By BRIAN REED-BAIOTTO, Sports Editor Some times it’s not good enough just to play all three phases of the game well. The Golden Knights were solid offensively, on defense and especially on special teams. As important, though, in St. Francis’ 20-13 Angelus League victory Saturday night, was the character it showed, and how it reacted […]
By BRIAN REED-BAIOTTO, Sports Editor
Some times it’s not good enough just to play all three phases of the game well.
The Golden Knights were solid offensively, on defense and especially on special teams.
As important, though, in St. Francis’ 20-13 Angelus League victory Saturday night, was the character it showed, and how it reacted to adversity.
Trailing 13-10 late in the fourth quarter, St. Francis quarterback Michael Bonds, celebrating his 18th birthday, and with momentum going the opposite direction, made a Salesian defensive back look bad.
Bonds pumped once to make it look like he was going to unload, he drew the defender in, and it left Gabriel Mathews wide open for an 80-yard touchdown that gave the Golden Knights (7-0 overall, 2-0 in league) a 17-13 lead.
A play or two later, Bobby Gazmarian tipped a Robbie Blosser pass away from the Mustangs receiver.
But that wasn’t all. Gazmarian not only tipped it away, he recovered physically, and picked the pass off in Salesian territory.
Gazmarian’s athletic play would earn the Golden Knights three more points.
Dulles Hanula booted a 34-yard field goal and St. Francis led 20-13 with 32 seconds left in the game.
To its credit, Salesian (5-2, 1-1) drove about 40 yards, and had one last shot with six seconds to play.
Blosser scrambled around, and threw it nearly 50 yards into the end zone with several players jockeying for the ball.
St. Francis’s Andrew Monarrez, though, who had just come in for the play, picked it off, despite a Mustangs’ player trying to wrestle it away from him.
Monarrez’s pick ended a very good, back-and-forth, emotional Angelus League thriller, and the junior was swarmed by his teammates in the end zone.
“I came in (on that play) with confidence and I was looking for an interception or to bat it down,” Monarrez said. “It could have been a game-winner had they caught it. I was very excited (to have made that play.)”
Mathews did his part on defense, but his 80-yard TD turned out to be the game winning score.
Mathews caught three passes for 110 yards.
“We had been practicing all week on the home-run ball, so when they bit on the bubble, I knew I was gone,” Mathews said. “We just keep working and play as a team for 48 minutes. I am proud the way my team excels over team’s with better athletes.”
Bonds also hit Will Mudie on a 10-yard score in the fourth quarter as the Golden Knights were down 6-3.
Deommodore Lenoir was outstanding for Salesian.
Lenior’s 10-yard TD run in the third quarter gave the Mustangs a 6-3 lead.
But his 29-yard connection from Blosser with 9:45 to play in the game looked devastating as Salesian took a 13-10 lead.
But Bonds and Dulles Hanula were clutch, just to name a few.
Hanula kicked a rare 47-yard field goal in the third quarter to give St. Francis a 3-0 lead after a defense-dominated first half.
As important as his two field goals was Hanula’s long kickoff’s that did not allow Salesian’s speedy kick return men a chance.
In high school, a player can not run the kickoff out of the end zone.
“We talked about it all week being 100 percent on kickoffs and making my kicks deep,” Hanula said. “Personally, I love (pressure situations) situations like that, because I’ve done it a thousand times (in practice), and it feels good that the coaches have the faith in me to try kicks like that.”
The dynamic duo of Elijah Washington and Jace Harrick didn’t get into the end zone, but they kept drives going and both ran hard for a combined 150-plus yards.
St. Francis: 0-0-3-17-(20)
SF: Dulles Hanula 47 FG
S: Deommodore Lenior 10 run (kick blocked)
SF: Will Mudie 10 pass from Michael Bonds (Dulles Hanula kick)
S: Deommodore Lenior 29 pass from Robbie Blosser (Christian Renteria kick)
SF: Gabriel Mathews 80 pass from Michael Bonds (Dulles Hanula kick)
SF: Dulles Hanula 34 FG