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.


Falcons soar over Eagles

November 17, 2015

Torrey Pines won the first round of CIF Division 1 playoffs against visiting Olympian, 21-14. The Falcons threatened first driving 72 yards in 18 plays to the Eagle 8 yard line where for the first time all year kicker Luc D’Arcy missed a short field goal. The Eagles then drove 59 yards to the Falcon 21 where Ty Helfrich recovered a fumble. Two plays later Torrey Pines quarterback Caden Kelley making his return from injury hit Scotty Gange who had found his way behind the Olympian coverage and then outran the defenders 76 yards into the end zone for the game’s first score. A D’Arcy extra point made it 7-0 Falcons. With just over a minute in the half Tristin Alesi took a pitch and ran for 27 yards to the Eagle 21, then Michael Gadinis caught a touchdown pass to go up 14-0.

Olympian fought back in the second half driving 85 yards in 15 plays to score, 14-7. Jacob Montes took the kickoff return 31 yards to the Eagle 49, Luke Duerr ran 23 yards, but then the Falcon drive stalled. D’Arcy was called in for another field goal attempt and again hit the upright. Olympian responded with an 80 yard 11 play scoring drive to tie 14-14. With 3:42 left in the game Duerr broke through the line for 36 yards to the Eagle 19. On 2nd and 6 Duerr was apparently stopped at the line of scrimmage but dragged his would be tacklers along to the 6 for first and goal. Alesi ran it to the 1 and then Montes scored the winning touchdown, with a D’Arcy extra point, 21-14. Olympian’s final comeback attempt was thwarted when after a pass completion near midfield a Falcon, perhaps Montes, stripped the receiver of the ball and Beau Morgans recovered. [Update: as reported by KUSI it was Collin Alston who stripped the ball.]

Duerr finished the night with 6 rushes for 77 yards, Alesi 4 for 45, and Matthew Feeler 10 for 45. Kelley was 6 of 11 passing for 128 yards. Crucial tackles and pass defenses were made by Gadinis, Feeler, Steven Mason, Jared Rosen, and DJ Jackson. This week in the second playoff round Torrey Pines travels to El Camino for a rematch, having defeated the Wildcats 17-13 at home in the regular season.


3rd and 8 at the 24. Caden Kelley spots Scotty Gange behind defenders. Photo by Anna Scipione


Scotty Gange outruns defenders for 76 yard TD catch. Photo by Anna Scipione


And nobody can catch him. Photo by Anna Scipione




Torrey Pines Returns Surfboard to LCC

November 12, 2015

The golden surfboard trophy went back to La Costa Canyon as the Mavericks defeated the Falcons 13-3 in a game where both teams had as much trouble hanging onto the football as a surfer hanging onto a surfboard with no tether. In the first half the Falcons outpaced the Mavericks with 231 yards of offense to 200 yards, but suffered two turnovers. The game opened with Johhny Hastings under center, who would share quarterback duties with Ben Spitters all game, and the Falcons drove from their 13 to the Maverick 12 on the running of Luke Duerr and Jacob Montes where a fumble gave LCC the ball. The defense held, the Mavericks got a good punt bounce, and Torrey Pines was right back at their 12.

For the first time the Falcons showed a different look than their normal Wing T, lining up in the shotgun. Montes took a direct snap, shot through the hole and picked up 30 yards. But the Falcons second drive also ended in a turnover with an interception on the LCC 39. Maverick quarterback Tanner Clark completed 2 of 2 passes and scored on a keeper to put LCC ahead 7-0. LCC drove to the Falcon 8 before a tackle in the backfield by Jared Rosen forced them to settle for a field goal, 10-0.

Torrey Pines came right back moving from their 20 to the Maverick 44 where it was 4th and 4. Luc D’Arcy took the snap but instead of punting he threw to Thomas Stearn for a first down at the 30. Matthew Feeler picked up 12 more but the drive stalled on the 8, fourth and less than 1, and the LCC defense held to take over on downs. The Maverick’s next play was a long pass carried into the end zone, but fumbled out of the end zone so the Falcons took over again at their 20. The teams traded punts, with LCC on the short end of the trade, and Torrey Pines started at midfield in the final minute of the half. Spitters passed to #14 and to Tristen Alesi to the 7, and as time ran out the Falcons finally got on the board with a field goal. LCC 10-3.

The Mavericks opened the second half driving from their 8 to the Falcon 1 where Beau Morgans recovered a fumble for the Falcons. From there it was a defensive struggle until LCC drove to the Falcon 29 and made a 46 yard field goal to go up 13-3. In the fourth quarter the Falcons alternated quarterbacks, with Feeler and Duerr running big gains, but stalled at the Maverick 38. D’Arcy angled his punt to go out of bounds on the 4. But LCC ground out first downs as the clock ticked away to victory.

Torrey Pines ends the season with a 3-7 record including many tough non-conference opponents, but has a 2-2 record in the Palomar league and so is seeded in the playoffs Nov. 13 at Torrey Pines.


Jacob Montes bursts through for 30 yards. Photo by Anna Scipione

Mavericks Deal JV Falcons end of Season Loss

November 12, 2015

Torrey Pines JV suffered a tough season closing loss to visiting La Costa Canyon, 23-7. In the first half the Falcon offense managed just 35 yards and 2 first downs while quarterback Chris Temby completed 1 of 8 pass attempts. As in previous games a tenacious defense kept the Falcons in the game, holding the Mavericks to 114 yards and completing 5 of 12 passes with two interceptions. Indeed halftime would have been a scoreless tie but for a single sustained Maverick drive of 67 yards mixing running and passing to go ahead 7-0. Other Maverick drives were halted on interceptions by Louis Bickett and Gaston Schenk, who also made big stops on runs.

In the second half Torrey Pines’ offense picked up 149 yards, 9 first downs and a touchdown, completing 9 of 16 passes. Meanwhile the Falcon defense held La Costa Canyon to just 3 first downs. They threw only 3 passes with 1 completion and 1 interception. But the Mavericks still made 170 yards total offense and 16 points mostly on a few big plays to seal their victory.

The opening play of the half was a 78 yard touchdown run, putting the Mavericks up 13-0 after Bickett blocked the extra point. The teams traded punts and then Torrey Pines, needing to get something going and facing 4th and less than a yard at their 36 went for it, and came up short. The Mavericks ran the next snap into the end zone to go ahead 20-0. As the 3rd quarter was ending La Costa Canyon passed deep downfield and were picked off by Peter Nelson. Starting on their 10 the Falcons drove impressively with Temby completing pass after pass to Connor Munoz and to Jack Nelson, who also broke tackles to run for 18 yards. But the drive fizzled and trailing by 20 in the 4th quarter they had to try to convert on 4th and 4, and with an incomplete pass turned the ball over.

The Mavericks had their only completion of the half with the quarterback throwing backward to the halfback who lobbed a deep spiral to the Falcon 10. Three plays later they’d been pushed back to the 17 and settled for a field goal to lead 23-0. Torrey Pines’ scoring drive came halfway through the 4th quarter starting from their 14. Peter Nelson picked up 8 yards on a reverse and Jack Nelson ran for two first downs. Ryan Cesari and Peter Nelson caught passes, then Jack Nelson took a screen pass breaking tackles 29 yards to score the game’s final points, 23-7. Torrey Pines finished the season with a 5-5 record and a lot of talent to take into next year’s Falcon varsity team.


Jack Nelson touchdown reception. Photo by Anna Scipione

Falcons Fall Short at Mount Carmel

November 6, 2015

The good news for the Falcons as they lost a hard fought game at Mt. Carmel 17-14 is that Sundevil Lucas Johnson will be playing for SDSU next year. The dual-threat quarterback bedeviled the Falcon defense and led a come from behind drive to cap the game. Beau Morgans may have set a personal record for number of tackles, but it’s not good news for the defense when a defensive back makes so many stops on running plays. Mt. Carmel scored first with a field goal after a 54 yard drive that stalled on a 3rd down tackle by Matthew Feeler.

Ben Spitters went out with an injury and Johnny Hastings took over as Falcon quarterback, driving 54 yards to the Sundevil 9 on a 31 yard pass to Lukas Braun and running of Luke Duerr. But then the Sundevils recovered a fumble and drove the ball back, Johnson running and passing, and running back Rashid Shaheed picking up yardage. Johnson passed to convert a 4th down, and then completed a 34 yard touchdown pass to go up 10-0 as the half ended.

Sully O’Brien opened the 2nd half returning the kickoff from the 5 to the 30, then Feeler broke free and carried 65 yards to the Sundevil 5, and Feeler ran for the touchdown. 10-7. On their next possession Hastings hit Braun for 49 yards to go ahead 14-10. Then Johnson went to work again driving 75 yards, scrambling for first downs when all receivers were covered, and converting twice on 4th down. A 15 yard touchdown pass put Mt. Carmel ahead to stay.

Torrey Pines had another chance for a comeback early in the 4th quarter, driving from their 9 all the way to the Sundevil 15. But on 3rd down a pass fell incomplete in the end zone, and then a field goal attempt was no good. This week Torrey Pines closes out their season hosting La Costa Canyon in one of their greatest rivalries.


Matthew Feeler celebrates touchdown run as Lukas Braun looks on. Photo by Colleen Morgans


November 6, 2015

By John Schreiber & PJ Mikolajewski

Cool ocean breezes and pullovers replaced sunburns and sandals at Ed Burke Field last Thursday night as the Torrey Pines Freshman Falcons faced off with Mt. Carmel in a pre-Halloween contest. The looming specter of the Falcon defense dominated the evening in a 9-0 shutout, the Falcons’ fourth defensive shutout in 9 games this season.

The Falcon offense awoke with a start on its opening drive, using the running of Mac Bingham and Evan Galluzzi and a nice pass over the middle by Miles Hastings to Matthew Myrhum to reach the Mt. Carmel red zone. A fumble stopped the drive at the Sun Devil three yard line, an apparent break for the already-weary visitors.

Here though, the frightening Falcon front line went to work, bottling up three straight Sun Devil runs into the teeth of the defense. The complexion of the game changed immediately when menacing Michael Stearns blocked a Mt. Carmel punt and fellow linebacker Mike Schreiber recovered at the Sun Devil 15 yard line. On the next play, quarterback Miles Hastings (pictured) lofted a touchdown pass into the left corner of the end zone to Porter Hollen. A missed conversion left the score 6-0 with 3:42 left in the first quarter.

The second quarter contained a few terrifying moments but no points for either side. A largely ineffective Falcon experiment with a shotgun offense intermingled with several big defensive hits on the Sun Devil quarterback, a fumble recovery by Schreiber, and a touchdown saving tackle by Jason Heine. The game hit its low point when zombie-like referees shockingly allowed a fifth Sun Devil down, but the Falcons correctly sensed Mt. Carmel trickery and snuffed out a fake punt.

Mt. Carmel’s opening drive of the second half immediately aborted when Luke Mikolajewski recovered a first-play fumble deep in Sun Devil territory. Three plays later, Heine completed the scoring with a 25 yard field goal. Both offenses remained in the shadows for the remainder of the game. Mikolajewski sealed it with an end zone interception late in the fourth quarter.

Bingham led a spirited Falcon rushing attack with 32 yards, Hastings threw for 45 yards and a TD, and Hollen led Falcon receivers with three catches for 29 yards and a score. The ever-dangerous defense was paced by Schreiber, Bingham, Jack Foate, and Sean Hagan, each of whom had six or more tackles. The 5-4 Falcons finish their season next Thursday at La Costa Canyon

.MC at TP 10 29 15

Quarterback Miles Hastings (12) unloads a pass. Photo by Morgan Schreiber