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PICKING UP A WIN

Operators cruise past Newberg
by: John Brewington LONG RUN—The Operators’ Eddie Macedo broke this run and scored in Saturday’s match, but a penalty brought the ball back.

The Columbia County Operators got their rugby season back on track Saturday with a 26-12 win over visiting Newberg.

The match was just their second of the season for the Division Two team. The high school team is comprised of players from Scappoose, St. Helens, and two players from Rainier.

'The first match was very, very horrible,' Robbie Corrigan, 22, the first-year coach of the team said. 'Our referee copped out and we used an assistant coach from the other team. He was a very poor referee and hardly called anything.'

The team put that match out of their memory on Saturday and responded with a solid performance. They led 12-7 by halftime Corrigan took over coaching the team this season. He played on it in 2006-2007, and also played rugby in college and on the Oregon All-Stars. When he came back out of boot camp he started helping coach the team. He's currently in the Army Reserve. He said he stepped up to head coach when former coach Eric Bunday announced he wouldn't be doing it this season. Ironically, Bunday was the referee at Saturday's match.

'I love the sport. I even have a tattoo of it,' Corrigan said.

Corrigan said there are 28 players on the Operators this season. The team plays in Division Two. Teams are assigned division based on school size and experience. The second division is the largest with 13 schools. There are eight teams in each of the other two divisions.

A good-sized crowd of around 200 was on hand for Saturday's match. The sun came out and even though the field was a little sloppy-that's the way rugby players like it.

The team has a couple weeks off, and then resumes action on April 9, hosting the Reynolds Raiders at 1:30 p.m.

The season culminates in May with a three-week state tournament playoff. Quarterfinals and semifinals have not been assigned yet, but the finals will be held at Delta Park.