Public School Playoff Field Set
The Academic Athletic Association (AAA) wrapped up its regular season last Friday, with Balboa’s win over Lowell officially closing the four-team playoff field. Later that night, two of the city’s Catholic schools, Sacred Heart Cathedral and St. Ignatius, competed in the Central Coast Section (CCS) quarter-finals. At such a busy time of year, The Standard is your #1 source for all things high school sports in San Francisco, including why the AAA semifinals are played at 1:30 p.m. on a Thursday.
Balboa Buccaneers 35, Lowell Cardinals 26
Balboa (5-5, 4-2 AAA) finally puts everything in place at the right time. Noah DeGroat ran for a 50-yard touchdown and returned a punt for 75 yards, while Dontae Allen-Wilson ran for a pair of scores, including a 62-yard one late in the third quarter. The win locked the Buccaneers in the third seed and another shot at Washington in Thursday’s semifinals. Lowell (3-6, 3-3) dropped to fourth and will visit top seed Lincoln. The Cardinals lost second-year quarterback Angelo Ornelas to a broken collarbone.
CCS Division II Quarter-Final: No. 5 Bellarmine Bells 30, No. 4 Menlo-Atherton Bears 7
The Bells avenged a season-opening loss in convincing fashion, passing the Bears behind Nate Escalada’s 299 passing yards. Escalada’s 48-yard completion to sophomore Zayne St. Laurent set up a 1-yard touchdown run from Ben Pfaff that put Bellarmine (5-6) up 16 with 10:32 remaining, and Pfaff added another short touchdown run to knock the game out of range. Escalada threw touchdowns to Parker Threatt and Joe Fuqua, and the Bell defense recorded three interceptions. Menlo-Atherton (5-6) scored on Sherrod Smith’s 30-yard touchdown early in the third quarter; he finished with 80 yards on 12 carries.
Galileo Lions 32, Burton Pumas 0
In a battle of winless teams, the Lions prevailed to end the season on a high. Galileo (1-9, 1-5 AAA) led 20-0 after one quarter and rode to victory. Nate Chynoweth threw for three touchdowns and ran for a fourth, with two of his TD passes going to Miles Echevarri, and Chase Recio had four catches for 100 yards. Burton (0-7, 0-6) ended a second straight season without a win. Robby Alvarez caught three passes for 79 yards to lead the visiting Pumas.
CCS Division I Quarter-Finals: No. 6 Mitty Monarchs 29, No. 3 Los Gatos Wildcats 28 (OT)
The Mitty Monarchs put their entire season into one game, and it paid off. Quarterback Wills Towers connected on a short pass with star receiver Danny Scudero for a two-point conversion, and the Monarchs escaped Los Gatos with a thrilling 29-28 victory in overtime. Towers had connected with Charlie Butler on a touchdown pass before the decisive conversion. Los Gatos (8-3) scored on the opening possession of overtime on Jake Boyd’s 10-yard pass to Wil Brennan. The Wildcats pushed the game into overtime by blocking a field goal on the end play of regulation. Mitty (8-3) spent most of the night in front after Scudero returned the kickoff for a 95-yard touchdown.
CCS Division I Quarter-Final: No. 1 Serra Padres 57, No. 8 Palma Chieftains 7
While the No. 8 seeds have scared the No. 1 seeds in the CCS Division I playoffs for the past few years, there would be no such worries for the Serra Padres, who were leading 29-0 after one quarter and replaced their starters before halftime. Transfer Bishop O’Dowd Kyon Loud caught a touchdown and returned a punt 50 yards for a score for Serra (11-0), the CSC’s only undefeated team. Palma (8-3) broke the shutout on JC Escutia’s rushing touchdown.
CCS Division I Quarter-Finals: No. 2 St. Francis Lancers 17, No. 2 Sacred Heart Cathedral Fightin’ Irish 14
The legendary football careers of RL Miller and Jerry Mixon Jr. at Sacred Heart Cathedral came to an end on Friday night with a 17-14 loss to No. 2 St. Francis (8-3) in the quarter-finals of CCS Division I. The Lancers took the lead on Kingston Keanaaina’s 4-yard touchdown with 8:26 left. No. 7 Sacred Heart Cathedral (6-5) tied the game at 7 late in the first quarter on a 43-yard touchdown from Kendric Sanders and led 14-10 in the third after a Mixon dive of 1 yard, but failed to shoot far after recovering the ball with excellent court position on a sloppy punt.
CCS Division II Quarterfinals: No. 2 St. Ignatius Wildcats 24, No. 7 Half Moon Bay Cougars 15
Facing a two-point halftime deficit against an opponent who can eat time with the best of them, the St. Ignatius Wildcats looked dead in the water, especially after No. 7 Half Moon Bay (7-4) blocked a punt to start the third quarter. From there, the Wildcats rallied, stuffing a fake punt and taking the lead late in the third, and they went on to win 24-15 to set up a semifinal with the No. 3 Aptos.
Washington Eagles 20, Mission Bears 0
Tommy Mayfield-Commer ran for two touchdowns before coming away with an ankle injury as Washington (8-2, 5-1 AAA) recorded its fourth shutout of the season and posted its highest win total in regular season since 2011. Dhiraj Gurung also ran for a score and recorded an interception, one of three turnovers forced by the Eagles that day. The hosts also got an interception from Rigo Hernandez and Julian Nakapaahu picked up a fumble after his own backpack. Mission (2-7, 2-4 AAA) was shut out for the fourth time. The Bears finished the season with back-to-back shutout losses.
Sequoia and Overfelt played a Game of the Year contender in the CSC Division IV quarterfinals as the top-seeded Ravens won 51-50 in two overtimes. Overfelt (9-2) opened the second period of overtime on a 2-yard touchdown from Quinton Togia’i, but was stopped on a two-run try. Sequoia (10-1) answered on Jordan Crockett V’s 4-yard score, and Brody McKenna’s extra point sealed the win. Both teams had scored in the first overtime and scored on two-point conversions. The Ravens had nearly won at the end of regulation, but McKenna’s 30-yard field goal try was blocked.
Pittsburgh quarterback Jaden Rashada had missed the 104th Big Little Game due to illness but got his shot against arch-rival Antioch the following week in the Division 1 Quarterfinals of the Division North Coast (NCS). Rashada, who flipped his Miami commitment to Florida earlier in the week, threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third as the Pirates cruised to a 55-22 win over the Panthers. Rashada sat out for the second half, and second-year Marley Alcantara pitched for three more scores as No. 2 Pittsburg (10-1) won on the road. Seventh-seeded Antioch (4-7) had 103 yards and a rushing touchdown from Larenzo Mayfield.
7 Salesian (6-5) pulled off a stunner in NCS Division 6, winning 14-10 over second-seeded Moreau Catholic (7-4) in a match where the teams combined for eight turnovers. Moreau is coached by former Balboa boss Keith Minor.
In the Sac-Joaquin Section (SJS) Division 1 playoffs, second-seeded St. Mary’s-Stockton were ousted by Turlock in a 51-50 thriller. 7 Turlock (8-4) took the lead for good with 1:11 left on Cole Gilbert’s two-point conversion pass to Andrew Johnson after Gilbert’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Peter Mello . Johnson’s interception with 24 seconds left sealed the game and ended any hopes St. Mary’s (10-1) had of overtaking Serra as Northern California’s top team and representing the region in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Open Division Championship.
Other San Francisco Sports News
The second-seeded university (28-6) swept No. 3 Aragon (26-10) in the Northern California Division II women’s volleyball semifinals, advancing to the Tuesday’s regional championship in Clovis North and finishing with a perfect 13-0 record at home. Kinnari Atluru managed a record 18 decisive wins as the Red Devils won their second straight knockout game in straight sets.