Football: St. Ignatius can’t erase halftime deficit in WCAL loss to Bellarmine

Bellarmine senior Kenneth Olugbode drags a St. Ignatius defender along on Saturday at St. Ignatius Prep. (Photo by Doug Ko)

By Jeremy Balan

With a shot at a West Catholic Athletic League title on the line Saturday, the St. Ignatius football team broke the cardinal rule of playing against Bellarmine.

You can’t play from behind against the Bells.

The Wildcats scored first in a matchup of unbeaten WCAL squads, but allowed the Bells to score 21 unanswered points in the second quarter and did not see the lead again in a 35-28 home loss.

St. Ignatius (6-2, 4-1) got within a score with 3:56 remaining in the fourth quarter on the second touchdown pass from quarterback Jack Stinn to Andrew Vollert, but the Bells recovered the ensuing onside kick and got back to what they do best – eating up the clock.

St. Ignatius senior Albert Waters hauls in one of his two interceptions with a Bellarmine receiver on his back on Saturday at St. Ignatius Prep. (Photo by Doug Ko)

The Bells (7-1, 5-0) ran nine consecutive rushing plays, picked up three first downs and kneeled on the final play to end the game. St. Ignatius outscored Bellarmine 21-14 in the second half, but the Bells had possession for over 19 of the 24 minutes of game time after the halftime break, behind their nearly unstoppable double-wing offense.

“They know what we’re going to run, so we just gotta execute it,” said Bellarmine head coach Mike Janda. “Our guys did it. They stayed in there tough . . . We had to control the ball, because we didn’t want to give it back to them. They’re too explosive.”

The reason for Janda’s apprehension was the St. Ignatius offense that emerged in the second half. After struggling to sustain any offensive momentum in the first half (St. Ignatius only totaled 115 yards before the break), the Wildcats used several big plays to get back into the game.

The biggest plays came from St. Ignatius senior Albert Waters, who answered a Bellarmine score that extended the Bells’ lead to 28-14 with an 80-yard touchdown run with 2:37 remaining in the third quarter. After another Bellarmine score extended the lead again to two scores, Waters caught a picture-perfect pass from Stinn on third-and-25 for a first down to set up the Wildcats’ final score. Waters also had two interceptions on defense.

“We would have been scared to death if they got the ball one more time,” Janda said. “One more pass was all it takes – [or] one run. They can score at any time.”

The Bells ran for 299 yards, led by 125 on 22 carries by senior Kenneth Olugbode, and Bellarmine junior quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels added 83 yards on 20 carries.

But the game, like the final drive, came down to the Wildcats stopping the double-wing attack, specifically on short, third-down situations. The Bells converted on 12-of-16 third downs, including 7-of-9 in the second half.

St. Ignatius senior quarterback Jack Stinn slips away from the Bellarmine pass rush on Saturday at St. Ignatius Prep. (Photo by Doug Ko)

“We have to find ways to play defense and make our stops there . . . They made some plays when they needed to and we didn’t,” said St. Ignatius head coach John Regalia. “That’s going to happen when you have a very good football team that is well-coached and well-prepared. They make plays in situations, and we have to respond and make plays in those situations.”

Stinn didn’t have a very accurate performance (he completed 12-of-28 passing attempts), but made plays with his arm and his feet at crucial moments. The senior left-hander ran for 55 yards on six carries and threw for 179 yards. Vollert was his favorite target, with 103 yards on six receptions.

“Our guys did a good job responding in the second half and that’s what we expect them to do,” Regalia said. “I’m proud of our guys for doing that, for sure.”

Although 16 of Stinn’s passes fell incomplete, the nagging issue of drops by St. Ignatius receivers reared its ugly head again. The Wildcats dropped five passes, including one that would have surely resulted in a touchdown.

Scoring Summary

First Quarter
SI: 8:24 – Andrew Vollert 15-yard pass from Jack Stinn (Michael Capitolo kick)

Second Quarter
B: 10:48 – Joey Sanfilippo 38-yard pass from K.J. Carta-Samuels (kick failed)
B: 5:39 – Carta-Samuels 3-yard run (Kenneth Olugbode pass from Carta-Samuels on conversion)
B: 0:30 – Jared Vallner 35-yard pass from Carta-Samuels (Grant Bush kick)

Third Quarter
SI: 6:32 – Elijah Dale 1-yard run (Capitolo kick)
B: 2:50 – Carta-Samuels 3-yard run (Bush kick)
SI: 2:37 – Albert Waters 80-yard run (Capitolo kick)

Fourth Quarter
B: 6:48 – Sanfilippo 29-yard run (Bush kick)
SI: 3:56 – Vollert 3-yard pass from Stinn (Capitolo kick)

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26 Comments

  1. JJ says:

    Not to take anything away from Bellarmine’s win, but SI’s best offensive lineman wasn’t playing, Ivy League bound, Blohm #50. Perhaps if he played, SI would’ve had a better running game and #74 Tiggs would be in his normal position at defensive end and SI could’ve got some sacks and more pressure on the QB. Also, Bellarmine had a better kicker always giving SI bad field position. I think SI always started at their own 20, while Bellarmine started on their own 40 yard line every time. Furthermore, I think SI’s best tight end broke his collarbone 2 minutes into the game…. Ostrowski #16?? Who knows, SI could meet up again in the O Division Final? It would be another good game, but the Serra-SI game should be a good 1 next week. Serra should’ve went for the PAT when they lost to the Bells, tho.

    • Lance says:

      I’m sure you can argue they should have went for the safe PAT, but Serra was not stopping them all day.It was evetually coming down to a 2 point try eventually. The Bells just stuffed it. Credit the Bells D making a great play and the coaches scouting the Bulach Colony game when Serra ran the identical play to win against a very strong team which is currently ranked 2 in a very strong region.

      You can argue it either way. This weeks game should be good. I believe both teams are nicked up right now.

      • JJ says:

        Serra should’ve extended the game, but Serra’s coach gambled too much. Just because it worked vs Buchach Colony, doesn’t mean it will work vs the Bells with a D1 linebacker manning the middle. If u are gonna go for it, at least try a more creative play like a QB bootleg with an option to pass?

        • Lance says:

          I totally agree with you on the play selection. But at some point the teams have to go for 2. Serra was not stopping the Bells.In regulation or the 1st OT. The coach says we have to go for 2 at some point. Let’s do it now. He lost. Bells won.

    • Matthew Snyder says:

      JJ, is that Chris Blohm’s younger brother? Is he headed to Yale as well?

  2. Chris says:

    JJ, SI played well, they just didn’t win…they looked pretty exciting overall and as good a high school team can field. The campus was lovely too, maybe 5 good days without fog in the sunset, yesterday was one of them. There was no let down, SI had nothing to be ashamed of.

  3. Chris says:

    On a side note, I was surprised to see how many Bells fans showed up from San Jose. What great support from their school and spirit. But I suppose with one of the best programs year in and out, you will get that.

    • JJ says:

      Alot of fans showed up because the game was hyped up in the media and internet. Where was the Bellarmine student cheering section, tho? Back when I was in HS, Bellarmine would have a cheering section of 50 to 100 students.

      • Chris says:

        yes, I was talking about parents and supporters. No students or cheering section, your right. Im sure they will have a good turnout when Bellarmine plays their San Jose schools. No different when SF schools play each other.

    • wcalsf says:

      On another board it was noted how surprising it was to see the lack of students, band or cheerleaders on the SI side with many leaving after halftime. Do the fans only show up for the B-M? Pretty sad to see the lack of support of the student body.

      • JJ says:

        When SI went co-ed, the school and fan support went downhill. The school support used to be like the Serra contingent but not as rude. Most of the girls don’t even watch the game.

        • wcalsf says:

          agree jj. i would say that goes for shc, too. all three schools had awesome turnouts for football and basketball. the only venue that they used for basketball was kezar and sometimes usf whenever one of the three played each other. my older brother told me there was an annual mass that included all three schools at st. mary’s cathedral. that must have been impressive.

  4. BigMikeDC says:

    Game was winnable by SI. Bells executed much better. Agree, kicking/Field position made a huge difference. DB’s need work. SI has injuries, but has plenty of athletes ready to step up. Yes, given the new CCS rules, may have the opportunity to meet in the CCS Open championship. With different results we hope.

    • JJ says:

      Yea, I think the top 4 teams in the WCAL will make the Open Division. The 5th and 6th place teams will also make CCS. Even Riordan has a good chance at a CCS playoff spot too, but will be in D3 with Valley Christian, perhaps.

      • M Air J says:

        I was reading on another board that all WCAL teams will most likely make the CCS playoffs. SHC has to beat Riordan to make it, which I think they will, especially if Masoli is out.

  5. AAA FAN says:

    Bellarmine raw. They’d be better however with a better mobile QB

  6. friscopete says:

    Athletically Jack Stinn reminds me of Michael Vick. He could run for alot more yards if he wasn’t so well drilled by his coaches to run out of bounds when defenders get close to him. If the two teams should meet again the Cats should go to an up tempo offense the entire game, cuz the Bells won’t be able to stop it.

  7. gm says:

    A huge play in the game in the 2nd qtr was a non call for an obvious illegal block against the Bells RT who grabbed SI’s left end on a pass rush by the legs from behind and wrapped him up (tackled) just before he leveled the QB. The QB then scrambled to his left through a 20 yard pass that looked to be tipped and dropped incomplete. SI was called for Pass Interference. Huge swing. A play or two later, Bells scored on a long pass to the corner of the end zone…..that and two dropped interceptions and a dropped long pass doomed SI….

    • Eric says:

      Bells had one touchdown called back. Bells were called for 4-5 holding calls, a couple of which killed drives, but they were able to overcome a couple others. I watched Bells coaches after the 80 yard run by SI, and they were really hot about a missed hold on that run.

      I want SI to win also, but the excuses sound really bad. It looked to me like the Bells were one touchdown better, and that is how it ended.

      Also, I am not sure if these guys were starters or not, don’t know much about the Bells, but they had at least 4-5 kids walking around their sidelines with jerseys on, and street clothes. Every team at every level of football battles injuries.

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