Winning start for Torrey Pines High School freshmen football team
By Walter Bays
Torrey Pines Falcon freshmen recently hosted the Mission Hills Grizzlies. Both teams came into the game off of big wins last week, Torrey Pines 41-0 over Sweetwater, and Mission Hills 25-7 over perennial powerhouse Cathedral Catholic. Torrey Pines defense shut down the Mission Hills offense and came up with the big plays when they needed them, while the Torrey Pines offense was unstoppable.
The Grizzlies received the opening kickoff and went three and out. Then on the Falcon’s opening drive they were intercepted and Mission Hills had the ball back on their own 38. After a screen pass was stopped short by #42 Zach Friedland, the Grizzlies had third and long. On a read option their back broke free for a long TD run and Mission Hills was on the board first, 7-0.
The Falcons struck right back with good runs by #29 Ryan Ramirez and #11 Sully O’Brien, before O’Brien broke loose for a 67 yard TD to tie at 7-7.
On the ensuing kickoff Mission Hills #10 Trevor Davis bobbled the ball but then recovered to run 75 yards for a touchdown putting the Grizzlies ahead 14-7.
Starting from their own 36 the Falcons kept their poise and ground out a long drive with Ramirez and O’Brien picking up 8 or more yards per carry, capped with a quarterback keeper by #4 Jackie Plashkes to tie the game again at 14-14.
Facing 3rd and 14 on their own 40 the Grizzlies went to the air, but #15 Jack Nelson delivered a big hit just as the ball arrived, the pass fell incomplete and Mission Hills had to punt it away. #34 Gaston Schenk ran for 14 yards, a penalty made it 1st and 15, then O’Brien swept left for 14. Then on 2nd and 1 #42 Zach Friedland popped through for a 33 -yard TD, and the Falcons took the lead for the first time 21-14, a lead they would not lose.
Perhaps wary of the Grizzlies breakaway return threats, Torrey Pines opted for an onside kick. It was recovered by Mission Hills on the Falcons 40. They could not capitalize on their good position, as they were stopped on the ground for a short gain by #69 Jacob Raab and then passed incomplete under pressure from #77 Connor Nichols. After a penalty and recovering their own fumble the Grizzlies facing 4th and 25 got off a short punt and Torrey Pines took over again from the Mission Hills 36.
O’Brien rambled 16 yards and then #34 Gaston Schenk scored to make it 28-14 Falcons. The Falcon defense was relentless and on their next series the quarterback was sacked by #50 Blake Gagen, causing a fumble recovered by Torrey Pines on the 32 yard line. #34 Gaston Schenk ran for 17 yards to put the Falcons in the red zone. On 2nd and 8 from the 13, #14 Chris Temby passed to #88 Joe Anthony for 10 yards.
On first and goal Ramirez bulled inside the 1, and then #22 Beau Morgans scored the TD to put the Falcons up 35-14 with still 8:06 to go in the 2nd quarter. If there was any doubt before now it was clear this would be a very long night for Mission Hills.
Mission Hills fumbled the kickoff, caused by #18 Jace Evans, and the ball was recovered by #50 Blake Gagen to start the Falcons again in Grizzlies territory on the 30. The Grizzlies defense held firm, but then on 3rd and 18 #42 Zach Friedland ran for 25 yards off a draw play, and on 3rd and 11 another TD pass put Torrey Pines up 42-14.
Starting from their own 40 the Mission Hills offense was again shut down and when they faced 4th and 3 they pretty much had to go for it. The pass was incomplete and the Falcons took over. The doughty Mission Hills defense stepped up and stopped the powerful Falcon offense. The Falcons lined up to go for it on fourth down and Mission Hills pulled their coverage in tight. The pitch was to #24 Matthew Goena who drove a punt deep into uncovered territory.
On 4-18 Mission Hills got off a squib kick, retrieved by the sure hands of #21 Jacob Leone. On the Falcons next series Plashkes connected with #35 Ryan Cesari for 23 yards, and with #22 Beau Morgans for 9 yards. #24 Matthew Goena ran 5 yards for the first down, and then #42 Zach Friedland made a 15 yard TD reception to make it 49-14.
Mission Hills had a good drive picking up 3 first downs but stalled with incomplete passes including a crucial one defended by #35 Ryan Cesari, leading to another turnover on downs.
The Falcons moved down the field on the ground with runs by #24 Matthew Goena, #10 Ben Simsiman, #16 Cole Mihalinec, and #21 Jacob Leone. Then #57 Jadon Cotton carried into the end zone to make the score 56-14. The Grizzlies put together another long drive with a good mix of running and passing, and this time took it into the end zone to climb back to 56-21.
On the final series Torrey Pines kept it on the ground, with almost every play another first down, featuring #57 Jadon Cotton, #6 Gunnar Braun, #30 Jacob Wise with back to back 12 yard carries, and #16 Cole Mihalinec threatening the Mission Hills goal line as time ran out with a final score 56-21.
Torrey Pines’ record is now 2-0 while Mission Hills falls to 1-1. On Sept. 11 Torrey Pines faces Cathedral Catholic at home, while Mission Hills hosts Bonita Vista. Both games kickoff at 5 p.m.