CARMEL VALLEY — The Torrey Pines High School football team definitely surprised, and perhaps even confused, many of their competitors at the Redwood Passing Tournament and Trench Wars in Visalia July 9 through July 11.
The team traveled more than five hours to the town just outside of Fresno to participate in the annual competition. All within 48 hours, they made history by capturing championship titles in both the passing tournament and Trench Wars, and quickly returned home to North County. According to senior defensive end Mike Nasland, TPHS left countless Visalia locals wondering where this SoCal team suddenly appeared from.
“I bet they were very angry at us,” Nasland said. “We just came up into their area and dominated in everything.”
The Torrey Pines Football Program has been traveling to Visalia for the Redwood Passing Tournament every summer since 1991.
“We feel it is a great tradition and a great chance to bond as a team,” Head Coach Scott Ashby said.
The series of competitions began July 9 with the Trench Wars, a lineman event consisting of six strength and agility challenges. The TPHS lineman were champions of Trench Wars, winning two of the six challenges. Senior Robbie Rodriguez was named Most Valuable Player.
According to Defensive Lineman Coach Chas Doerer, as defending champions it was harder for the team to capture two consecutive titles.
“I was really surprised to win again,” Doerer said. “It was difficult. People are always looking for (the returning champions) to make mistakes. It was really hard not to make mistakes.”
Riding their teammates’ wave of success, the specialists competed in the passing tournament over the next two days. Torrey Pines went 5-1 before the championship game. They suffered their first loss early in the tournament, but narrowly defeated several tough competitors thereafter.
On July 11, Torrey Pines was deservingly named champion of the Redwood Passing Tournament following a 24-0 win over Mt. Whitney High School. With their second championship in one weekend, Torrey Pines made tournament history as the first school to ever capture both titles in one year. According to Doerer, breaking such records is never a bad omen.
“It’s not the ultimate predictor (for the season), but it’s a great achievement and great way to start,” Doerer said. “I believe this is a very talented team.”
Undoubtedly a good sign, the team’s landmark wins in Visalia are only the start of what Torrey Pines hopes to be a successful season, beginning on Sept. 4 at their home game against Sunnyside High School.