In a dramatic boys HS league match in Southern California, Torrey Pines edged Cathedral Catholic in a clash of undefeated teams in the SoCal South.
Torrey Pines and Cathedral were both 4-0 coming into Saturday’s much-anticipated game.
Early on the Cathedral forwards controlled the set piece and made life problematic for the Torrey Pines pack in the scrums and lineouts. Cathedral pinned Torrey Pines back from the opening kickoff, and Torrey Pines did not get the ball past midfield until 15 minutes into the first half.
But all that possession and pressure did not produce tries for Cathedral. And once Torrey Pines got out of their own 22, they scored tries.
No. 8 Dean Karam rambled over for one try, then centers Billy Maggs and Chase Pickwell raced over for tries to make it 19-0 Torrey Pines at halftime.
Shaking their heads at not being able to convert pressure into points, Cathedral redoubled their efforts in the second half.
Center Xavier Ulute trampled through several tacklers to score five minutes in, and then No. 8 scored off a tap penalty to make it 19-14 with 20 to play.
Keeping the pressure up, Cathedral camped in the Torrey Pines 22 once more. Torrey tried to kick out of trouble, and Cathedral lock forward Chris Franke blocked the kick and recovered the ball for the game-tying try.
With four minutes to go the Torrey Pines forwards finally found some momentum. They kept the ball moving quickly, punishing Cathedral with a series of one-balls with Karam, Pierre Pretorious, Miles Ahles and Grant McGahey all making surges downfield.
Finally the last pass went to hooker AJ Talman, who dove over for the winner and the 26-19 victory.
It was a dramatic match, but one that will be likely eplayed in two weeks in the playoffs. Cathedral will likely have some key players back – they were missing three with the fly, Aaron Mitchell with a shoulder injury, and star Joey Kuperman, who was on a college football recruiting visit.
Torrey Pines will hope to have one of their best forwards, Michael Cox, back for that playoff match.
Torrey Pines 26
Tries: Karam, Maggs, Pickwell, Talman
Convs: Mills 3
Tries: Ulutu, Gafney, Franke