St. Francis’ passing duo proves to be the difference in WCAL defensive slugfest

St. Francis defense keeps Wildcats out of the end zone: “Our secondary played great’”

MOUNTAIN VIEW — St. Ignatius entered Friday’s game at St. Francis having scored more than 30 points in each of its previous three games, and 28 or more in the previous four.

In a West Catholic Athletic League game, the Wildcats managed only two field goals against the Lancers, and St. Francis won 21-6.

“That’s a very good football team that has scored a lot of points, so I’m very happy with the way the defense played tonight,” said St. Francis coach Greg Calcagno.

Soren Hummel and Brandon Mann, St. Ignatius’ quarterbacks, combined to complete 14 of 37 passes for 94 yards.

“Our secondary played great,” Calcagno said of Luke Wall, Sefanaia Alatini, Joseph Paul Payer, and Mack Mrowka.

St. Ignatius’ running game was hampered by injuries to Jarious Hogan, who did not play, and Cameron Jones, who rushed for 36 yards on six carries in the first half before sitting out the second.

“Credit goes to their defense, but we didn’t execute either,” said St. Ignatius’ first-year coach, Lenny Vandermade. “We dropped passes, didn’t make the right reads, and didn’t block the right guys.” You’re not going to score if you do that against a good team.”

On defense, the Wildcats focused on stopping St. Francis’ powerful running attack, led by Kingston Keanaaina, who came into the game averaging 117 yards per game. They “held” him to 84 yards on 17 carries, though Keanaaina did break an 84-yard punt return for a touchdown.

However, quarterback Aaron Knapp demonstrated that if opposing defenses sell out against the run, he can burn them through the air. Knapp completed 17 of 23 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns, both to Perrion Williams, who had eight catches for 103 yards.

“We built a connection over the summer car-pooling everywhere,” Knapp said of his friendship with Williams. “He did a great job tonight, I felt like we finally clicked.”

St. Ignatius’ field goals came on short fields following fumbled punts. St. Ignatius recovered at the St. Francis 12 for the first time at the start of the second quarter. Jones’ two runs advanced the ball to the 4, where a third-down pass fell incomplete. Odhran Kenny came on to kick a 22-yard field goal for the game’s first score.

With 1:54 left in the half, Keanaaina’s punt return for a touchdown gave St. Francis (3-3, 2-1 WCAL) a 7-3 lead. After forcing a punt, the Lancers went to the air six times in a row, culminating in Williams’ 30-yard leaping catch in the end zone for a touchdown with 9.9 seconds left in the half.

Early in the fourth quarter, Kenny’s 26-yard field goal pulled St. Ignatius (3-3, 1-2) within 14-6.

Before being forced to punt, St. Francis moved the ball from its 20 to the SI 43, but the ball was downed on the 1-yard line. St. Ignatius punted from the back of the end zone three incomplete passes later, and St. Francis took over on the SI 21. Knapp got the St. Ignatius defense to bite on a run fake on the second play and hit Williams behind the secondary for an 18-yard touchdown.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply