Football: St. Ignatius storms back to shock Aptos in CCS playoffs

St. Ignatius senior running back Kerry Crowley stretches the ball just over the goal line for the Wildcats' first score against Aptos in the CCS Division III playoffs on Friday at Aptos High School. (Photo by Christian Chew)

By Jeremy Balan

APTOS — St. Ignatius’ season of heartbreak continued on Friday night, but this time it was the Wildcats that dealt the pain.

SI rallied back from a 24-7 third-quarter deficit to beat Aptos 35-31 on the road in the first round of the Central Coast Section Division III playoffs.

Senior fullback Dom Truoccolo put the Wildcats up for good on a 3-yard touchdown run with 38 seconds remaining and junior linebacker Noah Bull sealed the game with an interception on Aptos’ first play of the ensuing drive to cap the furious St. Ignatius comeback.

St. Ignatius senior fullback Dom Truoccolo works his way through the Aptos defense in the CCS Division III playoffs on Friday at Aptos High School. (Photo by Christian Chew)

“It hasn’t really set in yet, but it was amazing,” Truoccolo said. “It’s not going to last long, though, because we have two more weeks to come together to win a championship. That’s our goal.”

Truoccolo punctuated the win, but for nearly three complete quarters, the Wildcats were simply outplayed. St. Ignatius lost three fumbles in the first half, had costly penalties stall multiple drives and allowed 24 unanswered Aptos points in the second quarter.

One play, however, shifted the momentum of the entire game.

With the St. Ignatius offense struggling to move the ball, Aptos inexplicably ran a fake punt with 42 seconds left in the third quarter. The fake fell well short of the first down and St. Ignatius took over on the Aptos 45-yard line.

That was the spark the Wildcats needed.

Three plays later, St. Ignatius junior quarterback Jack Stinn connected with wideout Andrew Vollert for a 34-yard score to cut the Aptos lead to 24-14 heading into the fourth quarter.

St. Ignatius forced a punt on Aptos’ next drive after a three-and-out, and Stinn led the Wildcats on an 11-play, 77-yard scoring drive, capped by a 6-yard run from Truoccolo, to cut the Aptos lead to 24-21 with 7:36 remaining.

Aptos responded, though, and pushed their lead to 31-21 on an eight-play scoring drive spurred by a 32-yard run from senior quarterback Riggs Powell, who ran for 119 yards on 20 carries in the game.

Stinn responded again with a 7-yard touchdown run with 3:56 remaining, set up by a 42-yard reverse pass from tight end Travis McDow to Mike Pia.

Still, the Mariners held a 31-28 lead and only needed a few first downs to run the clock out. But the Aptos running game that racked up 349 yards of rushing offense on the St. Ignatius defense went three-and-out again, setting up another game-changing special teams play.

Aptos sophomore Eli Ungerecht forces St. Ignatius wide receiver Ryan Gazale to fumble in the CCS Division III playoffs on Friday at Aptos High School. (Photo by Christian Chew)

Again, the Mariners ran a fake punt, and again, the Wildcats stopped them short of the first down with 3:03 remaining, setting up the game-winning drive.

“The kids are devastated,” said Aptos head coach Randy Blankenship. “They played their hearts out and we made one too many gambles. We just didn’t want to give them the ball back. On the first fake punt, I definitely thought we had it, I just didn’t think we executed. The kids played hard and that’s all we ask of them. I wish we could have given them a chance. It was my fault.”

As the tears of disbelief flowed on the somber Aptos sideline, the Wildcats were engulfed in jubilation.

With the win, St. Ignatius advances to take on the winner of the Valley Christian-Burlingame matchup, which kicks off on Saturday night.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our guys and our coaches to be able to come back on the road against a very good team,” said St. Ignatius head coach John Regalia. “We finished this game and the great thing is, we get to move on. It’s a great feeling and it’s a great opportunity for us.”

Scoring Summary

First Quarter
SI: 1:59 — Kerry Crowley 9-yard run (Michael Capitolo kick good)

Second Quarter
A: 11:52 — Tyler Morgan 25-yard run (kick good)
A: 6:33 — Philip Rojas 3-yard run (kick good)
A: 1:00 — Riggs Powell 1-yard run (kick good)
A: 0:00 — 31-yard field goal

Third Quarter
SI: 0:17 —Andrew Vollert 34-yard pass from Jack Stinn (Capitolo kick good)

Fourth Quarter
SI: 7:36 — Dom Truoccolo 6-yard run (Capitolo kick good)
A: 4:48 — Cody Capurro 1-yard run (kick good)
SI: 3:56 —Stinn 7-yard run (Capitolo kick good)
SI: 0:38 — Truoccolo 3-yard run (Capitolo kick good)

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42 Comments

  1. GCJ01 says:

    Great job Kittens! Y’all actually showed up to play this week! If SI ends up playing Valley Christian, we already know who will win that game! Just for all you confused SI fans out there, it won’t be SI!

    • Cherries on Top says:

      Don’t be too sure of anything, GCJ01. If you weren’t so ignorant, you’d know that SI lost to Valley by only a field goal.

    • umpintraining says:

      Hey…GCJ01 please remember this is just high school football. Why throw the darts? As a frustrated VC fan who thought they had a chance to go undefeated only to come up woefully short, is no reason to take out your frustrations on an SI team that had a bit of success Saturday night.
      Good luck to both teams on Saturday…and let’s all please remember that this his high shcool football and hopefully a competitive learning tool for both teams that will carry the players into adulthood. After attending some of these games, I think the players are more mature than the parents.

  2. ARHS Stats says:

    Good Job by the Saint Ignatius Football team.

    After Aptos had scored 24 unanswered points, I thought things looked really bleak for an SI victory. [I was paying attention to the SI tweets from the game.]

    But SI came back to make the score 21 – Aptos 24, and then Aptos scored to make it a 2 sccore lead for Aptos. {I thought there was less 4 minutes left in the game, since no time was mentioned on the tweet}

    But SI again came back with another TD, to put them down three with about 4:00 minutes left.

    And the SI stopped the Aptos Offense again, to give the ball back to the offense, which came thru with the winning TD.

    This has to be one of the better comeback victories for Saint Ignatius of all time.

  3. sfpatriot says:

    Congrats to SI and SHCP on their wins. WCAL teams went 5-0 in CCS playoffs Fri night!!

  4. JJ says:

    Why did Aptos head coach call for 2 fake punts?? Especially since the 1st fake punt, they had a 17 pt lead with about 13 mins left in the game???? Punt the ball, it’s not rocket science.

  5. Anonymous says:

    GCJ, a true sf fan would pull for all the teams. Obviously, you just don’t get. Good job Cats!

    • GCJ01 says:

      A true City fan? Last time I checked, of the two leagues, the AAA is the one that has kids that reside in the City! The WCAL can’t make this claim. So I ask you, who is the TRUE SF fan? I defend and cheer for a league that enrolls kids from ONLY SF! Obviously, you missed that part!

      • Anonymous says:

        you really need to cut down on your exclamation point use. Plus, it doesn’t really matter that some of the kids might come from the penninsula, they identify with an SF school. the kids arent the only thing that define the school as “city” or not

  6. grad says:

    The WCAL is a brutal league. There are a ton of examples of average/below average WCAL teams doing well in CCS & beyond.

    On another subject………………

    Question to the peanut gallery: Would it be possible for the AAA/OAL to join CCS/NCS? This can accomplish several objectives: 1) it can extend the season for sports with no state championships (i.e. soccer, baseball). 2) it will allow AAA/OAL champs to get filtered through CCS/NCS before going onto state.

    • ARHS Stats says:

      Yes, if the AAA applied to join the CCS, I am pretty sure they would be accepted.

      All their Section Championship Events would need to be changed to League Championship Events.

      Also some sports (like Soccer) may need to change the time of year the sport is played. I don’t think there are any CCS Soccer teams playing Soccer in the Fall Season.

      The Big Loss would be the AAA’s football Turkey Day Championship Game, since there are no league playoffs for Football.

      But the AAA could continue the Football tradition, if they decided to not to have their teams to apply to play in the CCS Football Playoffs and not to try for a State Championship Football Game.

      The OAL would have some of the same problems with Soccer and Football, although the NCS might have some Soccer being played in the Fall Season.

      Another problem would be the Section Commissioner Job of the AAA and OAL, since that would be a payroll question. It might be solved by making them the League Commissioner at the same salary, paid by the district.

      • grad says:

        @ ARHS: I always appreciate your detailed insight.

        • ARHS Stats says:

          I like to see how all the City Schools are doing.

          I will cheer harder for Riordan, but I don’t cheer against anyone.

          I have always thought it was better to beat teams that have won a lot of games against other teams by the end of the season.

          And a lot of the W.C.A.L. teams do this year after year, which makes hard to beat W.C.A.L. teams in any sport and makes it an accomplishment when Riordan does win a game or games against the W.C.A.L. teams.

  7. Pablo says:

    Great Job SI,
    Jack Stinn is a stud! I hope they can keep it going next week and SH can also win, how great for SF football fans would an SH v SI CCS Football final be? WCAL dominated the playoffs last night.

    Go Irish!

  8. FrankT says:

    WCAL football went 7-0 in the CCS playoffs this weekend. Great job all around. The CCS must love the Catholics & Christians.

  9. Mickey Blue Eyes says:

    For SI and SHC to meet in CCS DIII championship SI would have to beat Vally Christian and SHC would need to beat Christopher, both whom had non competitive first round victories, VC playing most of the second half against Burlingame with second stringers and winning 35-21 (score was 28-3 at half) and Christopher smoking their opponent 55-0 so we shall see

    • Cherries on Top says:

      It all depends on who Valley and Christopher were playing, because the higher-seeded team or the team with the better record isn’t necessarily the better team. Want proof? look at the Open division games, Mitty was #6 and San Benito was #3. That game turned out to be 36-0 Mitty. Also, St. Francis (#8) beat Oak Grove (#1), who is probably the best public school team in the entire section (you could make an arguement for Palo Alto though), 20-17.

  10. GCJ01 says:

    You know what, I’m going to change my stance on this whole situation. I can see why SHC always beats SI. From reading your comments, all SI fans do is cry all the time and whine. At least when SHC loses, they own up to it! I’ve noticed that all season. SI FINALLY wins ONE big game and y’all think your team is better than what they are.

    I HOPE BOTH SI AND SHC WIN THEIR GAMES THIS WEEK SO THEY CAN FACE ONE ANOTHER IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP. That way SHC can kick SI’s butt AGAIN!!!! SI fans need to stop whining so much!!!!!

    Oh, by the way GREAT JOB TO SHC’s girls volleyball team who BEAT SI in three straight matches to win CCS!!!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Gets your facts straight. SI rarely loses to SHC.

  12. Pablo says:

    My oh my get over yourselves people this is not a forum for idiotic banter about SI v SH, its supposed to be about high school football and the supporting all our kids whether they play for public or private schools. You idiots just cant get over your petty high school differences, you act like your still in high school, amazing! Once again the best to both teams next week in playoffs and lets root for a City CCS Championship! 1st in history.

    • umpintraining says:

      SH and SI both have won previous CCS championships. SH a Div. 4 championship (I think ’05…might be wrong on that) and SI a Div. 3 championship I think in the season of ’06 (check that one too). The years might be off, but the championships and Divisions are correct.

      • Pablo says:

        Daah sorry I meant two “City” teams against each other in a 1st ever all City CCS Championship, SI won Medium school in 2006 and SH won small school in 2008

  13. Anonymous says:

    It would be fantastic if SHC met SI on CCS Championship Division 3 game…WOW

  14. SI Alum says:

    GCJ101 just leave, not once have I ever heard a positive thing come out of your mouth. The sooner you realize that you aren’t the end all be all of this site, the sooner we can all enjoy discussing football. Without your bogus, biased, and unreasonably harsh “kittens” comments, this site would be so much more enjoyable.

    • GCJ 01 says:

      Typical SI fan….you and your KITTENS need to take a page out of SHC’s book and do less complaining and do your talking on the field!!!!

      And if you want to talk about enjoyable, I’ve sat here and read all of you SI supporters complain all season long. All I did was point it out. So, if you don’t want me to point it out…STOP DOING IT!!!!!

      Again, I hope SI and SHC wins this week so SHC can show you kittens how to act with class….AGAIN!

  15. Spilt Family says:

    @GCJ01 You wouldn’t know class even after reading the definition. Your comments certainly don’t reflect it. You say you support the AAA teams but in actuality you support SHC as long as they defeat SI in anything. And as an SHC alumnus, I’m embarrassed my school is being associated with someone who has absolutely no grasp of sportsmanship and the history, civility, and community between both SI and SHC on and off the field or court. Our schools have been together in San Francisco for over 150 years. Our families share alumni from both schools from the 1800s to the class of 2015. You have no idea what you are talking about. Stop using SHC as a weapon of hate against SI. You have no right to speak for us or call SI names.

    • GCJ01 says:

      I would take apart the all of the inaccuracies in your comment, but there aren’t that many hours in a day. But I will say this….I at no point stated that I am speaking for SHC. Nor do I hate SHC or SI. However, I will defend my AAA just like you “wonderful” WCAL fans will defend your league. Simple as that. I don’t know how many times I have to repeat myself. If you and the rest of your “wonderful” SHC and SI supporters can’t get that through your heads, then y’all wasted your money going to those schools because you’ve obviously haven’t learned anything! Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  16. shel says:

    Aptos coaching is suspect here….oh boy. I feel for the guys but two fakes points…the first was a good call that failed, the second was quite dubious.

  17. MJO says:

    SI worked hard for the win and showed what can happen when you put your heart and soul into the game!

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