Football: St. Ignatius nearly unstoppable on the road against Valley Christian

St. Ignatius junior Elijah Dale works his way through a hole in the Valley Christian defensive line on Saturday at Valley Christian High School in San Jose. (Photo by Eric Sun)

By Jeremy Balan

SAN JOSE – The West Catholic Athletic League should take notice of what happened in San Jose on Saturday night.

The league should also be advised moving forward – don’t get into a shootout with the St. Ignatius football team this season, because the Wildcats might not miss.

St. Ignatius senior Albert Waters runs through the Valley Christian coverage team on a 94-yard kick return for a touchdown on Saturday at Valley Christian High School in San Jose. (Photo by Eric Sun)

Riding a breakout performance from junior running back Elijah Dale, the visiting Wildcats had an answer for every Valley Christian touchdown in a 42-28 WCAL-opening win that snapped a five-year St. Ignatius winless streak in league openers.

Dale ran for a game-high 213 yards and two touchdowns on 38 carries, and the Wildcats specialized in grinding, clock-eating drives.

“If we can establish the run, that will help us in all phases,” said St. Ignatius head coach John Regalia. “The best defense is a good offense, moving the ball and running the clock. That worked for us and opened up the play-action game.”

Dale had six runs over 10 yards, but racked up most of the yardage by punishing the second level of the Valley Christian defense through huge holes created by the St. Ignatius offensive line.

“There were great holes all game,” Dale said. “All my success goes to my line.”

With the steady dose of Dale on the ground, senior quarterback Jack Stinn had several opportunities to find receivers downfield on play action. Stinn threw for 183 yards on 10-of-20 passing, but also showed tremendous presence in the pocket and ran for 45 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries, most coming on scrambles.

Stinn shrugged off his interception issues of the non-league season, but still wasn’t entirely sharp, overthrowing open receivers on multiple occasions.

“Jack doesn’t need to be a perfect player,” Regalia said. “He just needs to be himself and he’s been doing a very good job of just being that and competing with his teammates.”

After jumping out to a 14-0 lead on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Stinn to Matt Emery (who also had a fumble recovery and an interception on defense) late in the first quarter and a 2-yard bootleg for a score by Stinn midway through the second, Valley Christian cut the lead to one possession twice.

Both were on runs by running back Kirk Johnson, who cut the SI lead to 14-7 on a 17-yard score in the second quarter and 21-14 on a 49-yard touchdown run early in the third.

But after each score the Wildcats had an answer.

St. Ignatius senior quarterback Jack Stinn slips away from a Valley Christian pass rusher on Saturday at Valley Christian High School in San Jose. (Photo by Eric Sun)

Dale scored from 7 yards out just before the half to give the Wildcats a 21-7 lead at the break, then scored again in response to Johnson on a 1-yard dive late in the third quarter.

While most of St. Ignatius’ offensive success came on lengthy, sustained drives, senior Albert Waters showed the Wildcats could strike back quickly too.

After Valley Christian’s Ryan Severson scored on a 35-yard run to cut the St. Ignatius lead to 35-21 with 7:50 remaining in the fourth quarter, Waters took the ensuing kickoff 94 yards, through a slim crease in the center of the field, for a score.

The Wildcats racked up 460 yards of total offense and didn’t have a turnover, but one stat illustrated the St. Ignatius offensive effort best.

They didn’t punt until the 1:13 mark of the fourth quarter, with the game well in hand.

Scoring Summary

First Quarter
SI: 2:10 – Matt Emery 21-yard pass from Jack Stinn (Michael Capitolo kick)

Second Quarter
SI: 5:46 – Stinn 2-yard run (Capitolo kick)
VC: 5:26 – Kirk Johnson 17-yard run (Kody Kroenig kick)
SI: 2:41 – Elijah Dale 7-yard run (Capitolo kick)

Third Quarter
VC: 8:56 – Johnson 49-yard run (Kroenig kick)
SI: 3:38 – Dale 1-yard run (Capitolo kick)

Fourth Quarter
SI: 11:57 – Stinn 1-yard run (Capitolo kick)
VC: 7:50 – Ryan Severson 35-yard run (Kroenig kick)
SI: 7:36 – Albert Waters 94-yard kick return (Capitolo kick)
VC: 3:58 – Bryce Novak 25-yard pass from Jay MacIntyre (Kroenig kick)

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22 Comments

  1. GCJ 01 says:

    It’s good SI finally won a league opener. Too bad SHC didn’t. Great job Cats.

  2. Chris says:

    Cats, way to represent SF tonight. SI was firing on all cylinders, hopefully you wont have all that horsepower next week against SH..lol.

  3. JJ says:

    I thought Valley Christian had the best RB in the WCAL, but stats-wise, Elijah Dale proved he was a tad better. Dale is easily a top 3 running back in the WCAL with Serra’s top rusher in the mix also. Perhaps VC’s defense is down this year because D has usually been their strongpoint, although giving up 43 & 42 pts to SI for the past 2 games would suggest otherwise.

  4. Johnny Drama says:

    Nice win Cats…here’s to a few more in league play.

  5. BeeFeez says:

    I love the site and all the work you do here, Jeremy. But why not report more on the defensive side of the ball? My only complaint is that you would think two offenses squared off with each other every friday and saturday. Again, great site, great work. Just never hear about or from defensive players in these articles.

    • jbalan says:

      This game, in particular, was not a great defensive exhibition. I actually talked to coach Regalia a little bit about their struggles stopping the run, but the clear story of this game was about SI’s offense. Last season, when Mission was dominant on defense, we talked about it all of the time.

      That being said, you are correct that the focus on offense is kinda standard to prep coverage. It is very difficult to track both offense and defense with manual stat-keeping. In my system, I can only keep offensive stats and a running play-by-play (although I did track Noah Bull’s tackles against VC, because I thought that might be a storyline).

      The one notable defensive effort from this game did get mention in this article, however, that Matt Emery had a fumble recovery and an interception.

      • BeeFeez says:

        Yeah, I really didn’t mean from this game in particular. Just coverage in general. And you’re right, prep coverage across the board is almost exclusively offense, QB’s inordinately so.. I guess if this were a suggestion box, i’d like to see more write-ups on defensive units and defensive players once in a while. By the way, how many tackles did Bull have against VC?

        Again, love the work you do here and it’s one of the first things I do on a Saturday morning. Thanks!

        • jbalan says:

          I had Bull for nine tackles on my tally, but I think I might have missed some where there were multiple players in on tackles. I might have also missed some ones late in the game because I was doing some other things. He was around the ball a lot.

          • Lance says:

            Jbalan do you see SI undefeated going into the game with the Bells Oct. 27?

            • jbalan says:

              I am not in the prediction business.

              • Lance says:

                That’s fine. jbalan is not going to play Nostradamus. Anyone feel that SI will be undeafeated in league going into the Oct 27 game with the Bells.

            • JJ says:

              According to you, SI was going to finish 6-6. Now after 1 game into the WCAL season, you’re talking undefeated. How things have changed.

              • Lance says:

                Not so fast double j. Yes I felt SI was being overrated in the press polls. They did impress in their dismantling of VC. I don’t think they will go undeafeated. I just wanted to know if people thought they would be 4-0 going into the Bellarmine game. That would mean beating Saint Francis. If they did they wouldbe 4-0 in league with tough games with the Bells,Padres and the Monarch’s remaining. Very unlikely they will go undefeated but they may win at least one of the last three game finishing 5-2 . A good season considering they went 1-5-1 in 2011

              • JJ says:

                If SI doesn’t commit too many turnovers, I think they will be 4-0 before the Bells game, but St Francis pretty much owns us and that will be a very tough game to win. One game at a time, though. SHC is next. SHC is a tough team, although they seem to get burnt with the long ball. SH’s run D is very solid.

    • ARHS Stats says:

      Defensive Stats are almost never ready, right after the game.

      Mostly since if you are keeping stats on paper, you need to write a lot different numbers down for tackles and it is hard to set up a sheet that way to do tackles for both teams.

      It is easier to record the tackles by a play by play defensive sheet, the only problem is you don’t have individual totals until you add them up.

      Defensive Stats are usually done by coaches off of the film, and could be changed after viewing the film of the game, even in the NCAA football games.

      Some reporters, will try to do stats on one or two players, if they think it may be a story line. But even that is still hard to do.

      • BeeFeez says:

        Nobody’s arguing that it’s difficult to get a story out recapping the game with stats. Still, you can SEE if a defense was playing well and you can SEE if a player on defense was playing well. Why not mention that player or unit in the story? Why not Interview that player instead of running over to the QB who threw for less than a hundred yards?

        Why not profile that defensive unit or player as key to the matchup in the lead up story to the game. That was my point ARHS Stats.

        • ARHS Stats says:

          If you are talking about the SHC vs. St. Francis game, since that is the only game the City WCAL teams played that did have a QB who threw for less than 100 yards.

          In the SHC vs. SF game, after St. Francis got a 4 TD lead in the game, the Lancers concentrated on running the ball. In the 4th quarter, St. Francis did not throw a pass. The last 3 SF possessions were all run plays, and the Lancers started this with 2:28 left in the third quarter.

          The Saint Ignatius Game had a 200 yard passer (Stinn) and a 200 yard rusher (Dale). The defense for SI played well and stopped a few VC drives, but they did allow VC to score 28 points and to keep the score close. The lead was usually a 7 or 14 point lead until the fourth quarter.

          The Riordan game had a 150 yard passer (Masoli) and he also gained 60 yards rushing. Again the defense played well for Riordan and stopped a few Bell drives, but they did allow BCP to score 28 points.

          The only team that had a defense worth talking about was St. Francis, whose defense did not give up a point. Bellarmine’s defense is a close second with the Bells only allowing 10 points. But this site does not cover these teams, since they are not in San Francisco.

          So every WCAL City team’s defense allowed the opponent to score 28 points and only 1 of the schools won. (SI)

          And SI had a 200 yd passer and runner.

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