Freshman scrumhalf Ken Kurihara set the tone against an overmatched Stanford squad early with an explosive play up field for the Bears’ first try of the evening. Cal kept its foot on the gas from this point on and orchestrated a scoring barrage that left Stanford overwhelmed en route to a decisive 120-0 victory.
The Bears carried a roster primarily composed of frosh-sophs and other select reserves in the contest that featured the likes of Kurihara and freshmen Sid Holland and Christian Dyer. The trio of freshmen were key contributors for the Bears all evening and were catalysts in the team’s dominant performance. Dyer, in particular, opened up many of the Bears’ scoring opportunities and had a knack for finding his way into the try zone in the match.
In the first period, Cal put up 63 points, which was made made possible by the team’s crisp passing and ball handling that set the tone for the half’s scoring onslaught. The Bears’ movement and speed in the open field were factors that kept Cal locked in offensively and defensively. Kurihara was crucial in opening up the team’s offense by using his speed and agility to cut into Stanford’s side of the field. At the half’s 25-minute mark, Kurihara burst toward the try zone once again and then passed it off to Holland, who was left with an open lane to score his first of two tries on the night.
“(Extending playing time with other frosh-sophs) was great,” Holland said. “We haven’t had a massive opportunity for all of us to play together, and I was playing with a couple of guys which I really enjoy playing with and that I haven’t had many opportunities to play with, so that was a nice bit of unity there.”
The Bears were up 22-0 following Holland’s try and transitioned into cruise control against an uncompetitive Stanford opponent. Cal put up eight additional tries and two more conversions in the latter part of the first half that granted Cal a more-than-commanding lead at half.
The second half was a mirror image of the first, with the Bears maintaining their command both offensively and defensively. The pairing of these two components was crucial to the Bears’ successes in the contest.
In the period, Cal put up an 57 more points to continue control of the game as well as maintain the shutout. Dyer was a pivotal component in the Bears’ continued success by scoring two tries in the half.
“(Dyer has) done well in games, especially games with not a lot of pressure on him, so he’s got a good future at some point,” Clark said.
One of the period’s key plays was the score that put the Bears up 82-0. On this play, the Bears orchestrated a beautiful showing of synchronized passing, working the ball to the left side of the field for an eventual try on an open seam by freshman Charley Lagomarsino. This was a key play that showed some of the growth and promise of the roster’s youth and other reserves.
Cal’s final scores of the game came courtesy of George Salter and Elliot Webb, who both started for the Bears in the contest.
This match was a good chance for some of the Bears’ frosh-sophs and other reserves to gain some playing experience together at the tail end of the season before the team embarks upon the postseason.
Ryan Groves covers rugby. Contact him at [email protected].