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San Diego high school football, playing in the giant shadow of the Southern Section, took a giant step forward Friday night.

Cathedral Catholic, a massive underdog, stunned state No. 6-ranked Vista Murrieta 35-28 on homecoming night, avenging a loss last year that actually provided the confidence the Dons needed against the Broncos.

Chris Moliga (169 yards on 32 carries) scored four times, the last with 2:32 to play on a 2-yard run, as Cathedral responded after the Broncos tied the game at 21-21 in the third quarter.

“After last year, the returning players were confident we could play with them,” said Dons coach Sean Doyle of a 21-10 loss a year ago. “Rankings are rankings. Are they better than Oceanside or Helix? Who knows, but we knew they were good coming in.”

The Dons, ranked sixth in the section, took it right to Vista Murrieta, which was averaging better than 60 points a game.

In the first quarter, Moliga scored on 2-yard run. Then, after Dons QB Clayton Dale was picked off, Moliga not only prevented a TD but tore the ball out of Randy Begg’s arms, sprinting 85 yards in the opposite direction.

When Vista Murrieta scored on a long pass, the Dons (3-1) responded with a 16-play, 80-yard drive, Dale completely fooling the Broncos on a keeper around left end from 5 yards out to regain the two-score advantage.

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