The St. Patrick-St. Vincent High football team has struggled most of the season in the third quarter. Unfortunately for the Bruin faithful, it didn’t get any better in its homecoming game on Friday night against Salesian in a 39-21 loss.
Despite only trailing by five at the half, Salesian recovered an onside kick on the half’s opening play, and then recovered a Bruin fumble and intercepted a pass on the next two St. Pat’s offensive drives. The three turnovers, all within the first six minutes of the third quarter spelled doom for the Bruins as all three led to touchdowns.
St. Pat’s was outscored last week 14-0 in the third quarter in its win against St. Mary’s. Three weeks ago the Bruins were outscored 19-6 by Benicia in a loss.
“I haven’t figured that one out yet,” St. Pat’s head coach Lane Hawkins said about the poor play third quarter. “The key was the onside kick and then they scored and then we had the illegal formation with a fumble and they scored. That was 14 points right off the bat to start the third quarter that we gave them, and we lost the game by 19.”
The Bruins (2-6, 1-2 in the Tri-County Athletic League) trailed just 12-7 at the half despite Salesian (7-1, 3-0) owning the time of possession 17 minutes to seven and the Pride limiting the Bruins’ offense to just 108 total yards in the first 24 minutes.
Fifty-six of those yards came on a run by Ja’vionne Shepherd for a touchdown that gave the Bruins a 7-6 lead with 8:35 left in the second quarter. Shepherd, who moved from quarterback to running back recently, gained 68 yards on the ground with just five carries.
“On that play I just followed my lineman,” Shepherd said. “I saw my tackle Michael Reagan on the kickout. I cut right off him and found daylight.”
The Bruins’ lead was short lived though, as Pride quarterback Ronald Robertson found his tight end Nick Fay wide open for a 31-yard gain that led to a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Robertson and 12-7 lead with 6:12 remaining in the half. The Pride never trailed the rest of the game.
St. Pat’s was set to receive the opening kickoff of the third quarter, but Salesian instead took back momentum with the onside kick recovery. Five plays later, Robertson had his second 1-yard rushing touchdown, that one giving the Pride a 19-7 lead with 9:40 left in the third quarter.
On the Bruins’ next offensive drive they fumbled the ball on what looked like a mix-up of a play-call. Five plays later Salesian added to its lead when Robertson found Kareem Sullivan open for a 20-yard touchdown that made the score 26-7.
Finally the Bruins turned the ball over once again in the third quarter, this time with just under four minutes to play in the period when Sullivan picked off a pass from Jomar Connors Jr. Eleven plays after the interception the Pride scored again, this time early in the fourth quarter when Robertson found Kailan Chang in the back of the end zone for a 33-7 lead.
The fourth quarter would see plenty of scoring as Connor had a two-yard run for a touchdown to cut the lead to 33-14. Connor completed five passes on that drive and finished with 113 yards passing for the game.
However, Salesian struck right back just three plays later when Justin Guitierrez scored on a 1-yard run. Guitierrez had a 47-yard run on the drive and also scored a touchdown early in the first quarter. He finished with a game-high 157 yards on 19 carries, while Sullivan also ran the ball well for the Pride with 128 yards on 15 carries.
St. Pat’s added its final score of the game with 2:10 remaining when Shepherd rushed in his second touchdown of the night, this time from seven yards out to make it 39-21, the eventual final.
Despite the loss, Hawkins said that St. Pat’s has qualified for a postseason spot in its division by defeating St. Mary’s on the road last week. Whether or not the Bruins are added to the North Coast Section playoff bracket is still undecided. One thing is clear to the head coach though — his team needs to get better.
“We need to play our brand of football and we’re not quite there yet,” Hawkins said. “We’re young. We’re missing our effort to some degree. Kids are still trying to figure out some things and that’s the youth. Not saying it’s their fault because they’re young, but they are young and they still have to learn. So it’s still not quite Bruin football, but we’ll get there.”
Salesian 39, St. Pat’s 21
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