"Our mission is to provide an inclusive team environment for the youth of Perry Township (and beyond), to model respect, integrity and sportsmanship, and to inspire personal growth for all participants on and off the pitch"
The Panther Rugby Club was established in 2015 by two passionate coaches with just three potential players. By 2022, the club had grown to 14 coaches with 144 registered players, with high school players having the opportunity to letter in Rugby. Our teams are a mix of new players and experienced players, so all levels of athleticism are welcome! The vast majority of our players are students from the Perry Local School District in grades K – 12, but since Rugby is currently a club sport, players from other schools are welcome to join!
The Panther Rugby Club operates under the umbrella of the Canton Rugby Club 501c3, and within the guidelines of RugbyOhio and USA Rugby. Our Club’s philosophy is centered around the core values of Rugby, which are shared by players, referees, and fans across the world:
INTEGRITY – Integrity and Sportsmanship are central to the fabric of the Game and is generated through honesty and fair play
PASSION – Rugby people have a passionate enthusiasm for the Game. Rugby generates excitement, emotional attachment and a sense of belonging to the global Rugby family
SOLIDARITY – Rugby provides a unifying spirit that leads to lifelong friendships, camaraderie, teamwork and loyalty which transcends cultural, geographic, political and religious differences
DISCIPLINE – Discipline is an integral part of the Game, both on and off the field, and is reflected through adherence to the Laws, the Regulations and Rugby’s core values
RESPECT – Respect for teammates, opponents, match officials and those involved in the Game is paramount
As a club, we welcome all levels of athleticism and experience, but we do not tolerate any form of misconduct…including bullying, harassment, hazing, and emotional, physical, or sexual misconduct.
"Though we play to win, our coaching philosophy is to first focus on developing our players’ skills, character and positive competitive spirit, with the objective of helping them become accomplished rugby players."
Our coaches take rugby seriously and understand the delicate nature of teaching safe contact and other skills. Rugby is their passion – and they have a deep-rooted desire to share that with others and inspire the youth of our community to be a part of something great! Here’s a bit about their backgrounds:
COACH BULL: Coach Bull (Jason Doyle) is a 1993 graduate of Perry High School where he played football, wrestled, and participated on the speech team and in the choral program, and in the Perry Players. Coach Bull has played rugby with the Canton Maddogs since 1993. He was an original board member for the Canton Rugby Foundation, and served as Team Captain and Press Secretary for the team as well. Jason started Panther Rugby at the middle school level in 2015 when his son Jake was in 7th Grade at Edison Middle School. Coach Bull holds a Level 200 coaching certificate from USA Rugby, is SafeSport certified, CPR certified, and has completed his Referee Certification. Jason is currently the President of the Panther Rugby Booster Club, Head Coach of the High School Boys and Girls Teams and Assistant Coach for all other Perry teams. Jason also serves as the Youth Commissioner for the Canton Rugby Foundation.
COACH DOUG: Coach Doug (Doug Higgins) is a 1992 graduate of Timken High School, and owner of Downtown Automotive Service Center. Doug played rugby with the Canton Maddogs from 1992 until 2015. Doug was 4-time captain, and also served as Vice President of Canton Rugby. In 2021, he was inducted into the Canton Rugby Hall of Fame. Coach Doug holds a Level 200 coaching certificate from USA Rugby, is CPR certified, and SafeSport certified. Doug has been a part of Panther Rugby from day one...in fact, until 2020, he had donated every jersey that our kids had ever played in! Doug is currently the Vice President of the Panther Rugby Booster Club, Head Coach of the Middle School Boys and Girls Teams, and assistant Head Coach of the High School Boys and Girls Teams.
COACH HERM: Coach Herm (Herman Valentine) is a 1981 graduate from GlenOak high school, and a 1988 graduate of Kent State University, where he received his BS in Aerospace Technology. Herm has played rugby at many different levels. He started as Canton Maddog right out of high school, and went on to play for the Kent State University team for 4 years. Lieutenant Colonel Herman Valentine proudly served our country for 33 years, and retired from the US Army in 2014. His service travels took him to many different places where he was able to play the sport on base in the States and abroad. His club affiliations include the Fort Ruckers Football Club, the Fort Leavenworth Rugby Club, the D.C. Poltroons Rugby Club, the Fort Myer Old Guard Rugby Club, and the Camp Victory Multi-National Corps Iraq Rugby Football Club. Most of his playing career was as a wing or fullback, and he served as Captain at both Fort Rucker and Fort Myer. Coach Herm joined the Panther coaching staff in 2016, where he has assisted at both the middle school and high school level. Both his daughter Sarah and son Armando (Nino) have been student athlete leaders in our programs. Herm also served as a founding member of the Panther Rugby Booster Club. He holds a level 100 Coaching Certificate from USA Rugby, is SafeSport Certified, and CPR Certified. He's also received direct raining in the following areas: Introduction to Coaching, Key Factor Analysis, Functional Role Analysis, Coaching Children, and Rugby Ready. Herm currently serves as an EMS Helicopter Pilot with MedFlight of Ohio.
COACH MIKE F: Coach Mike: is a 2002 graduate of Nordonia Hills Highschool in Macedonia Ohio where played soccer, wrestled and was in the marching band. Mike first played rugby with Akron men's club from 2002-2004. He then enlisted into the Army where he played rugby for the Seoul- American rugby club in South Korea from 2006-2008. He then played for Kansas state University's club side from 2008-2009. Then he played for the Salina Crusaders from 2009-2011. He then started the Manhattan Legends rugby club with three great friends from 2011- 2014. After being honorably discharged from the Army he moved to Perry Ohio , where he played for the Canton Maddogs from 2016-2019. Coach Mike is Level 100 coaching certified , is SafeSport certified and is CPR certified. He served as the first Head Coach for the K-5 Little Panther Rugby teams!
COACH LOGAN: Coach Logan is a 2018 graduate of Perry High School, graduating with her STNA, she's CPR & AED Certified, and also has Phlebotomy and EMT certifications. She's currently attending Kent State Stark branch, studying bio-chem to become a pharmacist. Logan played for the 2018 Lady Panthers' spring season, where she received an All State D3 award from Rugby Ohio. Logan has also served as touch judge for multiple seasons. She lettered in soccer, served as a mat-stat for the wrestling team, and helped with Perry Football during multiple seasons.
COACH BRYAN J: Coach Bryan graduated from Sandy Valley High School in 1998, where he lettered in wrestling and football. He played rugby with the Canton MadDogs from 1998-1999. Bryan joined the Marine Corps in 1999, and served four years in the infantry. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Bryan left the marines, honorably discharged as a Sargent late 2003. In 2004, he returned to the Canton MadDogs and played for another season. Bryan is currently a union carpenter. He has two sons that are actively involved in Perry youth sports: baseball, football, wrestling, and of course, rugby. Bryan holds a Level 200 Rugby Coaching Certificate.
COACH ERIC G:
COACH ERIC K:
COACH BRYAN G:
"Rugby may seem a bit complicated, but in the end, all it takes to enjoy the game is time. Be patient and you’ll pick up on it, it’s very similar to enjoying a football game. There will be great tackles as well as beautiful tries scored through wonderful teamwork, passing, and aggressive running. There is no blocking in rugby!"
THE LAWS OF RUGBY
Rugby is governed by laws, not rules. First and foremost, the referee is called a Sir…and everyone must respect the Sir! The laws of the game are designed to produce an entertaining and free-flowing contest for possession in an attempt to score the most points. The laws of rugby are constantly evolving and are the same all over the world, wherever the game is played. In general, the laws governing play are straightforward about what’s allowed, but three crucial parts can be somewhat confusing: the tackle situation, advantage, and offsides.
The tackle situation: In a nutshell, when a tackle is made in rugby the requirements are that the tackler releases the tackled player, who then releases the ball so that players who are on their feet can use it. You’ll often see a ruck form after this happens (learn more about a Ruck on the reverse of this page)
Advantage: Advantage simply means that when one team makes an error the other team can try to capitalize on it, instead of the referee immediately stopping the action. If the players can’t capitalize on the error, play restarts where the original mistake took place.
Offsides: Specific offsides laws exist for different phases of play, but essentially players can’t be involved if they’re in front of a teammate who last played the ball, nor can they be behind the ball when the opposition has it. The last foot in the ruck sets the offsides line.
A 7’s rugby team has 7 positions. There are no specific numbers for their positions. The main difference between 15’s and 7’s (besides the number of players on the field) is that 7’s matches are only 7-minute halves with a 1-minute halftime. For developing teams, such as middle school level, a full-field pitch is split in half to condense the playing area.
A 15’s rugby team has 15 positions. Each one wears a specific number and has individual responsibilities
One group is collectively referred to as the pack or the forwards. This group’s main goal is to win possession of the ball. These players are usually the heavyweights of the team, using their bulk and strength to try to overpower their opponents.
1 and 3 are props
2 is the hooker
4 and 5 are the locks
6 and 7 are the flankers
8 is, conveniently enough, the eightman
The other group is collectively referred to as the backs or back line.
9 is the scrumhalf
10 is the flyhalf
11 and 14 are the wings
12 and 13 are the inside and outside centers
15 is the fullback
Try – 5 Points: Similar to a touchdown in football, a try is scored when the ball carrier touches the ball down in the opposing players try-zone.
Conversion kick – 2 Points: This kick is worth an additional two points and is taken after a try is scored from a spot in line with where the ball was originally grounded. This is why you may see players wait to touch down until they are in the center of the try zone – to gain a better positioning for this kick.
Penalty kick – 3 Points: Penalties for various infractions can be used to take a kick at goal, which is worth three points. For instance, offsides, high tackle, hands in the ruck, etc
Dropped goal – 3 Points: A dropped goal, which occurs when the player drops the ball on the ground and then kicks it just as it bounces, is worth three points if it goes through the uprights.
Penalty Try – 7 Points: A penalty try is awarded when a major infraction occurs on the way to the try zone or inside the try zone.
PHASES OF PLAY
Lineout: A lineout looks somewhat like a jump-ball in basketball, with both teams lining up opposite each other. One player from each team is hoisted in the air to gain a better advantage when the ball is thrown down the center of the lineout. Lineouts occur after the ball, or a player carrying the ball, has gone out of bounds and are done to determine possession.
Maul: A maul occurs when a player carrying the ball is held by one or more opponents, and one or more of the ball-carrier’s teammates bind on the ball-carrier. All the players involved are on their feet and moving toward a goal line. Instead of going down with the ball when tackled, the player stays on their feet while their teammates push them forward.
Ruck: After a tackle, while the tackled person is on the ground, they must release the ball. A ruck forms when one or more players from each team, who are still on their feet, close around the released ball. Once a ruck has been formed, players can’t use their hands to get the ball, only their feet. This looks like a small huddle of players standing above and around a tackled ball carrier.
Scrum: A contest for the ball involving three or eight players who bind together and push against the other team’s scrum. The Scrum Half rolls the ball down the center of the scrum and watches for it to be moved out by a player’s foot. A scrum looks like a giant moving huddle, but the players are actually trying to use their combined strength to push the other team further from the ball. Scrums restart play after certain minor infractions such as a forward pass, or a knock-on. A forward pass is a pass that goes to a player running in front of the ball carrier. A knock-on is similar to a fumble…the player mishandles the ball and it drops forward onto the ground.