By Gideon Rubin
Torrey Pines didn’t know if it would make the playoffs going into its regular season finale against a heavily favored La Costa Canyon team.
The Falcons (in photo at right) emerged from what might have been a win-or-go-home game with new life.
A stunning 24-17 upset victory over LCC in a nonleague game on Nov. 2 helped the Falcons secure a San Diego Section Division I playoff berth, and sent them into the postseason with the wind at their back.
The Falcons, who improved to 5-5 overall for the season, hope to carry that momentum into their first round playoff game against Escondido (5-5). The Falcons are scheduled to play at Escondido on Friday (Nov. 9) at 7 p.m.
In the LCC game, Chase Pickwell scored on a run from the 1-yard line midway through the fourth quarter to break a 17-17 deadlock.
Pickwell rushed for 118 yards on 26 carries to lead the Falcons.
Mark Detrow contributed 39 rushing yards on six carries.
Falcons quarterback Mike Ward completed five of six pass attempts for 41 yards including a scoring pass to Jack Bailey.
Bailey caught four passes for 38 yards.
The Falcons broke a scoreless deadlock midway through the second quarter when Collin Brown kicked a 25-yard field goal.
Then after LCC tied the game, Ward connected with a 12-yard scoring pass to Bailey that sent the Falcons into the intermission with a 10-3 lead.
In a final tuning for the playoffs, Cathedral Catholic trounced Serra 55-7 in a nonleague game on Nov. 2.
The Dons, who’ve won five consecutive San Diego Section titles, were awarded the No. 2 seed and have a first-round bye in the Division III playoffs. They will play on Nov. 16 against the winner of a first round game between Monte Vista and Serra (scheduled for Nov. 9).
Josh Gizzi rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Dons, and Tony Johnson rushed for 96 yards and three touchdowns.
The Dons took a quick lead when Connor Larkin returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown on Serra’s first possession that set the tone for the win.
The Dons improved their overall record for the season to 8-2.
Santa Fe Christian concluded its regular season on a winning note with a fourth quarter outburst that propelled the Eagles to a 35-17 Coastal League victory over Francis Parker on Nov. 2.
The Eagles trailed 17-14 early in the fourth quarter before closing the game out with three unanswered touchdowns.
Conor Keith rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Eagles comeback.
Keith scored on a 70-yard run with less than 10 minutes left in the game to give the Eagles a 21-14 lead.
Keith’s 35-yard run in the closing minutes gave the Eagles a comfortable 28-14 lead.
Jake Bailey scored on a 50-yard interception return on Parker’s next possession to put the game out of reach.
The victory concluded a perfect 5-0 league championship run and gives the Eagles momentum going into the San Diego Section playoffs.
The Eagles were awarded the No. 1 seed in the Division V playoffs.
They will play in the quarterfinals on Nov. 16 against the winner of a first round game between Tri-City Christian and Mountain Empire (scheduled for Nov. 9).
Torrey Pines took another step towards what would be an unheard of third straight state championship.
The two-time defending state champions breezed to a San Diego Section Championship at the two-day meet that concluded on Nov. 1.
The Falcons shot a combined 750 on the 18-hold par-72 course at Coronado Golf Course to finish 52 strokes ahead of Rancho Bernardo, which placed second.
Falcons standout Sandy Choi shot a combined 142 score to take first place individually.
Minjia Luo was four-over par for the tournament to finish tied for ffith.
The Falcons advanced to the Southern California Championships, a qualifying meet for teams and individuals that will be held on Nov. 8 at the Golf Club at Rancho in Murrieta.
The state championships will be held on Nov. 13 at Red Hill Country Club in Rancho Cucamonga.
Canyon Crest Academy bounced back from its first loss of the season with two decisive wins.
The Ravens were coming off a 1-0 Palomar League loss to Poway when they defeated Rancho Bernardo 8-1 on Oct. 30.
They went on to defeat Torrey Pines 3-0 two days later.
Katie Carlson scored three goals and had one assist and Gabrielle De Petro added two goals and one assist to lead the Ravens.
Ravens goalie Clara Belitz had two saves.
Carlson and De Petro each scored one goal and had one assist to lead the Ravens in the Torrey Pines game.
Haley Schroeder added one goal Belitz had three saves.
The Ravens improved to 8-1 in league and 22-1 overall for the season.
The Torrey Pines water polo teams completed a pool sweep last week with the varsity, junior varsity and novice squads all winning the Palomar League Championships. The varsity took the Palomar championship with a 9-6 win over Westview on Nov. 1. The varsity team was undefeated this year in league play.
The junior varsity won their league championship, also with a 9-6 victory. The novice team went undefeated all season and won 10-2.
Torrey Pines girls tennis team won their 23rd consecutive CIF Tennis Championship. The victory came under first-year coach Chris Numbers. Mariann Bukich finished first in the league, Kelsey Chen finished third and the doubles pair of Agostina Waisfeld and Sara Kikivas finished fourth.
— Karen Billing contributed to this report.