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SoCal Varsity Red - League Games for Everyone

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SoCal Varsity Red - League Games for Everyone

La Costa Canyon action from last season. Marcela Alauie photo.

The Varsity Red competition in Southern California is for teams that have 100% of their roster from a single school, and it’s a competition that has been growing.

Six teams in the San Diego Division have been joined by seven teams in the Los Angeles Division, and this weekend begins a torrid run to the playoffs in late February.

In LA, Mira Costa, the 2015-16 Varsity White champs, gets their first league game started against new team Redondo Union. This Redondo team was kick-started by Mira Costa Head Coach Duke Dulgarian because he wanted a local rival for his Mira Costa Mustangs. So this begins what could be an intense rivalry. Mira Costa has won non-league games over Torrey Pines, Servite, and Saint Anthony.

View Park Prep, which edged Roosevelt HS last week thanks to a pleasant surprise - four successful conversions for the 28-24 win - will face St. John Bosco, which was the #2 team in Varsity White LA action last year. It’s going to be a another clash of speed versus power. View Park won that matchup last week with speed. We’ll see about this week.

Roosevelt, having lost that close game to View Park, now looks to Citrus Valley. Mike Sepulveda, one of the Roosevelt coaches, said his team learned something from the View Park game, and realized they are close.

In San Diego, Cathedral is at Del Norte, Poway at defending champs La Costa Canyon, and St. Augustine is at Torrey Pines.

La Costa Canyon coach Mike French (Reuben Spilken is the head coach) said the players have been working hard, and they can’t afford to rest on their laurels.

“”In our division, any team can win on any given day and we're going to do the best we can,” said French. “Poway is a fine side, as are all the teams in our Red Division.”

LCC has good numbers at training, but that brings its own challenge of finding game time for everyone. That’s one reason they have put a side into the Green Division, for new programs.

St. Augustine had some good moments last season but ultimately ended up 2-3-1. Head Coach Eric Dent likes his mix of veterans and new additions.

“We have been really focusing on basics and executing - really trying to keep things simple for the boys,” said Dent. “We have good success initially, but we know the challenges will be ramped up in league play. There are so many  strong teams it really forces the boys to develop rapidly.”

St. Augustine played several early games in December, and seniors Max Ramirez and Matt Macie led the forward effort, while James Downey has been instrumental in the backline. Junior Ethan McVeigh is showing improvement and is pushing the team from scrumhalf, while junior Andrew Alves is a shot of athleticism who, Dent said, could be a difference-maker.

But it’s got to be a team effort. 

“We are really focusing on executing and minimizing the mistakes in our rugby,” said Dent. “In the previous games, we have made mistakes and the opponent has taken advantage. If we can play intelligent, tough rugby, we can be a team who can create problems for our opponent. We are striving to become that team.”