Football preview: Local teams ready to tackle new season

By Gideon Rubin

The Torrey Pines varsity team recently kicked off its season with a game against San Pasqual. San Pasqual won by a score of 19-14. Photo/Jon Clark

Torrey Pines:

Torrey Pines has made the playoffs five straight years, reaching the quarterfinals each of the last three seasons, with its best showing in 2010, when the Falcons reached the semifinals.

The Falcons hope to keep that tradition going with a team that graduated 31 seniors.

Key returnees include junior Jack Bailey, the team’s leading receiver last year with 20 receptions for 326 yards and three touchdowns. Bailey also had nine carries for 80 yards.

Also back is senior running back Dwayne Hines, a powerful and swift 5-foot-11 190-pounder who rushed for 120 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries last season.

The Falcons opened with a 19-14 loss to San Pasqual on Aug. 30 in a nonleague game for both teams.

Cathedral Catholic:

An amazing run that started at Qualcomm Stadium in 2007 ended last season in the office of an administrator.

It was in the office of Jerry Schniepp, the San Diego Section commissioner, that Cathedral Catholic was ruled ineligible to compete for a sixth consecutive San Diego Section Division III title. The Dons were forced to forfeit all eight regular season wins for using an ineligible player. The school self-reported the infraction, which school officials said was the result of a clerical error.

The Dons hope to settle their business this year in front of crowded stadiums and Friday night lights – trappings that over recent years have been much more to their liking than the stuffy offices where last year’s playoff aspirations ended.

The Dons, who experienced heavy graduation losses, will count on a fresh crop of newcomers to help them write what they hope will be the next chapter in their football dynasty.

Running back Tony Johnson (1,202 rushing yards, 18 touchdowns); quarterback Garrett Bogart (1,148 passing yards); and receivers Xavier Williams (672 receiving yards, seven touchdowns) and Drew Gaffney (278 receiving yards) were among the most productive of the 27 players the Dons graduated.

They’re off to a good start after opening with a 38-6 trouncing of Jordan (Sandy, Utah) on Aug. 30.

Especially encouraging from a Dons standpoint was some of the newcomers excelling in their roles.

The Dons backfield tandem of seniors Chris Moliga and Joshua Gizzi combined for 244 rushing yards and three touchdowns, and junior quarterback Clayton Dale completed eight of 17 pass attempts for 110 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Moliga rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, and Gizzi gained 112 yards and one score on 20 carries. Both players rushed for 335 yards last season.

Dale attempted just 12 passes last season, completing seven for 210 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.

Junior tight end Daniel Plum, who didn’t play on the varsity last year, caught six passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns.

Santa Fe Christian:

The perennial small school power is coming off one of its best seasons ever.

Santa Fe Christian won the Division V San Diego Section championship and went on to reach the Division IV state championship game, becoming the first team in school history to do so.

The Eagles graduated 11 seniors but they return several key players, including standout senior running back Tony Miro, who rushed for 1,137 yards and 14 touchdowns on 150 carries.

Other key returnees include senior running back Jerry Harper (630 rushing yards, nine touchdowns) and junior quarterback Carter Roberts.

The Eagles opened the season with a 17-9 loss to La Costa Canyon in a nonleague game for both teams on Aug. 30, a deceptively strong showing for SFC considering it was playing a much larger enrollment Division II power.

San Diego Jewish Academy:

San Diego Jewish Academy hopes to recover from a tough 2012 season in which injuries to several key players contributed to persistent growing pains.

The Lions will hope to rebound from a tough 0-7 season with the returns of seniors Adam Sloane and Jake Posnock.

Sloane, a receiver, had to play on the offensive line after being diagnosed with a stress fracture early on.

He ended up being an All-Pacific League honorable mention at that position but his real strength is as a receiver, where the athletic and powerful 6-foot-3, 225-pounder creates difficult matchup problems for opponents.

Posnock, a two-way standout who plays middle linebacker, halfback and center, didn’t play a down all year after suffering a shoulder injury but showed up for every practice and was an inspirational force on the sideline of every game.

Both will be counted on for their leadership as the Lions look to a future without Micah Weinstein, the school’s all -time leading passer, who graduated earlier this year.