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San Diego Mustangs Fend Off Thunder in SoCal

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San Diego Mustangs Fend Off Thunder in SoCal

Mustangs flyhalf Jonty Lee gets set to draw the last Thunder defense and set up Ryan Valenzano for the try.

The San Diego Mustangs made a bit of a statement win, defeating SoCal rivals Thunder 31-12 Saturday.

San Diego struck early, punishing a Thunder penalty. They kicked to touch, set the maul, and drove over, with prop Matthew Staycer touching down.

More pressure from the Mustangs saw flyhalf Jonty Lee snipe around the weak side and then pop a pass to wing Ryan Valenzano, who went in untouched. Thunder looked to answer and after turning over the ball near their line looked to work outside of their end. But a mishandle turned the ball right over to San Diego and No. 8 Jacob Jaffe jumped on the ball to score.

Thunder finally did get over the line, working the scrum and scoring off a No. 8.

That made it 19-7, but the Mustangs answered by punishing another penalty with a lineout-and-maul, and Jaffe touching down his second. 

With time winding in the first half Thunder pushed one over after a long sequence and it was 26-12 at the break. 

In the second half, both teams ramped up their defensive effort. Neither team could really break through.

Finally, Mustangs fullback Rocco Pool boomed a kick just outside his 22, which went past the entire Thunder team—which was trying to push hard to get that key try—and the chase was on. The ball was bumped into in-goal and Pool dove on it to score.

That finished it off 31-12.

“These three weeks will shake out our league and set things up for the Nationals, making every game huge," said Mustangs Head Coach Ramon Samaniego. "We're happy, but also relieved, to get the first one under our belt.”

Mustang Jonty Lee pulling a Thunder defender away from Ryan Valenzano for the Mustang second try.