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De La Salle Holds Off SFGG in Tense NorCal Encounter

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De La Salle Holds Off SFGG in Tense NorCal Encounter

Dominic Besag scored two tries and set up another for De La Salle.

In a fascinating game that went right down to the wire, #12 HS club team, SFGG, almost ... almost beat #2 school team De La Salle.

The match was played as the curtain call for the DIA quarterfinal between Saint Mary's and BYU, a game that also went down to the wire, and was played at the Saint Mary's Gaels' stadium. De La Salle had come into the game unbeaten and rarely tested. But SFGG, which had risen to a 7-1 record on the backs of some sterling defensive work, wasn't going to let the Spartans get away from them.

De La Salle opened the scoring about four minutes into the game after a massive break from center Dominic Besag that covered 80 meters but was just cut short. The forwards consolidated from there and prop Torres Kapust powered it over. Flyhalf Mike Freeman converted. SFGG battled back into DLS territory and continued to put DLS under pressure.

Off a scrum flyhalf Paddy Casey took the pass off his boot tops, sidestepped a tackler, bumped off another, and stretched over. Casey converted to tie it up 7-7. With about eight minutes left in the first half De La Salle finally broke through again. They got a penalty and took the lineout, and Besag sold a dummy, fended off a defender, and was gone for about 42 meters and a try under the posts. Freeman added the extras and it was 14-7. 

The second half began with SFGG still playing defense mostly by keeping the ball. Finally De La Salle got an attacking scrum. They ran an eightman pick that got territory and then a penalty for no tackler release. DLS tapped quickly and sent it out to Besag, who pushed away a tackler and was in. Freeman converted and it was 21-7.

SFGG spent much of the next 10 minutes in De La Salle territory, but couldn't get close enough. Finally, SFGG's pack helped spoil DLS scrum possession; the ball rolled loose and SFGG nabbed it, but couldn't quite do anything with it. No matter, De La Salle was offside, and Casey tapped quickly and slipped through. He converted and it was 21-14.

SFGG threw everything at the last several minutes, and with less than four minutes to go suffered a blow. Casey took a wide line to his right, was tackled, and after presenting the ball grabbed his leg in pain. The flyhalf was carried off and play resumed with a scrum. Golden Gate attacked, mostly through their forwards, got a penalty, kept attacking, and got another penalty close to the DLS line. On that last penalty they opted for a scrum, but De La Salle held them. Another penalty, and another SFGG player off injured, and time down to almost nothing. Finally SFGG got it wide and Levi Cervantes scored in the corner.

That made it 21-19, with the kick the come, but it was a tough kick and SFGG's regular goalkicker was on the sideline. Fullback Rowan O'Connell's effort was just wide.

DLS ran out the clock from there. It was a thriller for sure, and one in which SFGG showed they can play among the biggest of the big boys. De La Salle showed they can handle being under pressure and not get rattled. But the Spartans will be hoping to unleash more strike runners than just the one in Besag, and will be concerned about their penalty count.

See full game here>>