By Jeremy Balan
For a moment, it looked like Archbishop Riordan High School’s football team would hang with St. Ignatius on the road Friday night.
After scoring on the first drive of the game, the St. Ignatius offense was stalling, but after the Crusaders tied the game late in the first quarter, the Wildcats scored 35 unanswered points en route to a 42-7 West Catholic Athletic League win.
“When it was tied, we knew we needed to establish ourselves,” said St. Ignatius senior running back Kerry Crowley. “It was a must-win game for us, so we had to just step on the pedal and go.”
On senior night and without injured running back Albert Waters, Crowley led the offensive charge for the Wildcats (3-5-1, 1-4-1) with 150 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.
“We wanted to establish the run and we did,” said St. Ignatius head coach John Regalia. “It’s tremendous, on a night where we’re honoring our seniors, to see the seniors get in there. Kerry is one of our team leaders and he made some big plays.”
With the run established, the Wildcats got their biggest plays from their passing game.
St. Ignatius junior quarterback Jack Stinn threw for 187 yards and two touchdowns, but did it all on just 6-of-9 completions, including a 77-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Mike Pia.
Pia had his second consecutive 100-yard game with three catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns.
Other than their lone scoring drive in the first quarter, the Crusaders (1-8, 0-6) struggled in every facet of the game and were held to 201 yards of total offense.
“I wanted to be competitive and we were not competitive in any phase of the game,” said Riordan head coach Richard Sweeney. “It’s disappointing, because I thought we had an OK week of practice. I don’t know if they got too amped up to play a cross-town team, but we didn’t do anything right.”
Riordan didn’t have many positives offensively other than the play of junior running back Armani McFarland, who ran for 96 yards on 14 carries and had 100 yards on three receptions, including the Crusaders’ lone score on a 36-yard pass from quarterback Zach Masoli.
“He’s a good player,” Sweeney said of McFarland. “If he has a good offseason, he’s going to be one of the best backs in this [league].”
As unlikely as it may seem, the win likely locks the Wildcats into a Central Coast Section playoff bid, something Crowley and the St. Ignatius seniors have embraced.
“It’s very nice to know [we’re in CCS],” Crowley said. “We play in the WCAL and in our opinion, it’s the toughest league in Northern California. With that schedule, we feel we’re well-prepared and feel we can go the distance. Our goal has always been to win a CCS title.”
SI: 9:29 — Dom Truoccolo 1-yard run (Michael Capitolo kick good)
R: 1:31 — Armani McFarland 36-yard pass from Zach Masoli (Jose Rodriguez kick good)
SI: 0:00 — Mike Pia 77-yard pass from Jack Stinn (Capilolo kick good)
SI: 8:13 — Kerry Crowley 1-yard run (Capilolo kick good)
SI: 6:00 — Pia 30-yard pass from Travis McDow (Capilolo kick good)
SI: 3:29 — Ryan Gazale 31-yard pass from Stinn (Capilolo kick good)
SI: 6:31 — Chad Bell 1-yard run (Capilolo kick good)