By Jeremy Balan
MORGAN HILL – The Archbishop Riordan High School football team fumbled the opening kickoff against Sobrato in the Central Coast Section Division III playoffs on Saturday night and it didn’t get much better for the Crusaders after that.
Riordan rushed for 350 yards, but committed three turnovers and turned the ball over on downs three more times in a 40-17 loss to second-seeded Sobrato at Live Oak High School.
The seventh-seeded Crusaders (3-8) also had nine penalties for 86 yards and never cut the Sobrato (8-3) lead to single digits after the Bulldogs scored on their first two possessions to take a 14-3 lead in the first quarter.
“You cannot win games with penalties and turnovers. It’s a simple recipe,” said Riordan head coach Richard Sweeney. “That plagued us from the very first kickoff.”
Riordan junior quarterback Chris Hall had a game-high 157 yards rushing on 15 carries and senior running back Tre’ Gunter added 132 on 20 carries, but the Crusaders lacked the big-play ability to get back into the game after the early double-digit deficit. Hall had two long runs (46 and 41 yards) that set up scores, but the Crusaders didn’t have another play over 20 yards until Gunter broke off a 26-yard run with Riordan trailing 40-10 late in the fourth quarter.
After trailing 20-3 at the half, the Crusaders appeared to gain traction after the Riordan defense recovered its second fumble of the third quarter just 2 minutes into the second half.
Hall led the Crusaders on a nine-play, 70-yard scoring drive that cut the lead to 20-10 with 6:36 remaining in the third quarter, but Sobrato senior quarterback Michael Bocksnick had an answer.
Bocksnick connected with receiver Jojo Nunn for an 8-yard score just under 3 minutes later and put the game away with his third touchdown pass to Nunn on the next Sobrato possession. The final strike to Nunn was on fourth-and-goal from the Riordan 19-yard line and gave Sobrato a commanding 33-10 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Bocksnick finished with 143 yards on 9-of-13 passing, and rushed for a team-high 110 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
“He kept making plays and he’s done that all season,” Sobrato head coach Nick Borello said of Bocksnick. “He’s our most-dangerous weapon. He can get the ball into the hands of our other athletes and he can do things with it himself. We’re fortunate to have a player like that.”
While the Crusaders earned their first CCS playoff berth since 2007, they ended the season on an eight-game losing streak after sweeping their non-league schedule. Riordan equaled its win total from the previous three seasons combined, but didn’t win a West Catholic Athletic League game for the second straight season. Sweeney said after the loss on Saturday that he still needs time to fully evaluate the Crusaders’ progress this year.
“I need to take a little time to reflect and visit with my coaches,” Sweeney said. “I’m proud of the staff that we have. They’re a bunch of guys who are passionate about football and Riordan kids. We’ve come a long way, in terms of the culture of our team and the work ethic, and we won some games. We’re building a program.”
S: 10:03 – Drew Glines 6-yard run (Jose Martin-Mendoza kick)
R: 7:44 – Angel Hernandez 26-yard field goal
S: 3:23 – Glines 3-yard run (Martin-Mendoza kick)
S: 5:18 – Jojo Nunn 10-yard pass from Michael Bocksnick (kick failed)
R: 6:36 – Kyle Craig 2-yard run (Hernandez kick)
S: 3:54 – Nunn 8-yard pass from Bocksnick (Martin-Mendoza kick)
S: 0:53 – Nunn 19-yard pass from Bocksnick (kick failed)
S: 8:09 – Bocksnick 37-yard run (Martin-Mendoza kick)
R: 3:15 – Chris Hall 9-yard run (Hernandez kick)