By A.J. Calabrese
The Wolverines will play Oak Park in the second round of the CIF playoffs at Friday night after Paul Royster â08 scored a season-high four touchdowns en route to a 42-16 upset of the Torrance Tartars last Friday at Zamperini Stadium. The game will be played at 7:30 p.m. at Ted Slavin Field.
Torrance came into the first round of the Northwest Division playoffs of the CIF Southern Section as the fourth seed and champions of the Pioneer League while Wolverines were third in the Del Rey League, earning a playoff bid by beating Bishop-Montgomery two weeks ago.
âWe came in and we were ready to go,â Royster said. His first of four touchdowns came on a 93-yard kick return for a touchdown after a Torrance field goal.
After a touchdown by the Tartars to go up 10-7, the Wolverines scored 14 unanswered points in the first half. Running back Terhon OâNeal â09 ran for a 6-yard touchdown for and on the next drive Royster scored on a nine yard run to give the Wolverines a 21-10 lead.
âThe kids really came to play tonight,â Coach Vic Eumont said. âWe were up and down in practice all week but we had some fire today.â
The Tartars set up one last promising drive at the end of the half as fullback Ryan Davis broke a 49 yard run to put the ball in scoring position. With time running down quarterback Jack McCormick lobbed a desperation pass into the end zone which was intercepted by Wolverinesâ cornerback Stephen Adamson â08.
Torrance received the ball to start the third quarter, but could were held on fourth down by a tenacious Wolverine defense.
âOn defense we were spotty at first, but we made a lot of key plays,â Eumont said.
On the ensuing drive, the Wolverines furthered their lead to 28-10 after Royster broke for a 35 yard touchdown for his third score of the night. The Tartars answered back with a 14-yard pass to wide receiver Sterling Carter to cut the deficit to 12. However, this would be the closest deficit in the second half, as touchdown runs from Royster and quarterback Sean Berman coupled with two fumble recoveries and an interception by the Wolverine defense broke the game wide open.
âTheyâre a fit, physical team, but our kids stuck with them and stayed tough,â Eumont said. âI think we wore them down at the end.â
Local football analysts predicted the game to go down to the wire, with an unsure winner. Local newspaper The Daily Breeze wrote Harvard-Westlake âstunsâ Torrance in an upset victory.
Oak Park is coming off a 21-14 win over St. Josephâs of Santa Maria and took second place in the Tri-Valley League this season. To Eumont and the Wolverines, the game is just like any other.
âWeâll prepare just like we prepare every week,â Eumont said.