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Cathedral Downs Del Norte

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Cathedral Downs Del Norte

Ryan James scored three for Cathedral. John Fraser photo.

The Cathedral Catholic Dons rugby team opened the 2017 regular season with a tough victory over the Del Norte Nighthawks Friday night.

From start to finish both teams displayed extraordinary effort as both teams moved up and down the field on a rainy night in San Diego.

The Del Norte 10-12 combination of Jared Ho and John Hale started the game with a series of intense punches up the middle which the Cathedral defense was able to repel. Del Norte repeatedly executed these moves eventually scoring. Cathedral fought back with outstanding phase play among the forwards, resulting in tries of their own.  Both sides moved the length of the field during the first half trading tries allowing Del Norte to be on top at the half, 21-17.

After regrouping at halftime Cathedral captain and scrumhalf Kaiten Pessarillo and center Ryan James (three tries) were able launch multiple attacks from any location or setup resulting in four unanswered second-half tries (two by center Jack Lewis), in the last 20minutes while Cathedral was a man down due to a yellow card.Final score 37-21 for Cathedral.

In addition to some impressive work from Pessarillo and James, Brendan Cheung scored a try and dominated the lineouts both on defense and offense while helping develop a brand new hooker. Sophomore No. 8 Miles McCormick continued to lead the Cathedral attack on restarts, demonstrating an uncanny ability to field and attack, and thus helping Cathedral to gain much needed yards. First-year Cathedral player Chance Sears also scored a try and continued his domination in both the scrums and in the rucks; while flanker Payton Rezanka, in his first varsity start, frequently disrupted the Del Norte backline.

The Cathedral JV Squad defeated the Del Norte JV 34-5.

Cathedral plays rival St Augustine High School next week in the annual San Diego Rugby Holy Bowl.