Top-ranked Cathedral takes care of rival Torrey Pines

Forty-eight hours before his eighth-ranked Torrey Pines football team took on No. 1 Cathedral Catholic, Falcons head coach Ron Gladnick heaped praise on the Dons.

“The reality is they’re an incredibly stacked, talented football team,” said Gladnick. “There’s a reason they’re No. 1 in the county.”

And No. 5 in the state. While the Dons were sloppy offensively in Friday’s season opener, suffering five turnovers, the defense lived up to its press clippings, leading Cathedral to a 28-14 nonleague win.

It had been two years since the San Diego Section featured Friday night football in the traditional fall season and the matchup between the two ranked teams barely two miles apart attracted a raucous sellout crowd at the Falcons’ Ed Burke Field. For Cathedral head coach Sean Doyle, the game was a tale of two phases.

“Our defense was super impressive,” he said. “Our offense was on and off. We had too many mistakes.”

Cathedral wasted no time flexing its muscles, scoring on the game’s opening drive. Senior quarterback Charlie Mirer hit tight end Max Bayles from 15 yards out six plays into the game. Doyle showed his aggressiveness on the drive, going for it on fourth-and-2 from Cathedral’s 34. Tanoai Letuli rewarded Doyle with a 55-yard run, setting up the TD.

The Dons feature a lethal one-two running back combo in Lucky Sutton and Darian Whaley. Whaley put Cathedral up 14-0 with 8:01 to play in the first half on a 27-yard run straight up the middle. In the third quarter, Sutton got into the scoring act, breaking into the second level then running away for an 80-yard touchdown, giving the Dons a 28-0 lead.

Sutton finished with 12 carries for 148 yards. Whaley had four carries for 37 yards.

Cathedral’s special teams supplied the Dons’ other touchdown. Sean Kagen blocked a punt deep in Torrey Pines territory. Dylan Joven scooped and scored from the 4.

Down 28-0 with 5:46 to play in the third quarter, Torrey Pines — which lost to Cathedral 41-0 in the short spring season — could have folded. Instead, the Falcons began grinding away with their Wing-T running game and played keep away.

Alex Taylor capped a 14-play, 80-yard drive early in the fourth quarter with a 1-yard score. From 5:46 to play in the third quarter until 1:25 left in the game, Torrey ran 25 of the 26 plays from scrimmage. The Falcons recovered an onside kick in the stretch, plus recovered a fumble. Taylor scored his second TD, this one from 2 yards, with 1:25 to play.

“We were honest with our kids,” said Gladnick. “We knew how good (Cathedral) was. We told them to battle, put their bodies on people, tackle hard and be physical. Our kids did that. I’m very proud of them.”

A sign in front of the Cathedral Catholic student section read: “We Run Del Mar Heights Road.”

The Dons have won seven straight meetings between the neighbors.

Norcross is a freelance writer.


Cathedral Catholic 28, Torrey Pines 14

Cathedral Catholic 7 14 7 0 — 28

Torrey Pines 0 0 0 14 — 14

CC — Bayles 15 pass from Mirer (Cheek kick)

CC — Whaley 27 run (Cheek kick)

CC — Joven 4 blocked punt return (Cheek kick)

CC — Sutton 80 run (Cheek kick)

TP — Taylor 1 run (Sisson kick)

TP — Taylor 2 run (Sisson kick)