Opening statement: McClymonds flattens Bellarmine to begin its season

Ta’Jir Golden, running behind a veteran line, rushes for 186 yards and three TDs and the defense finishes with seven sacks in dominant performance

SAN JOSE — There would be no overtime this time.

McClymonds dominated Bellarmine on the stat sheet and the scoreboard this time, turning the storied Oakland school’s season-opening trip to San Jose City College into a one-sided affair.

McClymonds 40, Bellarmine 0 in the end.

One year after needing overtime to beat Bellarmine by three points at home, Mack finished with seven sacks, many of which were swarming, and limited the Bells to minus-15 yards rushing and 27 yards passing.

The visitors led 14-0 at halftime and put the game out of reach with a dominant third quarter in which running back Ta’Jir Golden carved up the Bells behind a punishing and veteran line that longtime coach Michael Peters said would be critical going forward.

Golden, who played wide receiver last season, rushed for 186 yards and three touchdowns on 22 attempts, while Sharky Tamale added 62 yards and a touchdown.

Mack gained 280 yards on the ground and 91 yards through the air. The game concluded with a ticking clock.

“I’ve got to put everything on the line right now,” Peters admitted. “He’s our MVP.” They’re all of them. There isn’t just one. They played as a team, and we’ll go as far as they can take us.”

Bellarmine opened its season a week earlier with a 17-14 victory over Menlo-Atherton, which looked promising on paper.

But it was clear from the start Friday that Mack would be a handful for the Bells, as Oakland dominated the line of scrimmage.

The defense of Bellarmine kept the score close in the first half but wore down after halftime.

“Everything we want is right in front of us,” Bellarmine coach David Diaz-Infante said after being hired in June. “However, like anything else, we must learn from it.” It’s a chance to discover who we are, what we are, and what we’re made of.

“I wasn’t expecting that. We can only leave our defense vulnerable for so long. They have a strong football team. It served as a good guideline for us. We probably thought we were a little better after last week. We’re a young team that will figure it out.”

Golden weaved his way to the end zone from 33 yards out to put Mack up 7-0 with five minutes left in the first quarter.

The score remained unchanged until quarterback Isaac Espinosa scored on a 2-yard run with 22 seconds remaining in the half.

After the break, Mack needed only three plays to score, as Golden broke free on a sweep and dashed 42 yards for a 20-0 lead.

Golden’s 9-yard run with 4:05 remaining in the third increased the lead to 26-0.

“It’s kind of easy,” he admitted. “With my speed and acceleration, I can easily see the holes.” I get through the hole once I see it.

“We knew we were going to win, so we just did what we had to do.” We kept running the ball when they got tired.”

Mack increased its lead to 34-0 in the final minute of the third quarter with a 71-yard touchdown pass from Espinosa to Rahsjon Duncan.

With 11:14 remaining, Tamale’s 18-yard run made it 40-0 and started the running clock.

When it was over, Mack players ran wind sprints — a school tradition — and boarded the bus for the ride home.

“We’ve got to clean up some stuff,” Peters explained. “But it wasn’t all that bad.”

Next up for Mack is a home game against Bishop O’Dowd on Friday, followed by road games against San Ramon Valley and De La Salle.

Bellarmine’s non-league schedule concludes next Friday at Monte Vista.

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