The Pointers had already made history when they became the first-ever team at the school to reach an Open Division championship game. This division is created at season's end to comprise the top eight teams in the San Diego CIF section's Div. I. The school has advanced from Div. II in 2016 to Div. I in 2017 and has remained there since.
Despite receiving the No. 7 seed, the Pointers reached the finals against #1 Torrey Pines by ousting No. 2 Canyon Crest Academy 3-2 before edging No. 3 St. Augustine in penalty kicks after the teams fought to a bruising 1-1 tie after regulation and overtime play.
After taking an early 1-0 lead in the finals against the Falcons on a Will Barba goal in the 10th minute, the Pointers played their hearts out in a physical game that saw them claw back to tie the score at two on a John Croxson goal before regulation time ended on the Mission Bay High School field in front of a large crowd of Pointer students and community members.
Yellow cards and injuries to both teams added 15 minutes of extra time to regulation and when a Falcon player scored five minutes later for a 3-2 lead, he ran with several teammates to the Pointer stands, removing his jersey before standing several feet away and shouting obscenities at students.
Fortunately, no Pointer students attempted to jump the low fence and confront the Falcon players. PLHS athletic director Alex Van Heuven and vice principal Kelly Lowry were only several feet from the Falcon contingent as students recorded the incident on phones. The player only received a yellow card for his actions.
Payback for the Pointers came just three minutes later as Jake Donlon beat the Falcon keeper to knot the score at three, touching off a wild celebration among the Pointer crowd.
During the penalty kick session to decide the champion, Pointer players twice beat the Falcon goalkeeper but saw two of their attempts beat him but ricocheted off the goal post as the Falcons netted three attempts to claim the title.
Nine-year veteran Pointer head coach Elliott Savitz, who led his team to a Div. I title last year and a Div. II title in 2016, consoled his players, several with tear-stained faces, after the match.
"We couldn't have asked for anything more from our players," Savitz said as fans and players streamed out of the stadium. "A lot of our guys stepped up tonight and it was a tough, physical high school match. We were right in it and their effort was top-notch."
The Pointers received an automatic berth in regional state playoffs and were scheduled to visit the Cathedral Phantoms of Los Angeles on Tuesday of this week. PLHS is seeded No. 6 in Div. I while the Falcons are seeded No. 2. Semifinals are Feb. 28 with finals March 2.