By Bonta Hill
Two weeks ago, Bellarmine traveled up to San Francisco and sleepwalked its way through the first three quarters against Sacred Heart Cathedral before waking up in the final 12 minutes to defeat the Irish 14-7.
The Bells’ second visit to the City was much less stressful, as they started fast and dominated throughout in a 56-0 West Catholic Athletic League win over Riordan.
The Crusaders (1-5, 0-3) couldn’t keep up with one of the state’s best teams and gave up 21 second-quarter points to the explosive Bells (5-1, 3-0), while they dealt with their own offensive struggles.
The Crusaders were only able to muster 55 yards rushing and 54 yards passing as they were shutout for the first time this season.
“This is a bona fide [league], the best in Northern California, and we’re just not at that level yet,” said Riordan head coach Richard Sweeney. “We just have to keep working hard, stay together and learn how to play as a team.”
The Bells rushed for 346 yards on the day, but it was their passing game that broke the game open in the second quarter.
Bellarmine quarterback Travis McHugh only threw three passes on the day, but two of those attempts went for touchdowns.
With 2:47 left in the second quarter, McHugh found tight end Alex Manigo for a 29-yard score, and after forcing Riordan to punt on its next drive, Bellarmine struck again, as McHugh’s screen pass to Tim Crawley went 54-yards down the sideline to put the Bells up 28-0 with 1:26 left in the first half.
“We were ready to play this time around [in San Francisco] and we came out crisp and sharp,” said Bellarmine head coach Mike Janda. “It was [really] important for our team to start fast and pounce on them, and with a young team like that, it’s hard for them to come back.”
For the Crusaders to pull off an upset, they needed to be near-perfect, but penalties — most notably for delay of game — halted any little momentum they tried to muster.
“When you play somebody who’s really good you sometimes press, and I thought we did a little bit of that today,” Sweeney said. “The delay of games penalties rest on my squarely on my shoulders.”
The grind of the WCAL season continues for Riordan next week, when the Crusaders will try to earn their first victory in league play against Serra.
“We’ll heal up, get iced, get our studies done and come back Monday and watch the film,” Sweeney said. “We’ve got to get better and there is no doubt about that.”
B: 7:22 — Conner Jauch 1-yard run (Aaron Gamboa kick good)
B: 8:12 — Jauch 43-yard run (Gamboa kick good)
B: 2:47 — Alex Manigo 29-yard pass from Travis McHugh (Gamboa kick good)
B: 1:26 — Tim Crawley 54-yard pass from McHugh (Gamboa kick good)
B: 8:29 — Jake Whipple 1-yard run (Gamboa kick good)
B: 2:54 — Whipple 9-yard run (Gamboa kick good)
B: 9:05 — Garrett Wahler 6-yard run (Gamboa kick good)
B: 3:36 — Matt Helmers 43-yard run (Gamboa kick good)