Torrey Pines Varsity Football 2016

September 1, 2016

Record: 8-2 League Champions

8/26 Steele Canyon at home WIN 20-6

Carmel Valley News story is now available online as well as in the print edition:

9/2 Santa Fe Christian at home LOSS 0-31

9/9 Fallbrook at home WIN 20-0

9/16 El Camino at home WIN 7-3

Falcons Soar over Wildcats

9/23 Westview at home WIN 27-0

Falcons Subdue Wolverines

10/7 San Marcos at home LOSS 31-38

San Marcos Wins Wild Shootout

10/14 at Oceanside WIN 32-28

10/21 Carlsbad at home WIN 21-14

Falcons Upend Lancers

10/28 at Mission Hills WIN 33-14

Falcons Tame Grizzlies

11/4 at La Costa Canyon WIN 41-9

Carmel Valley News story is now available online as well as in the print edition:


First Round 11/18 at Cathedral Catholic (10-0)

Preview story in the Union-Tribune:


Falcons Lasso Mavericks

November 11, 2016

When a junior running back breaks long gains all night, running for four touchdowns and catching another touchdown pass, in a 41-9 drubbing of rival La Costa Canyon and the Avocado League championship, the story writes itself. But that’s not the story that running back, Sully O’Brien, would tell. I watched him as JV star last year in pre-game warm ups. As backup quarterbacks practiced on the sidelines, who was shagging balls for them? Sully. So I think his story of the Falcons’ win would feature his teammates, starting with Luke Duerr. In the fourth quarter Torrey Pines was backed up to their own 6 yard line. Then a Falcon streaked downfield outdistancing all his pursuers. Of course I expected to see O’Brien’s number again, but outrunning the Maverick secondary was Duerr, the power back who normally makes his yardage by running straight over would-be tacklers. I haven’t seen that combination of speed and power since Earl Campbell. His 78 yard gain set up O’Brien’s fifth touchdown two plays later.

Then there’s Carson Ward with a 30 yard touchdown run of his own, Gabe Gmyr whose fancy footwork sheds tacklers like teflon, quarterback Jason Heine whose running gives Torrey Pines a triple option threat, and of course the offensive line which opens those holes. See “Cerebral lineman thrives in Torrey Pines’ wing-T offense”, San Diego Union Tribune, 11/5/16,

Even when the Falcons keep it mostly on the ground as they did against the Mavericks, the aerial game keeps the defense honest. Quarterback Miles Hastings hit Michael Gadinas for a 24 yard gain in the first quarter, loosening up the defense, and connected with O’Brien for screen passes in crucial third down conversions.

Don’t forget the defenders. The Maverick quarterback was pressured all night while their receivers were covered by Falcon defenders including Peter Nelson and Nick Clapp. Trailing 20-3 as the second half opened LCC was driving to get back into the game. A pass completion to the Falcon 20 would have set them up to score, but Clapp stripped the ball and Beau Morgans grabbed it and sprinted to the Maverick 25, and Torrey Pines scored to go up 27-3.

An LCC pass into the end zone would have gone for a touchdown but was knocked away by Johnny Hastings. Then on third and seven Falcons swarmed into the backfield for a sack and LCC went for it on fourth down. Ty Helfrich and Kevin Misak sacked the quarterback for a huge loss and turnover on downs.

On their next series the Maverick receivers couldn’t beat Clapp’s coverage on the sidelines. Then they threw for the end zone but Clapp made the interception giving Torrey Pines the ball at their own 4. After Duerr’s big run Torrey Pines was up 34-3. Falcon defenders stripped the ball on a quarterback keeper and again had the ball in Maverick territory at the 30. It took just one play, a run by Ward, to put the Falcons up 41-3.

Torrey Pines has a first round bye and opens playoffs November 18 at Cathedral Catholic.


Nick Clapp’s night included a forced fumble and interception. Photo Anna Scipione


Sully O’Brien carried for four TD’s and caught for one. Photo Anna Scipione

Falcons Tame Grizzlies

November 11, 2016

I was out of town for this game, so for the story I bring you the always excellent tweets from @Torrey PinesFB_2016, lightly edited. I’ll credit him by name, with permission.

The Torrey Pines Falcons won on the road against the Mission Hills Grizzlies, 33-14. Let’s go to the action on the field.

The Falcons kickoff to start the game. Touchback. Grizzlies ball on the 20. Defense starts strong. 3 and out. Grizzlies punt fair caught at our 40.

Opening carry by Heine gains 12. Duerr adds 9 more on the next play. Falcons facing 4th and 2 from the 26. Fumble. Grizzlies return to the Falcon 40. Unsportsmanlike conduct brings it back 15. Grizzlies drive into the red zone. 1st and 10 from the 20. 1st and goal for Grizzlies from the 8. Mission Hills TD. PAT good. 7-0, 2:33 left in 1st.

Hastings pass to Gadinis good for a 1st down and moves the ball to midfield. End of 1st: Torrey Pines 0, Mission Hills 7.

Duerr powers for 16 yards to push the Falcons into the red zone. 1st and goal at the 9. Duerr crosses the line for a TOUCHDOWN FALCONS. Alworth PAT good. Tied at 7, 8:55

Mission Hills breaks off a 70-yard run to the 1 yard line. QB keeper, TD Grizzlies. PAT good. 14-7, 7:48

Facing 4th and inches, the Falcons convert for a 1st and 10 from the Grizzlies 37. On the sneaky reverse, Gmyr carries 30-yards for a TOUCHDOWN FALCONS. Alworth PAT good. 14-14. 2:48 left in half.

With 1:13 left in half, Falcon D forces a Grizzlies punt. Fair catch. 1st and 10 at our 30. Halftime: Mission Hills and Torrey Pines tied at 14

We are back on the field for the 2nd half. Falcons back to receive. No return. 1st and 10, at the 20. The reverse works again. This time Beau Morgans picks up 16 to put the ball on the Falcon 35. Montes carries the ball into Grizzlies territory. 1st down on the 38. Torrey is in the red zone on a Heine carry. 1st down on the 16. Sully carries the ball to the 4. 1st and goal. 3rd and goal from the 1, and Duerr converts for a TOUCHDOWN FALCONS. PAT good. 21-14, Torrey Pines. 3:28

Falcon defender Schneider goes off and forces a punt. Punter attacked by Scotty Gange for a SAFETY FALCONS!! Add 2 for us. 23-14, 1:35 End of 3rd: Torrey Pines 23, Mission Hills 14

Sully sweeps right and flies down the sideline to open the 4th and carries the ball to the Grizzlies 28. Alworth splits the uprights for a 38-yard FIELDGOAL FALCONS. 26-14, Torrey Pines. 9:41

On 4th and a foot for the Grizzlies the Falcon D pounds the line and holds!! 1st and 10 from the MH 42. From the 22, Gmyr runs around the left side to pick up a first and puts us in the red zone. 4:55 Falcons recover our own fumble and lose 3-yards. Ball on 16. Duerr carries to the 6, 4th and 1. Falcons call time out to consider going for it. 2:33.

We are lined up to go for it!!! FIRST DOWN!!! (Barely!!!) 1st and goal, on the 5. 2:27 The Falcons score again as Sully weaves his way into the endzone for a TOUCHDOWN FALCONS. Alworth PAT good. 33-14, Torrey Pines. 2:20

Louis Bickett owns the air defense tonight. Great pass coverage all night. 2. :21 left. Grizzlies ball on our 28. Schneider and Helfrich sack the Grizzlies QB. Ball now on the 42. Final score: Torrey Pines 33, Mission Hills 14


Louis Bickett leads Falcon pass coverage. Photo Anna Scipione


Scotty Gange added a safety. Photo Anna Scipione

Falcons Upend Lancers

November 11, 2016

I was out of town for this game, so for the story I bring you the always excellent tweets from @TPFB_2016, lightly edited. I’ll credit him by name, with permission.

The Carlsbad Lancers visited the Torrey Pines Falcons who prevailed in a tough fought game, 21-14. Let’s go to the action on the field.

Hastings and Gadinis connect to move the sticks for the first time this game. Ball on our 38. The Falcon drive stalls on our 45. Punt.

Lancers take over on offense on their 19. Lancers go 3 and out. Punt. Falcon ball on our 42. Lancer apparent TD called back on a holding penalty. Ball on the Falcon 28, 1st and 18. End of 1st quarter: Torrey Pines and Carlsbad scoreless The Lancers are first on the board with a 43-yard TD pass. PAT good. 7-0, 8:57 left

André Meiers returns the kick from the 1 to the Lancer 48. Shifty running QB Jason Heine move the Falcons to the 29. Sully O’Brien carries the ball to the 3. 1st and goal Falcons. Duerr crashes through the middle of the line for a TOUCHDOWN FALCONS. Alworth PAT good. We are tied at 7. 4:56

Carlsbad touchdown. PAT good. 14-7, 2:57 Halftime: Carlsbad 14, Torrey Pines 7

We’ve kicked off for the 2nd half at TPHS. Lancer ball. Kevin Misak and David Niddrie going off on D forces a Lancer punt. Falcon ball on our 27. End of the 3rd: Carlsbad 14, Torrey Pines 7

The Falcons are in the red zone. 1st and 10 from the 11. QB keeper by Heine for a TOUCHDOWN FALCONS. Alworth PAT good. Tied at 14. 10:27

Falcons have the ball in the red zone again. 3rd and 4 from the 14. Duerr carries the ball for 4 yards. 1st and goal Falcons are on the half yard line facing 4th down. Time out to think about it. 2:58 Falcons are going for it. …… Duerr goes untouched up the middle for a TOUCHDOWN FALCONS. Alworth PAT good. 21-14, Falcons. 2:54

Lancer pass picked off by Clapp at our 47!!!!!!! 1:42 O’Brien carries across midfield. Carlsbad timeout. They have 2 remaining. 1:34 Falcon ball on the 42, facing 3rd and 3. O’Brien carries for 2.

4th down Timeout Carlsbad. 1:20 Falcons line up to go for it. 1st down Falcons!!! Carlsbad out of timeouts. :53 left. Taking a knee to run out the clock for the win. Final score: Carlsbad 14, Torrey Pines 21


Torrey Pines’ kicker, Nino Alworth. Photo Anna Scipione

San Marcos Wins Wild Shootout

October 11, 2016

In the most exciting game of the year the San Marcos Knights visited the Torrey Pines Falcons. The Knights had outscored their five previous opponents 169-117 while the Falcons defense allowed just 3 points in the previous three games. Ball control of the San Marcos offense contrasted to Torrey Pines’ big plays, and the lead changed repeatedly.

Sully O’Brien took the first snap of the game 80 yards to put the Falcons ahead 7-0. After breaking one tackle at the line of scrimmage and then juking a safety, nobody had the speed to catch him. San Marcos came back with an 80 yard drive including a fourth down conversion to tie the game at 7. Andre Mieiers ran the ensuing kickoff back 91 yards, and Gabe Gmyr ran for the touchdown to put Torrey Pines back on top.

In Q2 Torrey Pines lost a fumble on a backwards pass and the Knights quickly capitalized to tie at 14. O’Brien made a 45 yard run but San Marcos’ defense held and took over on downs. They attempted a 47 yard field goal after their drive stalled, but it was no good. Late in the half Luke Duerr scampered for 43 yards but time ran out and the half ended tied.

San Marcos took the second half kickoff 68 yards, were stalled by Kevin Misak, and kicked a 27 yard field goal to go ahead 17-14. On the Falcons’ first snap, Duerr ran 80 yards for a 21-17 lead. Carsen Gentes intercepted to start Torrey Pines near midfield but they went three and out, as did San Marcos.

Q4 opened putting football wins and losses into perspective. Running back Quadir Talley made a nice gain but he and the ball went down separately as he was scissored between two tacklers, and did not get back up. Trainers tended him unmoving as play was suspended for 40 long minutes, with fans not knowing his injury. The loudest cheers of the night came not for the big plays, but when as Quadir was loaded into the ambulance he raised his hand and waved to the crowd. Everyone’s thoughts and prayers are with the Talley family for his full recovery, so much more important than a win.

When play resumed, San Marcos drove for a touchdown to go up 24-21. O’Brien again streaked downfield, but the Knights did have one player who could match his speed, and caught him by a shoestring on the Knight 21. Torrey Pines had to settle for a field goal to tie 24-24. Falcon kicker Joey Matsen hit every field goal and extra point all night.

With 1:37 remaining San Marcos tried desperately to score. Misak sacked the quarterback, then Gmyr diagnosed a flea flicker and with 7 seconds left on the 11 San Marcos tried a field goal. It was blocked by Mieiers and the game went into overtime.

Torrey Pines scored on a pass from Miles Hastings to Michael Gadinis. Then San Marcos scored to enter double overtime tied 31-31. San Marcos scored, then Torrey Pines took over. On fourth and two at the 17 the Falcons tried to draw the Knights offsides to no avail. A pass was just off the fingertips of Gadinas and the game ended with a San Marcos win, 38-31.

dsc_8538mGabe Gmyr scores Falcons’ second touchdown. Photo Anna Scipione


Falcon running back Quadir Talley. Photo Anna Scipione

Falcons Subdue Wolverines

October 6, 2016

On its first posession Torrey Pines drove the length of the field converting two fourth downs to take an early lead. Luke Duerr picked up one first down, then later on 4th and 3 quarterback Miles Hastings hit Scotty Gange for 25 yards, first and goal, and Duerr carried it into the end zone. The extra point was missed and the Falcons were up 6-0. After that there was no score until a wild fourth quarter, which is not to say that nothing happened in the tense battle of field position.

Westview picked up just 5 first downs through 3 quarters, two of those on penalties. Andre Mieiers diagnosed a screen pass forcing the Wolverines 3 and out. Gabe Gmyr, Jacob Schneider, and Yujay Kurosu each made tackles ending two drives, and Kevin Misak three.

Late in the second quarter with the Falcons pinned back on their 5, Duerr gained enough breathing room to allow a decent punt, so Westview had 35 yards to cover in the last two minutes. After a 9 yard sack by Misak, Westview took to the air and Mieiers deflected two passes in the corner of the end zone to deny them a score before halftime.

With 3 minutes in the third quarter Westview got an opportunity when a personal foul penalty gave them first down across midfield. Westview quarterback Beau Nelson had fumbled a high snap and players were diving for the ball. Unfortunately for the Falcons, Nelson got there first and Schneider’s dive carried him into Nelson, drawing the flag. Then on 3rd and 6 Misak sacked Nelson and Westview punted.

On the next series Schneider was right back in the Wolverine backfield, causing a fumble recovered by Torrey Pines. Duerr picked up 15 yards and a first down, then Gmyr ran 20 yards to make it 13-0. On the kickoff Chris Temby shed a block to tackle the returner as he caught the ball on the 12. Kurosu got another sack, Westview punted, and Mieiers slipped tacklers for a good return putting Torrey Pines on the Wolverine 28.

A couple of plays later it looked like Duerr was stopped for a short gain. That’s how it looked to Westview. That’s not how it looked to Duerr who runs over anyone who fails to make certain he’s on the ground, and he went 20 yards for a touchdown, 20-0. With 2:46 Westview was throwing it long, and Tanner Watkins intercepted to the 19. Ty Helfrich carried to the 2, 1st and goal, then punched it in for the final score, 27-0. Torrey Pines has a 4-1 record and plays next at home Oct. 7 against San Marcos, a 2015 Division 1 quarter-finalist.


Luke Duerr Ran For Two Touchdowns. Photo Anna Scipione


Gabe Gmyr 20 yard touchdown run. Photo Anna Scipione


Torrey Pines’ biggest fan, Vice-Principal Garry Thornton, watches from the sidelines. Photo Anna Scipione


Falcons Soar over Wildcats

October 6, 2016

Torrey Pines defeated El Camino 7-3 with the defense denying a touchdown to a dangerous Wildcat offense. Running out of the shotgun, Wildcat QB Christian Betz would run, pass, or block for Chris Brown and Marcus Parsons, and big plays were always a risk. Time and again a swarming Falcon defense would make a big tackle ending a Wildcat drive and forcing a punt or field goal try. Special mention goes to Gabe Gmyr, Andre Mieiers, Ty Helfrich, Mac Bingham, Louis Bickett, Kevin Misak, Michael Perrone, and Jacob Schneider.

Correction: Mac Bingham was sidelined by injury for this game.

The first quarter was a punting duel with no score as the Falcons turned the ball over on downs deep in Wildcat territory twice, and the Wildcats turned it over once. In the second quarter Luke Duerr juked would be tacklers for 14 yards and a first down. Then as defenders took a fake to Duerr, Sully O’Brien streaked 63 yards for the game’s only touchdown.

The second half opened with a 25 yard pass from Miles Hastings to Michael Gadinas, and a 22 yard run by Scotty Gange, but the threat ended on a Falcon fumble loss. The Wildcats came back, converting on 4th down and driving to the Falcon 14 where Perrone batted down a pass and they had to settle for a field goal. Neither team could move the ball well after that until Torrey Pines took over at their 22 with 5:11 remaining. Duerr ran 30 yards to the Wildcat 48, and the Falcons kept it on the ground. Duerr, Gmyr, and O’Brien picked up key first downs as Torrey Pines held the ball and ran out the clock. When Duerr picked up another first down at the 6 with no Wildcat timeouts remaining, all that remained was for Hastings to take knees for the win.

El Camino drops to a 1-3 record. Torrey Pines is now 3-1 overall and 1-0 in league play, and takes on Westview at home September 23.


Sully O’Brien runs 63 yards for touchdown. Photo by Anna Scipione


Luke Duerr breaks through the line. Photo by Anna Scipione

Falcons Shut Out Fallbrook

September 16, 2016

Torrey Pines defeated Fallbrook 20-0 in a defensive show featuring sacks, blocked punts, and five interceptions. The first half was scoreless as neither team could move the ball. Rather, the Falcons couldn’t move the ball and avoid penalties, as they had several breakaway plays called back. Torrey Pines’ first opportunity came with 5:35 in the half when Jacob Schneider tipped a pass and Nick Clapp intercepted to set up the Falcons at midfield, but they went three and out. Then a Warrior punt was partially blocked and the Falcons had 14 seconds remaining at the Fallbrook 38. A pass was just out of Scotty Gange’s fingertips in the end zone and the half ended.

Falcon defenders including Ty Helfrich, Louis Bickett, Gabe Gmyr, Jack Nelson, Carson Ward, and Michael Perrone kept close coverage on receivers and pressured the QB all night. Fallbrook tried the shotgun but had ball handling problems. A high snap resulted in a sack, then overcompensating, the next snap was low and fumbled. After another high snap was fumbled the Fallbrook QB stayed under center for the second half.


Andre Mieiers made 3 of 5 Falcon interceptions. Photo by Anna Sciplione




As the second half opened Falcon senior DB Andre Mieiers picked the first of three interceptions. The Falcons stopped themselves with penalties again, but then Falcon defenders hit the QB as he released the ball which was intercepted by Mieiers and run back to the Fallbrook 18. Luke Duerr ran for the score and Nino Alworth added the extra point, 7-0. After a partially blocked punt the Falcons started from the Fallbrook 29 and Gmyr ran for the score, 13-0. Mieier snatched his third pick to start Torrey Pines at the Fallbrook 26, Gmyr picked up a first down and Sully O’Brien ran for the score, 20-0.

In the fourth quarter Fallbrook was given an opportunity as Torrey Pines lost a fumble on their 34. But Carsen Gentes dashed their hopes with an interception in the end zone sealing the shutout win. Torrey Pines plays Friday at home against El Camino.