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Mustangs Win Big Battle in SoCal

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Mustangs Win Big Battle in SoCal

Spencer Huntley scored the first of his three tries. Chris Beach photo.

In a meeting of two of the top HS Clubs in Southern California, the San Diego Mustangs defeated the SOC Raptors 31-21.

The Mustang halfback combination of Spencer Huntley at scrumhalf and Rocco Pool at flyhalf produced the fireworks. Huntley accounted for nearly all of the scoring for the Mustangs with three tries, four conversions, and a penalty goal for 26 points on his own.

Two of those tries were assisted by Pool off thrilling linebreaks. Pool's timely kicking repeatedly put the Mustangs in good position, or relieved Raptors' pressure.

For the Raptors, costly mistakes and penalties have been the theme for them over the last few weeks.

"We knew the Mustangs thrive on mistakes and are a very well-coached team with maybe the best 9/10 combination in the US," said Raptors Head Coach Sam McMillan. "When we played direct with tempo, we put the Mustangs under so much pressure and dominated, but this was a game where two moments defined it."

The first moment McMillan refers to came after the Raptors had scored to come within three points at 10-7. The Raptors then kicked downfield but their chase was ineffective and that, along with a missed tackle, opened the door for Pool to race through and set up Huntley for a try and a 17-7 Mustangs lead into halftime.

The second moment came when the Raptors opted to spread the ball wide when they didn't really have the support for it. An errant pass was scooped up by the every-vigilant Pool and feeding Huntley, who raced in for another. Two errors, 14 points, and the Mustangs led 24-7.

"This team, which is very young, will grow from it," said McMillan. "We fix our decision-making under pressure and we will turn these frustrating  losses into wins. The season is still early."

The Raptors replied, led by flanker Waylon Davis with his hard carries and more than 10 tackles, and fullback Jesse Torres fielding the Mustangs kicks and making good yardage. Their responding try made it 24-14, but hard running from Tyler Trower put the lock over for the only non-Huntley try of the day for the Mustangs. Trower and Jolley combined nicely in the second row to lead the defense.

San Diego Mustangs 31
Tries: Huntley 3, Trower
Convs: Huntley 4
Pens: Huntley

SOC Raptors 21
Tries: Diaz, da Silva, Davis
Convs: Diaz 3

"We have a week off to prepare for Belmont Shore," said McMillan. "laying the top three clubs in the USA is exactly what we wanted to test ourselves. We are close, and the boys are ready to turn these close losses around." The Raptors played Woodlands last week, then the Mustangs, and then Belmont Shore in April.

Mustangs Head Coach Ramon Samaniego said: "The Raptors carry hard, and play such aggressive defense, the key is patience. Our experience leaders were able to stay poised until the opportunities arose.