Seamus McCurren carries the ball against Dearborn in a 2016 match.
Dexter Rugby Football Club, from by far the smallest school district in Division One of the Michigan Youth Rugby Association, has made the Michigan Division One Final Four every year since 2012. That proud record has been achieved despite the fact that the Club’s head coaches, Paul Burke and Doug Karaska, supported by Assistant Coach (and Head Coach at EMU) Steve Turosky, have had to build a new Devils team almost from scratch every spring. It is true that the coaches are able to recruit players from outside the school district (this year, as last, several players from the Genesee program will join the Devils; in previous seasons Milan, Whitmore Lake, Grass Lake, and Jackson have all contributed starters to the Dexter XV), but each season begins with Dexter fans wondering how the Devils’ small squad will cope in Division One. This year is no different, although Dexter can boast continuity in at least one area of the field — both half-backs, Neil Makin (Scrum-half, DHS Sr) and Seamus McCurren (Fly-half, DHS Sr) are experienced and formed the pivot of last year’s team. Makin is the only four-year player on the team, while McCurren was one of last season’s discoveries. Other returning players include Parker Goetz, lock Robert Guenther, wing Chris Kaufmann, flanker/hooker Mason Monroe, prop/lock Kyle Rooke, and three-quarters Truman Stovell and Travis Spencer. But there will be lots of new faces and, as ever, the Dexter forwards are bound to face bigger packs in almost every match.
Tonight (Wednesday, April 12) the Devils kick off their season away at newly-promoted Brighton, where Rugby Union is a Varsity Sport (Scranton Middle School; 6 pm k.o.). The Devils will hope to have significant support in this local derby. There will be live score updates on the DRFC twitter feed.
The remaining league fixtures are all at home (at Manly Bennett Field, Hamburg; kick-off 6 pm):
19 April Dexter vs Troy
27 April Dexter vs Birmingham
10 May Dexter vs Dearborn
Over the weekend of 6/7 May the Devils will play in the Midwest Schools Rugby Championship at Elkhart, Illinois, and Dexter will host the first round of Michigan league playoffs on 20 May.
Dexter’s squad list, with further details of the Dexter Rugby program, may be accessed here . For further information on Dexter Rugby, go to the Facebook page for “Dexter Rugby” or http://www.rugbymichigan.org/page/show/2367446-dexter. Follow DRFC on Twitter @DexterRugby.