SAN DIEGO — San Pasqual Coach Mike Dolan congratulated Torrey Pines players on their victory last month over El Camino, the defending three-time San Diego Section and Avocado League champions.
"They knocked off the king," Dolan said. "The king is dead. Long live the king."
Having said that, Dolan and his troops would love to dethrone the new king tonight. If they don't, Dolan realizes the upstarts from Del Mar probably will win the Avocado title on their first attempt.
"They beat us, they're cruising," Dolan said.
After fourth-ranked San Pasqual (6-0, 3-0), all that remains for 10th-ranked Torrey Pines (5-1, 3-0) is Carlsbad (2-4, 1-2), San Marcos (0-5-1, 0-3) and Oceanside (3-3, 2-1). A Torrey Pines victory would give it a one-game lead over El Camino (5-1, 2-1) and San Pasqual with three games remaining. San Pasqual still must play at El Camino, which has lost only to Torrey Pines.
Still, Torrey Pines Coach Ed Burke is trying his best to downplay the game at San Pasqual at 7:30 tonight.
"It puts the winner in the driver's seat," Burke said. "But it's way too early to be calling this a league championship game."
Even if it's not a league championship game, Dolan expects a crowd of nearly 5,000.
To win, Dolan said, his team must hang on to the ball and keep Torrey Pines' offense off the field. Burke almost echoed Dolan in describing his keys to victory.
"We prefer that their offense is on the sideline with Mike most of the game," Burke said.
Without the uniforms, it would be hard to tell the offenses apart. Both coaches like to run, and their offenses are based on deception and misdirection.
San Pasqual is led by senior fullback Jamon Buggs, who has run for 780 yards and seven touchdowns on 112 carries. Halfback DeSale Wallace isn't far behind, with 623 yards and eight touchdowns on 66 rushes.
"We don't want to run a race with those guys," Burke said of Buggs and Wallace. "They're too fast for us."
Burke has a burner of his own in junior halfback Kevin Winters, who ran for 211 yards and two touchdowns against El Camino. Winters blew past El Camino's vaunted secondary for three long runs. Torrey Pines also has fullback Josh Stern (496 yards, 10 touchdowns) and halfback Joel Brown (337 yards, four touchdowns).
If you're looking for an aerial show, don't come to San Pasqual. The Eagles have completed only two of 14 passes for 35 yards. The Falcons are a little better, but they are certainly not passing fools. Ryan Lynch has completed 19 of 40 passes for 440 yards and five touchdowns. His backup, Gavin Hamels, is one for five for 51 yards and a touchdown.