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      The Jefferson City Nightmare will host theã??Missouri Youth Rugby State Tournament this weekend in North Jefferson City.
      We have a young Nightmare in our midst.

      Actually, more than two dozen young Nightmares.

      Teenagers, huh?

      But in this case, this is quite a good collection of teenage Nightmares.

      The Jefferson City Nightmare will host theã??Missouri Youth Rugby State Tournament this weekend in North Jefferson City, welcomingã??two teams from Kansas City and five from St. Louis.

      The local club team will enter the event with a record of 4-5, and they were not guaranteed a berth in the tournament until they beat Parkway 31-12 last Saturday in St. Louis.

      Big win.

      Lose, and the team would have been in street clothes this weekend as they watched other teams play on their home field.

      "It was a big deal for the coaches and parents, because they're the ones who do the heavy-lifting and make it (the state tournament) go," Nightmare coach Chris Bell said. "For the kids, they just wanted to keep playing.

      "For them, it's a matter of playing more games and getting a chance to play at the highest level they can play at."

      Bell has been with the program since it started in 2007, the last three years as head coach. The high school club team has a roster of 26 --- one player from Helias, one player is home-schooled, while the other 24 are from Jefferson City High School.

      For the rugby novices, here are a few notes about the game:

      *ã??In football, you score a touchdown and play on a field. In rugby, you score a try and play on a pitch.

      * The ball carrier must touch the ball to the ground on or over the goal line, the try zone, to score a try. This is worth five points.

      * There are other ways to score points and if you're reading this, you probably know what those other ways are. But for those of you who don't know, the try is the big one.

      "Rugby is a mix between basketball, football and soccer," Bell said. "Whether it's going from offense to defense like soccer, obviously there's a lot of tackling and hitting like football, but the ball-handling is a very basketball-type scenario."

      * Then there's the scrum.

      "It's eight guys from each team all pushing as hard as they can to get the ball on their side," Bell said.

      The Nightmare are led by senior captains Bart Porting and Weston Paulson.

      "Weston is a four-year player," Bell said. "His understanding of what should be happening, where he needs to be and where his teammates need to be, he's really good at that. It's a big help to have players like that on the field.

      "Bart's not the biggest guy, for sure, but when you need a tackle, both of those guys will put their body on the line and make it."

      Jefferson City opens the tournament --- which is sponsored in part by Central Bank --- at 11 a.m. Saturday against CBC, a team they beat 17-15 in early March.

      "We like our chances to get out of that game with a win," Bell said, "which would obviously set us up to finish in the top four. That's what we want to do."

      If they do win, they'll likely face the KC Jr. Blues in the second round --- a team that's ranked No. 2 in the nation.

      "They're definitely the class of the tournament," Bell said.

      Okay, why the Nightmare?

      "I wanted the mascot to be an Owl, but an Owl doesn't sound very intimidating," Bell said with a laugh. "I guess Nightmare sounds more intimidating."

      Win or lose this weekend, it should be entertaining.

      "Right now, we're just trying to grow the sport," Bell said. "It's a good, team sport, it's good for the kids.ã??We want to let people know that high school rugby exists in Missouri and we have some pretty good, quality clubs around the state.

      "We just want to put on a good show."

      SATURDAY (22-minute halves, seven substitutions)

      Game 1: KC Jr. Blues vs. SLUH, 10 a.m.

      Game 2:ã??CBC vs. Jefferson City, 11 a.m.

      Game 3: Priory vs. Marquette, noon

      Game 4: Eureka vs. Park Hill, 1 p.m.

      Game 5: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 2 p.m.

      Game 6: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 3 p.m.

      Game 7: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 4 p.m.

      Game 8: Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 loser, 5 p.m.

      SUNDAY (35-minute halves, seven substitutions)

      Game 9 (Seventh place): Game 6 loser vs. Game 8 loser, 9 a.m.

      Game 10 (Fifth place): Game 6 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 10:30 a.m.

      Game 11 (Third place):ã??Game 5 loser vs. Game 7 loser, noon

      Game 12 (Championship): Game 5 winner vs. Game 7 winner, 1:30 p.m.