While San Francisco had state football champions last year, the city has just one representative this season. Lincoln was gunning for a third state championship after a Turkey Day game victory over Balboa, but St. Ignatius’ bid for its first Central Coast Section (CCS) title since 2012 fell just short when the Wildcats lost to Bellarmine. The Standard has full coverage of both games, as well as other important local sports.
CCS Division II Championship: No. 5 Bellarmine Bells 21, no. 2 St. Ignatius Wildcats 14
Four turnovers led St. Ignatius to a CCS Division II championship against West Catholic Athletic League (WCAL) rival Bellarmine. A Wildcat fumble put fifth-seeded Bellarmine (7-6) at the SI 32 with 3:50 left, setting up Ben Pfaff’s go-ahead touchdown run with 1:01 on the clock. St. Ignatius (6-7) tied the game with 20 seconds left.
Pierce St. Gem had a 71-yard touchdown less than a minute into the game and added an 80-yard score on a screen pass in the second quarter. He finished with six catches for 164 yards, while quarterback Soren Hummel completed 12 of 24 passes for 273 yards. Pfaff rushed 18 times for 133 yards for the Bells, who also got touchdown runs from Nate Escalada and Jake Hanson. Escalada completed 19 of 28 passes for 125 yards, while Jayvon Riels led the Bellarmine defense with three sacks and fumbled one of SI’s four turnovers.
98th Turkey Day Game: No. 1 Lincoln Mustangs 44, no. 3 Balboa Buccaneers 7
The Mustang defense stole the show in the 98th Turkey Day game, led by a pair of interception returns by cornerback Javier Solares for touchdowns. Solares returned the first kickoff 52 yards to give top-seeded Lincoln (9-3) a 14-7 lead in the second quarter, and his 80-yard return in the fourth quarter served as the icing on the cake as the Mustangs won their third Turkey Day game in the last four seasons and last year against Balboa. Avenged the defeat. Jaylen Lopez added a 7-yard pick-six on the final play for the third defensive touchdown.
Lincoln has now won the Turkey Day game 13 times, nine of which have come under head coach Phil Ferrigno. His ninth win made him the all-time leader among San Francisco football coaches, breaking the tie he previously shared with Milt Axt, who coached Polytechnic in the mid-20th century.
Diego Cristerna also starred for the Mustangs, running for a pair of 15-yard touchdowns and recording a game-high 11 tackles. He rushed eight times for 70 yards, sharing rushing duties with Ricky Underwood (12 carries-76 yards) and Jamelle Newman (9 carries-61 yards). Quarterback Michael Simmons also scored on a 1-yard sneak.
Edwin Maiwa’s 30-yard first-quarter touchdown pass to Nick Wong on fourth down served as the lone score for Balboa (6-6). The Buccaneers gained 86 rushing yards on 19 carries from Donte Allen-Wilson.
Lincoln received a bye to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Division 7-A championship game on Saturday, Dec. 10 will be played in San Francisco. The Mustangs will face the winner of the Southern California final between Crenshaw and Whittier Christian.
CCS Division I Championship: No. 1 Serra Padres 41, no. 6 Mitty Monarchs 14
The sixth-seeded Monarchs gave the Padres all they could handle for three quarters before Serra (13-0) cemented its status as the top team in Northern California, scoring three times in the first six minutes of the final period and pulling away.
Seamus Gilmartin’s 34-yard reception on the first play of the fourth quarter set up Jabari Mann for a 1-yard touchdown run and Jaden Green scored on a 9-yard run after an interception by sophomore Teddy Chung. Joseph Latu finished the scoring and capped his 12-carry, 100-yard rushing performance with a 2-yard plunge.
Danny Scudero, who was named the WCAL’s Player of the Year on Monday, had another impressive performance for a Mitty (9-4) team that went just 1-9 in 2021. He caught six passes for 99 yards. A 7-yard strike on fourth-and-goal from Wills Towers in the final seconds of the first half to tie the game at 7. He ran for 24 yards on five carries, capped by his 3-yard score in the third quarter after Charlie Butler’s 65-yard reception from Towers led the Padres to 6. He completed 23 of 41 passes for 345 yards.
Danny Niu’s 61-yard run in a double wing formation in the third quarter put Serra ahead for good, and Latu’s first touchdown of the night, a 5-yard run, made it 20-7. Maealiuaki Smith’s 1-yard sneak with 3:57 left in the first quarter gave the Padres the lead until a Towers-to-Scudero connection in the final seconds of the first half.
On Sunday, Serra was surprisingly named the CIF Northern California Open Division representative. The Padres will take on St. John Bosco-Bellflower on Dec. 10 at Saddleback Valley College in Orange County.
Barry McLaughlin, who served as Sacred Heart Cathedral’s head coach for five seasons, including a 2021 state championship run, added another CCS Division III championship to his resume as offensive line coach at Menlo (8-5). The Knights won 42-6 against Hollister on Saturday night. He and offensive coordinator Mike Hill, who held the same position under McLaughlin in the SHC, will travel to Novato on Saturday for the Northern California Division 4-A final against San Marin (11-2), North Coast Section (NCS) Division 5. Champion.
A week after losing to De La Salle in the NCS Open Division Championship, Pittsburgh (11-2) rebounded with a 13-3 win over Clayton Valley in the NCS Division 1 title game, at least extending the career of outgoing head coach Vic Galli. Another week. The Pirates will host Manteca (11-1), led by Florida State commit Blake Nicholson, in the Northern California Division 1-A championship next Saturday.
San Ramon Valley (11-2) is the NCS Division 2 champion and will host Marin Catholic (13-0) next weekend for the Northern California Division 2-A crown. The Wolves beat Campolindo 35-21 in the NCS title game.
Basketball season is underway
While most of the attention was on playoff football over the weekend, the high school basketball season was in full swing. Riordan opened with a seven-point win over Weston Ranch in Saturday’s Nor Cal tip-off in Dublin after senior point guard King-Njsonni Wilhite scored eight straight points after the Cougars tied the game at 59. Wilhite scored a game-high 22, while freshman Andrew Hillman dazzled with 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists in his debut. Christian Wise was named player of the game with 17 points and 17 rebounds.
A shorthanded St. Ignatius team also opened the season with a win Saturday, defeating Santa Cruz 77-72 in overtime. Pepperdine commit John Squire was out with an illness, but the Wildcats got 18 points from Kriker Karagejian and 14 from freshman Raymond Whitley.
On Wednesday, Lowell bucked tradition by upping the pace to open the 2022-23 season with a 54-39 win over Stuart Hall. Alex Hedger scored 14 points for the Cardinals, while Stuart Hall’s Brett Jasper led the scorers with 16. Later that night, Sacred Heart Cathedral beat Terra Nova 74-44, with RL Miller scoring 13 points. Fed Pernell finished with eight points, eight assists and six rebounds.