SAN DIEGO — The La Jolla High School football team, the county's highest-scoring team entering Friday afternoon's game, relied instead on its second-ranked defense to upset University of San Diego High, 10-7, at La Jolla.
Brent Woodall's 45-yard field goal with 5:48 left to play provided the difference as La Jolla moved on top of the City Western League standings with a 2-0 record. La Jolla is 6-1 overall.
In the third quarter, La Jolla linebacker Brad Raulston broke a scoreless tie when he returned Steve Koh's fumble 28 yards for a touchdown. It was the first play of the second half by USDHS, and Koh's only carry of the game.
"I'm on the left side, and I rushed in," Raulston said. "A couple guys hit him, and the ball came out. It bounced right to me, and I took off with it."
Eighth-ranked USDHS (6-1, 1-1) tied the score with 9:28 left in the game on a 10-yard pass play from Anthony Massa to Ken Stranigan. On the play, Massa was forced out of the pocket by Raulston and lofted a wobbly pass to the corner of the end zone that was intended for Matt Christian. Three La Jolla defenders jumped with Christian, deflecting the ball to Stranigan, who pulled it in one-handed and landed just in bounds for the score.
La Jolla, on its next possession, drove 44 yards in 9 plays to the USDHS 29-yard line to set up Woodall's winning kick. The drive was aided by two penalties, both resulting in first downs, and 15 yards rushing by Woodall, who also is a tailback.
"That was the first field goal I've kicked during a game this year," Woodall said. "I was nervous because I don't like kicking from the (right) hash mark. I tend to hook those."
Woodall, kicking left-footed, didn't get all of the ball, but he got enough to clear the crossbar by six inches.
Duke Gonzalez of USDHS missed a 48-yard field goal in the first half, and the Dons threatened only once more.
On the possession after Raulston's touchdown, Matt Christian ran 41 yards to the La Jolla 23. Two plays later, on third and 13, Raulston sacked Anthony Massa for a loss of nine yards. On fourth down, from punt formation, Laurie Massa passed to Danny Hall for a first down at the 10. That's when La Jolla's defense stiffened. Woodall made tackles on the next three plays and then Raulston blocked a 25-yard field goal attempt by Gonzalez.
Woodall said his teammates had some extra incentive to try for a shutout.
"We run a 30-yard sprint for every point we give up," he said. "Our goal every week is to get a shutout."
Though La Jolla didn't get its shutout, it did hold USDHS to 5 first downs, 40 yards rushing and 76 yards passing. USDHS's top rusher, sophomore Brian Duplessis, had 11 yards in 11 carries.
La Jolla had only 81 yards in total offense, Woodall getting 69 of that in 14 carries. Quarterback John Tribolet was unable to complete a pass in seven attempts.