Football: St. Ignatius’ defense stands tall in road win over St. Francis

By Jeremy Balan

MOUNTAIN VIEW – After jumping out to a 14-7 first-quarter lead, the St. Ignatius offense kept opening the door for a St. Francis comeback on Friday, but the Wildcats’ defense kept slamming it shut.

St. Ignatius limited St. Francis to a season-low 124 yards of total offense, forced four turnovers and scored a safety to pick up a 22-7 West Catholic Athletic League road win.

The Wildcats (5-1, 3-0) recovered two fumbles, intercepted St. Francis quarterback Mike Lauck twice and held the Lancers (3-3, 2-1) to just 52 yards rushing (zero in the second half). St. Ignatius senior linebacker Noah Bull was constantly around the ball, had one of the interceptions and forced a St. Francis fumble, which was recovered by the Lancers in the end zone for a safety early in the fourth quarter to give the Wildcats a 19-7 lead.

“We stepped up as a defense,” Bull said. “The defensive line was doing a great job of stopping the offensive line from getting to me and I was able to make plays. Everybody was around the ball. It’s really awesome when the whole team came come together in a game like that.”

The St. Ignatius offense scored on it’s first two drives of the game, both punctuated by touchdown passes by senior quarterback Jack Stinn, but the Wildcats could not muster another offensive touchdown.

St. Ignatius took three drives inside the St. Francis 5-yard line, but only totaled three points combined on those drives. One ended with a 23-yard field goal by St. Ignatius kicker Michael Capitolo (who also added a 33-yarder in the fourth quarter), another resulted in a touchback when Stinn fumbled into the end zone and out of bounds, and the final attempt stalled on a turnover on downs.

Stinn, who looked unstoppable in the first quarter, when he threw for 92 yards on 6-of-9 passing, finished with 127 yards and an interception on 10-of-32 passing, but was also the victim of constant drops by his receivers.

The Wildcats even negated a touchdown return by junior Joe Lang on the free kick following the safety, due to a senseless block-in-the-back penalty that came with Lang already well beyond the reach of any St. Francis defenders.

The one constant for the Wildcats, however, was junior running back Elijah Dale.

Dale had 135 of the Wildcats’ 139 rushing yards on 30 carries, and even though the Lancers only allowed one run over 10 yards (a 40-yard burst by Dale in the second quarter), St. Ignatius dialed up runs for the junior on its final 11 offensive plays to put the game away.

“Whether we’re getting yards or not getting yards, he still has that motor churning,” St. Ignatius head coach John Regalia said of Dale. “The offense definitely feeds off that.”

But for every misstep the St. Ignatius offense had in the second half, the defense seemed to have an answer.

Three plays after Stinn’s interception in the third quarter, with the Lancers on the St. Ignatius 29-yard line, Bull picked of Lauck. When Dale was stopped on fourth down at the Lancers’ 2-yard line, Bull stripped St. Francis running back Alex Andrighetto in the backfield on the next play to force the safety.

“Against a good football team like that, you gotta capitalize when you get a chance and we had a couple chances that we missed on,” said St. Francis head coach Nick Navarro. “Things just got screwed up here and there. It wasn’t necessarily one person, but every time we had a shot, we came up a little bit short for one reason or another.”

Scoring Summary

First Quarter
SI: 9:27 – Stephan Ostrowski 10-yard pass from Jack Stinn (Michael Capitolo kick)
SF: 5:43 – Landon Baty 1-yard run (Patrick Fordham kick)
SI: 1:59 – Andrew Vollert 6-yard pass from Stinn (Capitolo kick)

Second Quarter
SI: 5:16 – Capitolo 23-yard field goal

Fourth Quarter
SI: 11:46 – Safety
SI: 10:23 – Capitolo 33-yard field goal

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  1. JJ says:

    Did the cameraman forget his memory card in San Francisco? Exciting 1st half, but the 2nd half was kind of a snoozer, mainly cause the “replacement refs” kept nullifying SI’s big plays. The block in the back call on the free kick runback for a TD was a bad call because it looked like the St Francis defender just dove to make it look like he got pushed from the back. SI pretty much dominated in every aspect of the game, but the score would’ve been by a wider margin if it weren’t for the drops and the homer refs. SI’s 1st play from scrimmage should’ve been a TD, but #4 Matt Emery dropped a perfect pass to his chest on a fade route. Oh well, still another 2 TD win by the Cat machine in the WCAL. I’ll take 2 TD wins every week.

    • Roll Cats says:

      JJ, the block in the back penalty call that negated Joe Lang’s incredible touchdown return was not the result of homer reffing, it was a call that would have been made by every WCAL official.

      If you’re looking for a bone to pick with the refs, and personally I hate to do this, it comes on Stinn’s fumble for a touch back. Stinn dove for the pylon, hit the pylon (from multiple viewpoints though of course this hasn’t been confirmed by video replay) and the ball tumbled through the end zone. Either call Stinn down at the two where his knee touched, or call it a touchdown, cause you cannot have a ball hit the pylon and have it result in a touch back.

      What was promising for SI in this game is that they looked like they had so much to improve on, yet still dominated a WCAL opponent. This team has the potential to go VERY far.

      Final thought from this game is Joe Lang and his special team contributions. The kid had two exceptional returns last night, two punts downed inside the 10, and one critical hold that saved a Capitolo field goal attempt.

      Great job by the Cats to win on the road

      • JJ says:

        From where I was sitting, the guy who dove for Lang wasn’t really that close and I didn’t really see a push in the back. All I saw was the guy diving, falling 5 yards short. The very next play, I saw a St Francis player take a cheapshot right in front of the replacement ref and nothing. Those things didn’t decide the outcome, but if the game was closer, it could’ve impacted the game. By the way, the pylon is considered part of the endzone, so if he fumbled at the 2 and it hit the pylon, it’s a touchback. The far ref made the call, but the ref closest to the play said it was a TD, so either way, someone made a bad call.

        • Roll Cats says:

          The guy diving at the end of the play didn’t draw the flag, it was an SI player wiping a Lancer out around the 25 yard line as Lang approached the 5 yard line. I love my Cats too, but it was the right call unfortunately.

          The pylon IS a part of the end zone like you said JJ, but Stinn did not fumble at the two. He reached for the pylon and connected with the pylon with the football in his possession and then the ball fell out of his hands, but many in the stands felt his knee touched down at the 2 and therefore it should have been neither a touchdown or touch back, but SI possession at the 2. It is impossible to rule a touch back if a player has possession of the football when it touches the pylon, and that’s why Regalia was arguing the call.

          Either way, a win over Riordan would be significant for our Cats as they would improve to 4-0 in league, and under the new CCS seeding system, would assuredly be playing in the CCS Open Division come playoff time.

  2. Lowell House says:

    No pictures.. :(

  3. JJ says:

    Also, SI JV’s dominated St Francis JV’s too, so it’s looking good for SI football for the next couple years.

  4. Grad says:

    For the peanut gallery:

    Which SI players are college material?

    And at which level?

    • Lance says:

      Thanks Grad. Nice to get someone else in the mix to combat all the si bloviating. They win a lower CCS crown with a 6-6 record and go
      1-5-1 in league, put together a good year this year and you think they were DLS west. Put together more than 2 years of quality WCAL. Then you can pop off. Until then, be content with being good every 10 years.

      • grad says:

        @ Lance: I guess the SI Athletic Dept won’t be asking you for any donations this year.

        SI is talented and very HOT! Go Cats!

        • Lance says:

          What do you mean grad, the checks in the mail.

        • Big EZ says:

          @ Lance, it is tough to put together good seasons in the WCAL. But that’s the point. The WCAL is the toughest league in the Bay Area – bar none. Look at the rankings in the major sports. You’ll always see WCAL teams in the top 25. In football alone, the WCAL has 5 teams in the top 25. The quality of play is just better. Any AAA team would get smoked in the WCAL. Don’t be so quick to discredit what SI has been able to do. The past records don’t reflect the quality of the team. They reflect the quality of the league.

          They may not be DLS West but they’re by far the best team in the City.

    • Cats Pride says:

      vollert seems pretty good – he has good size, speed, and athleticism, but he’s a senior and I haven’t heard about him being recruiting.

      Si’s junior RB Elijah Dale seems like he might get a look.

      I’d say Albert Waters, but he’s probably way too small to get a look.

  5. JJ says:

    Let’s talk about the past whenever Serra loses. Good way to take out some frustration after a stupid decision to go for 2.

  6. Lance says:

    Yeah JJ a little bitter right now and it came out. Not so proud of it. Was it a stupid decision? Sure you can argue that. They did the same thing against a Central Valley power and it worked. They only stopped the Bells once during the game. They recoved 2 fumbles and forced only one punt. Walsh new that they were not stopping the Bells anyway and after the 2nd OT you have to go for the 2 anyways. Stupid? Arrogant? Maybe,Probably. But they were going against the 3 time WCAL champ and State runner-up. Sometimes you have to take a risk. Sometimes you win. This time he lost. At least he tried. JJ your tastiing some success this year after your lower division CCS (1-5-1 in league) crown. Act like you have been there before. As for Walsh making a “stupid” decision in the 11 years he has been at Serra he has has won or tied in3 WCAL titles beaten si 9of 11. JJ lets talk after the game. If si wins. I will salute them. But until then I’m not going to crown their…… Hey JJ have a nice rest of your weekend.

    • CrusaderNation says:

      i like that they went for 2. Go for the win – it also shows a coach who believes he can control the line. The non City schools win because they control the line on both sides of the ball. Let’s here it for a coach who tried to be creative.

      Also, has anyone notice that over the last several years the numbers going on to D1 schools from the WCAL has been dropping.

  7. wcalsf says:

    Why not go for 2?!? Definitely shows Walsh and the team have the “huevos” to go for it.

  8. Johnny Drama says:

    SI will be 4-0 in WCAL play after next week…then the fun begins!

    • Lance says:

      Can’t wait! ” cat’s come out and playaay”

      • bugs bunny says:

        They have come out to play. My nephew showed me a video on “youtube” of the SI Cats frollicking around on the beach. Great stuff.
        Sorry. You have to see this thing.

        • Lance says:

          Bugs, glad you mentioned the “video” go to the comments of the SHC v VC game and read my “Siskel & Ebert” review of the “video”.

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