It finally all came together for St. Ignatius on Friday night.
A young team that had struggled to find consistency, often getting strong performances in one or two phases of the game but seldom in all three, put together a complete package on Friday night to beat Mitty 24-21 on Cooper Lucey’s 18-yard field goal with a second remaining.
“Once the team comes together and we all start believing we can do it, we do it,” said running back Cameron Jones. “It’s a three-phase game, and we completed all three phases: special teams, offense, defense.”
A week after being shut out by archrival Sacred Heart Cathedral, the Wildcats found their rhythm on offense. Sophomore quarterback Soren Hummel threw for 235 yards and three touchdowns, and he led the drive to set up Lucey’s game-winning kick after the Monarchs had driven to tie the game at 21. Hummel’s 21-yard completion to Pierce St. Geme got St. Ignatius (3-5, 2-3 West Catholic Athletic League) to midfield, and a series of runs by Jones and sophomore Jarious Hogan took the Wildcats to the 1 before Lucey’s field goal, which he made after Mitty (6-2, 3-2) called two timeouts to ice him.
“I’ve been working the past four years, every day just kicking by myself on the small field,” Lucey said of his preparation. “Icing doesn't really do much. I knew I was gonna hit it; my teammates knew I was gonna hit it.”
The Monarchs had tied the game with 4:38 to go on Ty Yoshida’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Sacramento State commit Danny Scudero on fourth-and-goal.
Scudero recorded two touchdowns on the night, catching an 11-yard pass from Yoshida to open the scoring in the second quarter, but the Wildcats prevented him from ripping off the sort of big play that he’s used to terrorize the rest of the WCAL. Instead, the longest play of the night came from the SI offense as Hummel found a streaking Moe Barnum for a 65-yard touchdown, giving the Wildcats a 21-14 lead after a Mitty defender slipped on the Foothill College turf.
“I was really trying to put on the burners and take it to the house,” Barnum remarked.
The long connection with Barnum was the last of Hummel’s three touchdown passes. The other two went to Hogan; the first was a 9-yard score on a screen that tied the game at 7 with 15 seconds left in the first half, and the pair connected on a similar play for a 16-yard touchdown with 51 seconds left in the third quarter.
“He’s done an awesome job all season, to push to learn, to grow up a lot,” head coach John Regalia said of his quarterback. “There's gonna be the ups and downs with all of our guys.”
Hummel’s youth showed for a brief moment in the second quarter when he tried to rush a pass instead of taking a sack as Scudero closed in on him. His attempt was ruled a fumble, which Diego Aguilar recovered to set up Mitty’s first touchdown.
Scudero had a 38-yard catch on the final play of the third quarter, and he drew back-to-back pass interference flags early in the fourth to set up a 7-yard Justice Toavalu touchdown run to tie the game at 14 with 10:16 left.
Run Game Delivers in Key Moments
It’s no coincidence that the Wildcats set up the decisive score by pounding the rock, headlined by Jones' 96-yard performance. The St. Ignatius rushing attack, which had struggled for much of the season, was at its finest on Friday night.
“It starts up front. I thought our line on both sides of the ball did a really great job of working each rep to take ownership,” Regalia said. “We kept pushing from there, building the run game on offense. Defensively, we were able to work our coverage against some really talented receivers and a really talented quarterback.”
One Last Scare
Lucey’s field goal went through with a second still on the clock, meaning the Wildcats still had to kick off. A series of laterals briefly took the Monarchs across midfield on the last play, but Hunter Hartshorn fell on the last of those tosses to end the game.
St. Ignatius hosts Serra (7-0, 4-0) next Friday night.