ROCKTON, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF)–Rugby fever might be spreading in Rockton. 23 girls at Hononegah High School have embraced the sport. Sunday they held their first home match.

They lost to Plainfield 36-0. Hononegah matched Plainfield’s physicality, but Plainfield had more speed. Hononegah’s players didn’t seem to mind the lopsided loss. They were exhausted, but they were exhilarated at the same time once the match ended. They love the competition, the rough play, and even the dirt.

“Football players they go through the same thing, but they’ve got all those pads to protect them, but rugby afterwards you’ve got all the dirt,” said Hononegah senior Mary Miller. “You’ve got all the scrapes, bruises everywhere. You don’t even think there’s going to be bruises because you’ve got nothing to protect you. It’s, yea the adrenalin is on the high because of all that contact.”

“I was like, okay I’ll try it out, but I don’t know if I’ll like it,” said freshman Ellen Miller. “Ever since she (her older sister Mary) introduced me to it I kind of fell in love with it.”

“I think the hardest part is being able to push through because it’s a very physically demanding sport,” said senior Marah Poppe. “Being able to know when you’re tired and recognize that and keep going is something that takes a lot of determination.”

Girls rugby started as a club sport at Hononegah in 2018. Now it’s a full-fledged sport. A sport that these girls believe will only keep growing.