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LCC Defeats Cathedral

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LCC Defeats Cathedral

Patrick McElroy goes up for a lineout throw. Leslie Proud photo.

La Costa Canyon Mavericks hosted the Cathedral Catholic Dons in a Southern California, single school Red division game this past Friday night. 

This game promised to be an intriguing matchup, because Cathedral had lost the prior week in a nail biting finish to Saint Augustine, and needed a win or at a minimum, a loosing bonus point to keep their playoff hopes alive.  BYU was in San Diego to play SDSU the following day, and head coach David Smyth was on the sideline together with numerous BYU players, to watch the action.  

Three of the starters, Sean Lumkong and Justin Petersen for LCC, and Ryan James for Cathedral Catholic, are expected to be on the HS All American team on tour this spring, so this promised to be a quality game.   

For the first ten minutes LCC dominated territory and possession.  It was evident that Cathedral had James keep a very close eye on his opposite number, by using his speed off the line to pressure fellow HSAA Lumkong.  With the passing channel under so much pressure, the LCC flyhalf, Justin Petersen was forced to attack the line which he did well.  A quick tap after being awarded a penalty for not rolling away, Petersen took the quick tap and forced his way over for the first score of the night.  Nico Gill added the extra two points.  Cathedral used their bigger forwards to good effect and worked their way into the LCC but struggled at the breakdown by repeatedly conceding penalties for not releasing the ball on the ground.  LCC scored their second when Petersen sent a double skip pass to the unmarked, sophomore winger, Quinn Hitchcock who was on his varsity debut to score in the corned.  Gilli added the additional two with the difficult conversion from the sideline.  Gilli scored again five minute later from five meters out, when the Cathedral forwards were caught napping, and the nuggety nine took a quick tap and scored under their noses.  Again his kick was perfect 21-0 LCC

The Cathedral halfback, Katen Pasarillo began to connect with Brady Connolly who feed James quick ball and used his impressive punt to push LCC back into their own territory.  The forwards, led by Miles McCormich and Brendan Cheung began to exert their dominance before the half time whistle blew.

LCC head coach made numerous substitutions for the start of the second half.    Cathedral were first to scored when Moroni Anae made a classic line break to go 50 meters to score. 21 – 5.  Only five minutes later Cathedral punched it over the line using the powerful forward pack to make it 21-10 in LCC’s favor.  LCC responded off the next lineout with some beautiful interplay between Ethan Smith and Sean Lumkong who dotted down in the corner, and Gilli again made a difficult kick from the sideline. 28 – 10.  LCC was reduced to 14 men, so opted to take three points when they were awarded a kickable penalty 31 – 10.  With five minutes left on the clock coach Reuben Spilkin used most of his unused bench.  Cathedral were not done, and with only two minutes left to play Graham Valentine went 60 meters to sore under the poles.  James kicked a drop kick to ensure there was a restart.  Cathedral showed a true gritt and it was James who finished the all important bonus point fourth try for Cathedral from forty yards out for a final score of 31-22 to LCC.  

Both teams scrumhalves deserve special mention.  Kaiten Pesarillo was excellent behind a big pack for Cathedral, but it was Nico Gilli who stole the show with pinpoint place kicking, and excellent box kicking, and excellent control of the game.