Southern California, which had lost its opening match of the tournament, won the remaining five to take the 2011 Men's National 7s All-Star Championships Saturday evening at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.
The Griffins fell behind 7-0 to the West as the Mustangs got a try from Hunter Leland, which he converted.
That was the score at halftime, but Southern California stormed back in the second half with three tries, one each from Peter Sio, Eddie McKenna and Hawaiian-based Apelu So'oalu to take the title.
So'oalu was the first scorer, taking a nifty pass and cutting back across the grain for the first try. McKenna was next. The Griffins ran upfield after fielding a kick, forced a couple of penalties, and then heaved the ball left to space. McKenna saw a West player lying on the ground, and raced past him. He was upended briefly, regained his feet, and galloped in to take the lead.
Finally the game ended when Sio, again after a series of penalties, simply dummied and took the gap the dummy created.
Southern California 19
Tries: So'oalu, Sio, McKenna
Convs: Sio 2
The Pacific Coast thumped the Northeast 41-5 to win 3rd place. PCRFU had beaten Southern California 20-14 in the first match on Friday, but were beaten in the rematch in the semifinals. Pacific Coast finished 5-1.
The All Americans rebounded from a loss to the Northeast in the quarterfinals to finished 5-1 and win the Plate. And the Midwest, despite the best efforts of tournament top try-scorer Bobby Allen of the South, won 7th 19-12 over the Southerners.
Rankings and record on the weekend:
1. Southern California (5-1)
2. West (4-2)
3. Pacific Coast (5-1)
4. Northeast (1-5)
5. All Americans (5-1)
6. Mid-Atlantic (1-5)
7. Midwest (3-3)
8. South (1-5)
It was a somewhat bizarre tournament, helped along by the fact that all eight teams entered the quarterfinals, allowing an 0-3 team to make it to the semis. That's exactly what happened as the Northeast, winless on Friday, got one good game and finished in the top four despite losing five. Pacific Coast were ranked below the NRU despite being 5-1. The South were, like the Northeast, 5-1, but were somewhat unlucky. They lost to SoCal by only two on Friday ( and beat the Northeast 22-12), and while they lost all three matches on Saturday, they were by margins of 5, 8 and 7.
In all, the South lost four games by an average of 5.5 points (and one by blowout to the Pacific Coast).
Young Bobby Allen led the tournament with eight tries for the South, with the All Americans' Bubba Jones second with six. Folau Niua finished with five tries and two conversions for 29 points, while Max de Achaval was the top kicker, notching 11 conversions. Justin Boyd of SoCal and Pac Coast's Miles Craigwell tied Niua for third with five tries.