Torrey Pines Varsity Football 2016

September 1, 2016

Record: 4-2

8/26 Steele Canyon at home WIN 20-6

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

2015 Div 1 semi-finalist
Union Tribune’s players to watch:
Mikel Oliver, Jr., TE-DL
Kyree Woods, Sr., OL-DL

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

Union Tribune’s #1 pick in Coastal League
Players to watch:
Caleb Phillips, Sr. MLB
Conner Whitten, Sr. QB

9/9 Fallbrook at home WIN 20-0

9/16 El Camino at home WIN 7-3

Falcons Soar over Wildcats

2015 Div 1 finalist
Players to watch:
Chris Brown, Jr. RB-LB
Jaden Casey, Jr. QB
Malu Malotumau, Sr. DE

9/23 Westview at home WIN 27-0

Falcons Subdue Wolverines

#2 pick in Palomar League
Players to watch:
Emeka Anyanwu, Sr. DB
AJ Leonard, Sr. RB
Beau Nelson, Jr. QB

10/7 San Marcos at home LOSS 31-38

San Marcos Wins Wild Shootout

2015 Div 1 quarter-finalist
Players to watch:
Bryson Bolin, Sr. QB
Kyle Philips, Jr. WR
Tyler Rogers, Sr. RB

10/14 at Oceanside

2015 Div 1 champion
#1 pick in Avocado League
Players to watch:
Jake Gerardi, Sr. TE-DE-PK
Azizi Hearn, Sr. WR-DB | Sr.
Donovan Laie, Jr. OT | Jr.
Tanner Schaul, Sr. LB-RB

10/21 Carlsbad at home

Players to watch:
Cameron Thomas, Sr. TE-DE

10/28 at Mission Hills

Players to watch:
Jack Tuttle, Jr. QB

11/4 at La Costa Canyon

Players to watch:
Tanner Clark, Sr. QB
Harper Engemann, Sr. FS
Zach Goodkin, Sr. WR-RB
Taj Sherman, Sr. LB

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.

Falcons Tame Cougars

September 1, 2016

Torrey Pines Falcons won 23-10 over the Steele Canyon Cougars, a Division 1 semi-finalist last season. Torrey Pines opened the game looking like the young team they are, clearly struggling against the talent packed Cougars, rushing 6 times for net 1 yard and attempting one pass which fell incomplete. Meanwhile the Cougars rushed 11 times for 36 yards and completed 4 of 6 passes for 54 yards, scoring the game’s first points on a field goal.DSC_6967

Photo / Anna Scipione
Michael Gadinis breaks tackle

As the second quarter opened the Falcons had made offensive and defensive adjustments, beginning to get defensive penetration into the Cougar backfield. I mark the turning point as a sack by Jacob Schneider forcing the Cougars to punt. A line drive bouncing punt rolled to the 5, but the Falcon offense started mixing up their formations and play calls and the Cougars never regained their balance. Torrey Pines drove 90 yards including a 19 yard catch by Mac Bingham breaking tackles all the way, long runs by Sully O’Brien, Jack Nelson, and Bingham, and catches by Scotty Gange and Beau Morgans, capped by a Tanner Wyandt field goal to tie at 3-3.

Steele Canyon had to change formation to put another man in the backfield to protect the pocket, but the Falcon secondary kept tight coverange and Cougar quarterback Thomas Fishburne had trouble all night finding an open receiver finishing the night with a very respectable 16 of 24 for 145 yards and 1 interception, but also scrambled 11 times for net 14 yards. Meanwhile Cougar designed runs netted 43 yards in 14 carries. By contrast after the adjustments Torrey Pines rushed 24 times for 193 yards and completed 8 of 12 passes for 197 yards and 1 interception, with sophomore quarterback Miles Hastings showing exceptional poise. On the Falcon’s next possession they drove for a touchdown from their own 12 yard line. Michael Gadinis caught a pass and broke a tackle for 43 yards and three plays later Hastings found Gange in the end zone for the score. With 52 seconds remaining in the half the Falcon defense flexed, kept the clock running, and the Cougars ran out of time ending the half behind 10-3.

On the first play of the second half Hastings hit Gadinas, Gabe Gymr made a key block, and Gadinas scored to make it 17-3. The Cougars ground out a 17 play 48 yard drive stalled on sacks by Schneider and Bingham, and when a fourth down pass was tipped the Falcons took over on their own 22. Midway through the fourth quarter the Cougars clawed back to 17-10 with a solid drive. But on the first play after the kickoff Luke Duerr burst through the line and ran 74 yards for a touchdown, and the Cougars were tamed, making increasingly desperate calls as time ticked away. A deep pass was intercepted by Morgans and run back all the way to the Cougar 38, from where the Falcons methodically used up the remaining four minutes. With first and goal at the 4, Hastings sportingly and wisely took knees until the clock ran out.

Falcons Playoff Bid Ended by El Camino

November 24, 2015

The scoreboard read Home 14 Guests 10 and senior Falcon running back Tristen Alesi sat dejectedly on the bench thinking of the catch he missed at the two minute mark. As the ball fell to the ground so ended Torrey Pines’ season and hopes of a victory over El Camino in the CIF quarter finals. Never mind that Alesi took crushing hits as the ball arrived from not one but two Wildcat defenders to shake the ball loose. Never mind that he was left flat in the end zone tended by the trainers for long minutes afterward. IF ONLY. If only he had managed to hang onto the ball the Falcons would have had another last minute win in their season of clutch victories, like when Torrey Pines defeated El Camino 17-13 in the regular season in the final seconds.

Coaches and teammates came over to, I imagine, try to talk some sense into Alesi and I hope they succeeded. I’m sure they reminded him that the main reason the Falcons were in the position to win with that pass was Alesi’s outstanding performance in the game, rushing for 47 yards and catching passes for 123 yards. He was also a big part of the reason the Falcons were in the playoffs at all. Of course he had plenty of help from his teammates. Senior running back Matthew Feeler rushed for 64 yards in the game, and made key catches, and first downs. There were also names you didn’t hear called often from the booth like junior tight end Michael Gadinis who against El Camino in the regular season caught pass after pass including a last second game winning toss. All this night El Camino had him double covered, but that left holes for the Falcon running backs or left them open for passes.

All year I’ve tried to call out all the players who have made a difference, but I know I’ve fallen short. Who was the lineman who opened the hole for Luke Duerr to run 30 yards? I missed his number. Who was the defensive back who deflected the pass? I missed his number. The Falcon victories to come so far were team efforts. When key players went out with injuries the team never gave up, even playing one of the toughest schedules in the county. So when senior quarterback Caden Kelley went out we saw senior Ben Spitters step in with poise, as did junior Johnny Hastings. We saw running backs Duerr, Jacob Montes, and Sully O’Brien step up to the challenge. We saw players like Kelley and Alesi come back from injuries to rally their team into the playoffs. So although that pass fell incomplete and the Falcons’ playoff run ended, this team showed us all and each other what they could do together. Torrey Pines is losing a lot of talent to graduation, but next year they know how to close ranks, fill the gaps, and support one another to strive for victory.

The Falcon offense moved the ball well but could not capitalize in the red zone, and you have to give credit to the Wildcat defense. On defense the Falcons contained El Camino most of the time, but allowed the big plays and you have to give credit to the Wildcat offense and stars like Chris Brown. On their first series the Falcons looked unstoppable with Alesi, Feeler, and Duerr picking up big gains, but the drive stalled on the Wildcat 30 where they turned the ball over on downs. El Camino seized the momentum when, after appearing to go 3 and out, the punter took the snap and ran for a first down. The drive was capped by a 37 yard touchdown run for the game’s first score.

Early in the 2nd quarter Alesi caught a pass, juked the defenders, and rambled 50 yards to the Wildcat 21 where the drive stalled and Luc D’Arcy hit a field goal to make it 7-3. Torrey Pines had another chance when Ty Helfrich, in at quarterback, ran 18 yards to the Wildcat 33 then Jacob Montes and Duerr carried for another 1st down at the 23. A lost fumble ended the Falcon threat and El Camino threatened in turn until Alesi picked off a Wildcat pass on the 9 as the half ended.

Torrey Pines opened the 2nd half and after a sack faced 3rd and 22 from their 24. Kelley hit Alesi with enough for the first down and Alesi kept going sprinting past the secondary all the way to the 3. But the Falcons couldn’t punch it in with 4 tries. On the last attempt Feeler was brought down not by a Wildcat defender but by a slick spot on the turf as he tried to make a cut. El Camino took over on their 1 foot line and on 3rd and 9 Chris Brown popped through for a 98 yard touchdown run to go ahead 14-3.

The Falcons came right back with Alesi running for 30 yards, 1st and goal at the 5. Again El Camino’s goal line defense held, pushing Torrey Pines back to 3rd and goal at the 19, when Kelley found O’Brien in the end zone for the touchdown. 14-10. Torrey Pines’ defense then held the Wildcats. Feeler read a screen pass all the way to tackle the receiver for a loss. Then Kim Murray sacked the quarterback for a loss and El Camino had to punt it away on 4th and 17 from their 21. The Falcons’ final drive was a messy one, with many good runs and pass completions but also many penalties against both teams. Taking 8 minutes on the clock the Falcons drove from their 39 to 4th and goal at the Wildcat 3, turning it over on the incomplete pass. Though all the Falcons on the field and in the stands wished for one more last minute come from behind win, we never lacked for exciting football this year.


Tristen Alesi makes 73 yard reception. Photo by Anna Scipione

See complete schedule and results for varsity, junior varsity, and freshman teams.