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Carlsbad moves on after topping Cathedral

11/17/2017, 10:55pm PST
By Rick Hoff

Carlsbad High only had the ball on offense for four plays in the third period, but it did not matter.

Asa Turner returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown just over three minutes into the second half, sealing the fate on a 38-28 victory over Cathedral Catholic in a CIF Division I quarterfinal playoff Friday night at Bob McAllister Field.

With the victory, No. 3 seed Carlsbad (6-5) advances to a semifinals matchup next week against No. 2 seed Eastlake, a 21-16 winner over Rancho Bernardo.

“Having an extra week to prepare helped for sure,” said Carlsbad coach Thadd MacNeal, “They have such a good team. We had to play super hard, and Asa is a special player who made a big play for us.”

Cathedral Catholic finished the season at 5-7 after coming off a 15-0 season and a Division 1-AA state championship last season.

Turner was in the right spot at the right time after teammate Jakob Gomez tipped a Dons pass headed into the end zone.

“I was a little late on the call, but Gomez got a hand on it and I was there,” said Turner, who also caught a 13-yard scoring pass from quarterback Troy Bloomquist to open the scoring in the first quarter.

Cathedral’s main weapon was sophomore running back Zavien Watson, who rushed for 135 yards and three touchdowns on 16 first-half carries. He finished with 243 yards on 35 rushes but was kept out of the end zone in the second half.

Friday’s matchup was the second playoff meeting in three seasons for the two teams. Cathedral won 24-21 in 2015, also in the quarterfinal round.

It was a matchup of programs which have won a combined 17 section championships between them. Their playoff history dates back to 1964, when the Dons, then known as University High school and based in Linda Vista, defeated Carlsbad 40-0 for the Class 1A title.

The two squads exchanged scores throughout the first half, with Carlsbad breaking a 21-21 deadlock by scoring 10 points in the final 2:52 of the second period. Bloomquist ran a nifty play-fake into the line before tossing a 5-yard scoring pass to Cameron Thomas, and William Lawrence recovered a Dons fumble on the ensuing kickoff to set up a 42-yard field goal by Tyler Francis with 1:28 left before intermission.

Hoff is a freelance writer.

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