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Comebacks Highlight SoCal Return

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Comebacks Highlight SoCal Return

A hard-hitting affair between San Clemente and SOC.

Southern California started its league season after a long delay and Thunder, Belmont Shore, and the SOC Raptors all came away victorious, two coming back to do so.

Belmont Shore took on rivals Back Bay and won impressively 31-12 to start 1-0. Back Bay is relatively young this year, and will be building through the season. Some of the Belmont Shore players are fresh from a successful football season and they are rolling right into rugby.

Southern California HS League Kicks Off

Thunder Rugby (ranked #10 among HS Clubs) beat the San Diego Mustangs (C24) in dramatic fashion. The Mustangs ran out to a 13-0 lead at halftime and then scored right after the break to lead 20-0.

Something clicked for the Thunder after that however, scoring four tries to take a 26-20 lead. Having missed the fourth conversion attempt, Thunder was still only six points ahead, meaning San Diego had one more shot to pull out a win. They almost got there, driving to the line and over. However, the Mustangs were held up in-goal by the Thunder defense and that preserved the win for the Thunder.

Solomon Williams was effective in attack and excellent in his kicks at goal, while Connor Malauulu, Jack Merklinger, and Alex Patolo-Aumua all scored tries. Dillon Wilson led the effort in the breakdowns and on defense, grinding away to win ball.

And the South Orange County Raptors (C11) defeated San Clemente (S28) 47-21 to start the league season 1-0.

No. 8 Lochie Treister scored three tries while flanker Troy Normal, lock Addison Barrette, and wing Nate van Buskirk also touched down. The Raptors also got a penalty try, while flyhalf Keegan Hannon converted five of those tries and center Asher Hannon added one more.

It was a very tight forward battle in the first half but the Raptors broke the deadlock Treister flipped a tip pass to Norman for the opening try. But after that San Clemente did well to control the possession and scored tries to take a 14-7 lead. Treister got five back and that made it 14-12 for San Clemente at halftime.

Both teams lost key players in the first half to injury, with San Clemente inside center Ben Herbes going down and try-scorer Norman leaving for the Raptors. In the second half San Clemente ran in another try, but then the Raptors started to come back. Barrette powered in from 20 meters, and then the Raptors started to control the ball. Centers Marcus Nguyen and Asher Hannon tested the San Clemente defense and Treister, and Sammy McMillan worked support and keps the ball moving. 

Some sublime interplay involving fullback Mike Lewis, McMillan at hooker, and Treister put van Buskirk away.

It was a thrilling physical battle, but the Raptors pulled away and eventually won by 26.

San Clemente flyhalf Trevor Skeffington was outstanding while McMillen and Nguyen were celebrated by their opponents for what they did for South Orange County. Treister, as well, was a star.

Next week the Raptors take on Back Bay, San Clemente faces the Mustangs, and the Thunder plays the Aztecs/OMBAC side. Belmont Shore gets a bye.