By Jeremy Balan
LOS ALTOS HILLS — Extra points in high school football are never guaranteed, but it was two St. Ignatius misses that allowed Mitty to stay within striking distance on Friday and could haunt the Wildcats come playoff time.
Down 22-14 with less than four minutes remaining, Mitty drove 58-yards and scored on a 1-yard run from Bobby Marani with three seconds left, then added a two-point conversion on another run from Marani, ending both teams’ West Catholic Athletic League opener in a 22-22 tie at Foothill College.
If not for two missed extra points on St. Ignatius’ first two touchdowns, the Mitty comeback would have come up short.
“In a tight game, there’s going to be a ton of ‘one plays’ in all three phases, and it’s easy to look at those plays, obviously with the points,” said St. Ignatius head coach John Regalia. “We have to find a way to execute, make plays and do better in those situations.”
The final Mitty drive spoiled a game that St. Ignatius (2-1-1, 0-0-1) controlled for most of the night. The Wildcats outgained Mitty (2-1-1, 0-0-1) 409-276 in total yardage and limited the Monarchs option offense throughout.
“We had prepared our team to play a very good opponent and that’s exactly what they were,” said Mitty head coach Matt Haniger. “No offense to any of the teams we’ve played, but that’s the best team we’ve played this year.”
Without injured Albert Waters, a key weapon in the St. Ignatius running game, senior Kerry Crowley took the reigns and flourished, with 138 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries.
St. Ignatius junior quarterback Jack Stinn also had a solid outing, throwing for 248 yards on 17-of-28 passing, but it was a critical mistake that gave Mitty an early surge of momentum.
After a missed Mitty field goal, the Wildcats got the ball on their own 20-yard line with just over a minute remaining in the half. Hoping to extend a 9-7 lead, Stinn dropped back to pass, but was intercepted by Mitty’s Joe De Cecco, who returned the turnover for a 21-yard touchdown, giving the Monarchs a 14-9 lead at the half.
St. Ignatius retook the lead on a 2-yard touchdown run from Dom Truoccolo in the third quarter, then extended it with the second score from Crowley in the fourth, but it wasn’t enough to put the game away.
“Defensively we did well and offensively we did well,” Regalia said. “We just gotta make sure we finish all the plays.”
Despite the last-second drama, much of the talk after the game was drawn to the tie and subsequent lack of an overtime due to Central Coast Section rules.
“It needs to be a state-wide decision, and if we’re trying to prepare teams for the playoffs — and that’s what you do in the playoffs — then that’s the way it should be,” Haniger said.
“I don’t know if I want to comment on that right now, but every competitor wants to play,” Regalia added. “It’s a tie. I don’t know what more there is to say.”
SI: 4:28 — Will McKee 25-yard field goal
M: 1:25 — Andrew Scott 7-yard pass from Andrew Barna (Cameron Vaca kick good)
SI: 6:41 — Kerry Crowley 5-yard run (kick failed)
M: 1:10 — Joe De Cecco 21-yard interception return (Vaca kick good)
SI: 6:20 — Dom Truoccolo 2-yard run (kick blocked)
SI: 11:29 — Crowley 1-yard run (Michael Capitolo kick good)
M: 0:03 — Bobby Marani 1-yard run (Marani run on conversion)