By John Baker
SAN MATEO – While the “Jungle Game” moniker is generally applied to basketball games between the two schools, something has to account for the vines that tied down the St. Ignatius offense in its 47-21 West Catholic Athletic League loss at Serra on Saturday.
The Padres (8-1, 5-1) thoroughly dominated in the first half, with rushing touchdowns from Angelo Arco (33 yards), Kava Cassidy (3 yards) and Zack Kazakoff (4 yards), plus two field goals from Anthony Toms.
On the other side of the ball, the Wildcats (6-3, 4-2) were ineffective offensively, with quarterback Jack Stinn completing just 1-of-10 passes in the first half, partially due to to several drops by St. Ignatius receivers.
Serra took a 27-0 lead into halftime.
“We did enough in the secondary to make Stinn feel a little uncomfortable and that was our goal,” said Serra head coach Patrick Walsh. “I didn’t want to have a seven-on-seven scrimmage out here.”
St. Ignatius head coach John Regalia said the backfield pressure didn’t affect his quarterback, but may have caused problems for his receivers.
“We want to be able to move the ball and if we want to throw the ball, we want to be able to catch it,” Regalia said. “Jack’s a good player. He’s able to manage the game without really worrying about what else is going on around.”
Despite the early hole, the Wildcats made a game of it coming out of the halftime break.
Just over a minute into the third quarter, St. Ignatius defensive back Charlie Ford intercepted a Kazakoff pass on the Serra 33-yard line and ran it back for a touchdown. On the ensuing possession, St. Ignatius forced Serra to punt for the first time, then, with 3:28 left in the third, the Wildcats tallied their first offensive score on a 2-yard run by senior Albert Waters to cut the lead to 27-14.
“I’m never comfortable in this league. It’s pretty much seven weeks of misery,” Walsh said. “It’s a very difficult grind. We knew SI was a great team and they showed their heart in the third quarter.”
Regalia said he wasn’t sure what caused the turnaround, which ended up being brief, as Serra scored three rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
St. Ignatius tallied its final score with 7:47 left in the game. The Wildcats recovered a fumble on the Serra 30-yard line, then scored on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Stinn to senior wide receiver Andrew Vollert.
“With Jack Stinn back there, and Vollert and all the weapons they have, I was never confident,” Walsh said. “I tip my cap to coach Regalia and the heart they showed this afternoon, but when we needed some first downs at the end of the game, we got that done.”
Stinn ended up completing 13-of-34 passes for 141 yards, with his favorite targets being Vollert (five catches for 41 yards) and Waters (four for 53 yards). Stinn was also St. Ignatius’ leading rusher, with 51 yards on 10 carries.
Serra, which is one point away from a 9-0 season (the Padres lost 35-34 to Bellarmine on Oct. 5), outgained the Wildcats 474-216. In total, Serra ran for 413 yards, including 225 from senior running back Eric Redwood. The Padres have ran for 970 yards in their last two games against the Wildcats, including a school-record 557 last season.
S: 6:19 – Angelo Arco 33-yard run (Anthony Toms kick)
S: 1:18 – Kava Cassidy 3-yard run (Toms kick)
S: 9:12 – Toms 34-yard field goal
S: 2:04 – Zack Kazakoff 4-yard run (Toms kick)
S: 0:00 – Toms 27-yard field goal
SI: 10:55 – Charlie Ford 33-yard interception return (Michael Capitolo kick)
SI: 3:28 – Albert Waters 2-yard run (Capitolo kick)
S: 11:55 – Fia Malepeai 1-yard run (Toms kick)
SI: 7:47 – Andrew Vollert 3-yard pass from Jack Stinn (Capitolo kick)
S: 4:33 – Eric Redwood 12-yard run (kick failed)
S: 1:34 – Kevin McGee 31-yard run (Toms kick)