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Comeback Seals SoCal Title for Belmont Shore

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Comeback Seals SoCal Title for Belmont Shore

Belmont Shore moves on to HS nationals this coming week.

Belmont Shore won the Southern California in dramatic fashion Saturday, coming back from a 19-point deficit to defeat the San Diego Mustangs.

The Mustangs produced a solid effort and were up 26-7 with 10 minutes to go. But Belmont Shore scored three converted tries to make it 26-21 with time winding down. Off the restart from that second second-half try, No. 8 Ike Mikaele fielded the ball, committed some defenders, and shipped it wide to wing Scholar Maat-Hotep, who cut inside, found some space, and put the foot down to score under the posts. Flyhalf Manu Taula capped off a four-for-four day with the conversion and Belmont Shore had the victory 28-26. 

Along with Mikaele, Maat-Hotep, and Taula, Belmont Shore was led by captain and scrumhalf Jeremy Zwick, who added a solo try, and hooker Max Amasio produced several power runs and sparked the comeback with a try.

"I have a lot of respect for Mustangs Head Coach Ramon," said Belmont Shore Head Coach Johnny Pua about San Diego Head Coach Ramon Samaniego. "He is a great leader and coach. Every time Belmont and Mustangs play we both know it could go either way and no matter what, it was going to be an awesome display of rugby."

This was a close game, once again, among two of the top teams in Southern California. The four teams going to HS Nationals played each toehr a total of nine times (six regular-season games plus three playoff games). Of those, five, incouding every playoff game, were within a try and all were competitive