By Ryan Kuhn
ATHERTON — St. Ignatius received some help from its opponent to get its second win on the season on the road Friday.
The Wildcats traveled south and took advantage of five Menlo-Atherton turnovers, including three interceptions in the first half, to come away with a 24-7 victory.
“Turnovers are huge in any game, especially when you are on the road,” said St. Ignatius head coach John Regalia. “We have to take care of the football, and obviously defensively, we have to be an opportunistic football team.”
St. Ignatius senior defensive back Kevin O’Connor made an impression early, as he intercepted M-A quarterback Willy Fonua on the Bears’ (1-2) opening drive of the game.
O’Connor already has two interceptions and a forced fumble on the young season.
“I was just at the right place at the right time,” O’Connor said. “In a game like this, where Menlo-Atherton has home field advantage, every turnover is key.”
The Wildcats (2-1) offense complemented their defense from the start, when junior quarterback Jack Stinn threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mike Pia with 3:10 remaining in the first quarter.
“We needed to come out ready,” Stinn said. “It was a big game for them, [so] we needed to put up points [quickly] and get everybody pumped up, and we did that.”
After the Bears missed a chance to score on a 46-yard field goal just minutes into the second quarter, St. Ignatius capitalized on another forced turnover by recovering a fumble.
Within a minute, Stinn found the end zone again, this time on a 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Travis McDow. Stinn finished the game with 196 yards, two touchdowns and an interception on 10-of-17 passing.
“Our fundamentals were not there,” said M-A head coach Sione Taufuoo. “We were over thinking, pushing too hard and the kids want to win, but we are still learning how to win. We have come a long way.”
In the second half the M-A defense tried to rally by intercepting Stinn with 5:45 remaining in the third quarter, and Bears got on the scoreboard with a 5-yard touchdown run by running back Taylor Mashack.
The Wildcats recovered one final fumble late in the fourth quarter to clinch their first road win of the season.
“It was our first test on the road for the season and we needed that challenge,” Regalia said. “Menlo-Atherton is well coached, they play very hard and they have some good players, so that makes a good combination.”
SI: 3:10 — Mike Pia 40-yard pass from Jack Stinn (Michael Capitolo kick good)
SI: 4:30 — Travis Mcdow 4-yard pass from Stinn (Capitolo kick good)
SI: 1:04 — Kerry Crowley 2-yard run (Capitolo kick good)
MA: 4:38 — Taylor Mashack 5-yard run (Sam Faulkenhagen kick good)
SI: 10:31 — Capitolo 33-yard field goal