Preview: 2018 CIF San Diego Section Open Division Finals- Torrey Pines Falcons vs Cathedral Catholic Dons
It might seem like Week One wasn’t all that long ago, but another wonderful season of CIF-San Diego Section football is all but over. The handful of games that remain are the most highly-anticipated matchups of the season: the CIF Divisional Finals. Of these finals, none will garner as much attention as the titanic clash between the #1-seeded Torrey Pines Falcons (10-0) and the #2 Cathedral Catholic Dons (10-1). This Open Division decider pairs the two best programs in the county, as well as two of our 2018 Silver Pigskin Award finalists.
After bowing out in the semifinals last season, the Falcons have finally made it to the Open Division finals. This looks to be the crown jewel in a brilliant undefeated season that saw the Torreys out-score their opponents 358-163.
Cathedral is one year removed from a lackluster 5-7 finish and two years removed from a 15-0 record and State title. This week, the Dons find themselves with an opportunity to add another golden chapter to their program’s storied history.
The Falcons can largely thank star senior running back Mac Bingham for so much of their success this season. Bingham, who is also captain of the baseball team and is committed to USC for the same, has compiled an exceptional stat-line this year. He amassed 24 touchdowns and more than 1500 rushing yards, a truly remarkable campaign. He will be one of the six young men vying for the Silver Pigskin Award on December 4th.
One of those other young men is Cathedral’s own prized talisman: Shawn Poma. Poma was one of the driving forces behind the Dons’ 2016 Division 1-AA CIF Section and State title double-whammy. After missing the 2017 season to injury, Poma has an opportunity to lead the Dons back to the promised land. Poma has just recorded the second 1000+ rushing yard season of his high school career and has 14 touchdowns this year.
Poma is far from the only offensive threat in the Dons’ lineup, however. Cathedral employs a full stable of running backs and aren’t afraid to limit Poma’s touches early. This allows Poma to be even more dangerous as games wear on. Receiver Zion Sorani is an explosive asset and is averaging almost 27 yards per catch this year.
In addition to having stellar running backs, these teams share another key similarity. In many ways, this shared trait is why these programs have been so successful; both programs returned many starters from last year.
This is especially pronounced on defense, as Torrey Pines returned seven starters and only gave up 163 points this season. The Dons returned eight starters and conceded an astonishing 102 points this season. That statistic becomes even more incredible when you consider that they managed to score 371 points!
These programs embody the perfect mix of athleticism and strategy, of talent and experience. These factors are why they’re considered to be the two top programs in the county and should make this showdown one of the very best this year has to offer.
Fans wanting to witness this thrilling matchup should be at Southwestern College on Saturday for the 7p.m. kickoff!