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Defending SoCal Varsity Red Champs Face Challenge

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Defending SoCal Varsity Red Champs Face Challenge

Torrey Pines has some work to do to revisit their championship form. Anna Scipione photo.

The New Year will bring for the Southern California Varsity Red one of the biggest games of the year, as St. Augustine matches up with Torrey Pines.

Already these two single-school teams have put others on notice.

On December 15, St. Augustine defeated Del Norte 47-7 (that’s the official score, Rugby SoCal stops counting after the margin of victory reaches 40). Torrey Pines slammed Poway 40-12.

And while La Costa Canyon (among others) remains waiting in the wings, the January 6 clash between St. Augustine and Torrey Pines promises to tell us much.

St. Augustine got the expected strong game from Ethan McVeigh, who remains one of the best scrumhalves in the nation. Mike Cross ran well in the interior channels and scored two tries. Sebastian Rohrer has led the forwards, especially on defense and in the set piece.

“He’s really been effective in the restarts,” said St. Augustine Coach Eric Dent. “He is a key player in lineouts and scrums.”

Pairing with Rohrer has been defensive standout Charlie Rascon at flanker, while newcomer Jake Armenta has stepped in and made big impact plays.

With Ian Denham leading the coaching staff, and a number of smart returning players, St. Augustine is ramping up the standards and the rugby IQ.

“We are excited about our pre-season and first league game before break, but we know the Red Division offers a tremendous challenge,” said Dent. “We know the meat of the schedule is in front us and we are eager to prepare and compete in these competitions. The rugby played in this league is some of the best in the nation and we want to see how we stack up. It’s a great test for our team.”

Torrey Pines Head Coach Matty Sandoval agrees. 

“I think the game of the year is January 6,” sad Sandoval. “St. Augustine looks very solid.”

Against Poway, Torrey Pines got a big lead early, going ahead by 26 points in 13 minutes. 

“Then our players decided to coast,” said Sandoval, who called the remainder of the game frustrating. 

Torrey Pines has some excellent talent like Mike Perrone and Matt Goena (both Cal commits), and No. 8 Tanner Wyandt, and last year’s freshman phenom, Oren Cargill, put Poway under pressure with his kicking game. But the coaching staff confessed to being frustrated with the lack of team approach from last season’s Varsity Red champs. January 6 they won’t get away with that.

The Varsity Red SoCal Division is for single-schools with 100% of their players being students at that school. The teams follow California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) rules.

This year the Varsity Red has two conferences, with the older San Diego conference featuring seven teams, including defending champs Torrey Pines, and last year’s runner-up, La Costa Canyon. LCC, St. Augustine, and Torrey Pines all sit 1-0. Poway, Del Norte, and SC Tritons are all 0-1. Cathedral Catholic has not played a league game yet, and beat Patrick Henry in a non-league game Dec 15. Cathedral faces the Tritons Jan 6, and LCC is at Poway.


In the Los Angeles conference, it all starts Friday, January 5. View Park Prep is at St. John Bosco - a clash of speed versus power. And Mira Costa hosts the Redondo Union.