By Gideon Rubin
A team that went into the last week of the regular season with iffy playoff hopes now finds itself two wins away from playing for a championship.
Torrey Pines, which pulled off a surprising upset win to secure a berth in the San Diego Section Division I playoffs, advanced to the quarterfinals after a 42-7 throttling of Escondido in a first round playoff game on Nov. 9.
The Falcons, who improved to 6-5 overall for the season, will play perennial power Eastlake of Chula Vista (7-3) on Fri. (Nov. 16) at 7 p.m. at Eastlake.
The upset-minded Falcons hope to add to their list of surprising wins this season. They’ve already beaten the odds with victories over Cathedral Catholic (24-17 on Sept. 7) and a 24-17 win against La Costa Canyon on Nov. 2 that sent the Falcons in the postseason.
Chase Pickwell rushed for 191 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries to lead the Falcons.
Falcons quarterback Mike Ward was six for nine passing for 132 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Jack Bailey caught four passes for 101 yards and one touchdown.
Place kicker Spencer Brewer was six for six on PATs on a busy night.
Ward completed a 35-yard scoring pass to Bailey in the first quarter that gave the Falcons an early lead.
Then after Escondido tied the game in the second quarter, the Falcons answered back with Ward completing a 15-yard scoring pass to Jackson Gentes to give Torrey Pines a 14-7 lead going into the intermission.
The Falcons broke the game open in a decisive third quarter when they outscored Escondido 21-0.
Pickwell scored on a run from the 3 to get the Falcons going in the second half, and scampered for 70 yards on a scoring run that made it 28-7.
Dwayne Hines scored on a run from the 2 late in the third quarter to make it 35-7, and then Cole Jaczko scored on a 20-yard run in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
Jaczko finished the game with 51 rushing yards on eight carries and Mark Detrow contributed 33 rushing yards on six carries.
Torrey Pines advanced to the state championships with a dominant performance at the Southern California Regional championship tournament on Nov. 7.
The Falcons were scheduled to play for their third consecutive state title on Tuesday (Nov. 13) at Red Hill Country Club in Rancho Cucamonga.
Sandy Choi shot a 3-under-par 69 to lead the Falcons in the regional championships on an 18-hole course at The Golf Club at Rancho California.
The Falcons shot a combined 369 to finish well ahead of their competitors. Diamond Bar was second with a 385 score, and Palm Desert (386) placed third.
Sarah Cho shot a 73 for the Falcons and Jennifer Peng added a 74 score. Shiyang Fan and Minjia Luo contributed 76 and 77 scores, respectively.
Torrey Pines made quick work of San Diego with a 3-0 (25-6, 25-14, 25-6) victory in a first round Division I playoff game on Nov. 7.