutes and converting from the far left edge. In his first start at scrum-half, Stamps lit up the field with strong runs and a staggering 20 tackles. Butte finished with 3 poaches, 13 tackles, and served as a high tackle magnet all match long with Myers Park collecting 3 penalties and a yellow card. Left wing Hunter Smith (senior) made multiple critical stops at the edge and freshman Nick Soto showed tremendous growth in his first season coming in at prop and holding his own with strong rucking and solid tackles. Freshman Aidan Cooper did a commendable job at loose-head prop filling the big shoes of senior Daimen McNeal who left the game with an injury. In the end, Providence’s youth and enthusiasm lost to Myers Park experience by a score of 7 to 44.