Cal defeated Navy 57-15 at Witter Field to advance to the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup championship. For the 3rd consecutive year, Cal will take on BYU in the final.
The Golden Bears opened the scoring in the 6th minute with a try from Harry Adolphus. Navy added a penalty but Cal outflanked the Navy defense and with a great individual effort from Miles Honens, scored a try in the corner. Honens stepped several Navy defenders in route to a 50-meter try down the left sideline.
Navy battled its way back into the game but was unable to put up any more points in the first half. Around the 25th minute, Cade Pope broke through the Cal line and if not for a try saving tackle from Jake Anderson would have scored. Anderson, however, was called for a high tackle and sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes.
The visitors probed the Cal line, but staunch defense kept them out. Cal was able to clear the line and prevent Navy from scoring during the man advantage. The Golden Bears moved down the field, and despite being down a man, were able to add three points with a Russell Webb drop goal. Cal added three more with a penalty from Anderson right before halftime to take a 16-3 lead going into the break.
Navy charged back with a try immediately following halftime. Justin Manke zipped down the left sideline to cut the Cal lead to one score. Cal immediately applied pressure, however, forcing a poor kick from the Navy 22. Webb fielded the kick, broke through the Navy line, and found Alec Gletzer to give Cal a 21-10 lead.
Gletzer was phenomenal all afternoon, and particularly disruptive at the breakdown. The senior forced a number of turnovers in critical moments. Gletzer, nonetheless, was a bit modest about his performance and gave credit to Navy for forcing his team to work incredibly hard.
“We got the job done to earn another shot at the final,” said co-captain Alec Gletzer. “It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t perfect, but Navy deserves credit for that.”
After the Gletzer try Navy began to falter and Cal punished the Midshipmen. Anthony Salabar dotted down twice in five minutes to extend the lead to 33-10. Navy Coach Mike Flanagan praised Cal’s execution.
“Fundamentally sound all the time,” said Navy head coach Mike Flanagan of the Bears. “You’d better not make mistakes, because they will capitalize.”
Dakota Raymond answered back with another try for Navy, but it was all cal after that point. In the final twenty minutes, Cal added four more tries, with two coming from Nicholas Boyer. The Golden Bears earned the victory by the final score of 57-15.
Cal coach Jack Clark indicated that the large score was a little misleading of the Navy performance. “Nothing but respect for Navy, they were very difficult,” said Cal head coach Jack Clark. “It was a good match. They’re a bunch of stud guys.”
Cal will take on BYU at Rio Tinto Stadium on May 2nd to determine the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup champion. The game will be aired live on the NBC Sports Network.