If the St. Ignatius defense had held up its end of the deal, it could have been a storybook night for Soren Hummel.
Making his first career start with on homecoming night with a Pro Football Hall of Famer in attendance, the sophomore quarterback threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns, but the Wildcats allowed 28 points in the third quarter alone and 487 total yards in a 42-20 loss to St. Francis.
“He’s up with us for a reason,” head coach John Regalia said of Hummel. “He did some really good things.”
With 1969 St. Ignatius graduate Dan Fouts on hand, Hummel threw for three touchdowns in the third quarter, but every one of his scoring drives was immediately answered by the Lancers, who looked nothing like the team held to just 96 yards a week earlier by Serra.
The Lancers led 14-0 at halftime behind the legs of running back Keala Keanaaina (29 carries, 231 yards), then took the top off the Wildcat defense in the third quarter. Keanaaina picked up right where he left off, opening the third with a 23-yard gain, and Riley Long took a Matt Dougherty Jr. screen pass up the sideline for a 40-yard touchdown to give St. Francis (2-3, 1-1 West Catholic Athletic League) a three-score lead just 50 seconds into the second half.
Hummel fired back, hitting Gus Parker over the middle for a gain of 48 and connecting with Cameron Jones on a screen for a 19-yard touchdown to get the Wildcats on the board. St. Ignatius (1-4, 1-1) had the crowd buzzing when the Lancers faced a third-and-5 moments later, but Dougherty found Andrew Adkison behind two defenders for a 62-yard score.
55 seconds later, Hummel answered again, hitting Moe Barnum down the sideline for a 70-yard strike, but Dougherty countered two plays later with a 60-yard touchdown over the middle to 6-foot-4 tight end Ned Righellis.
“I’ve really gotta see it on film,” Regalia said when asked about where his defense struggled.
Hummel led his third scoring drive of the quarter with a 40-yard completion to Parker and 18-yard touchdown to Pierce St. Geme, arguably his best throw of the night, as he escaped pressure and fired a dart off his back foot.
The oohs and ahhs didn’t last. Long blocked the ensuing extra point, a celebration penalty assessed on the kickoff and 45-yard Adkison kick return put the Lancers in SI territory, and Keanaaina scored his second touchdown of the night from five yards out with 52 seconds left in the quarter.
Of the four Lancer drives that didn’t result in points, two finished with kneeldowns to run out the second and fourth quarters. The SI defense got its first real stop by stuffing Keanaaina on a fourth-and-1 at the 14 with 7:31 left, and St. Francis punted for the only time all night with 3:53 remaining after sophomore Aaron Knapp relieved Dougherty at quarterback. Dougherty, who spent his early years in San Francisco before moving to Burlingame, completed nine of 11 passes for 231 yards. His final three passes all went for touchdowns, and he also scored on a 2-yard QB sneak to cap off a 12-play drive with 3:29 left in the first half.
It was only fitting for the two quarterbacks to combine for 561 yards and complete over 65 percent of their passes with Fouts, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993, on hand. Fouts was on the field for the opening coin toss, accompanied by former teammate Mike Mitchell, who now teaches at St. Francis and serves on the coaching staff of the Lancer freshman team.
Fouts was also honored at halftime, along with the 1962 and 2012 Wildcat teams. The 2012 unit won the Central Coast Section (CCS) Open Division Championship over Bellarmine, 13-10 in overtime.
After a Brayden Ellis sack killed the first Wildcat drive of the game at midfield, Keanaaina ran on 11 of 14 plays, including a 1-yard touchdown, to get St. Francis on the board first with an 88-yard drive that took almost eight minutes. Juan Becerra Jr. and JJ Sporleder also sacked Hummel, but even with heavy pressure, the sophomore avoided turning the ball over.
“I think that a lot of things are about to change,” said Hummel, who started with Mac McAndrews sidelined by a sprained shoulder. “We’re going to be that team that we were in the third quarter.”
Other Wildcats joined McAndrews on the injury list in the second half. Two-way lineman Santino Franco suffered a shin injury late in the third quarter, and Jones hurt his heel early in the second half.
Parker finished with five catches for 131 yards for the Wildcats, who will host Valley Christian (1-3, 0-1) next Friday night. Barnum had three catches for 105 yards and St. Geme had six receptions for 48 yards.
Adkison had two catches for 77 yards and Long had three catches and 55 yards for St. Francis. The Lancers will host Sacred Heart Cathedral (2-2, 0-1) in Mountain View next Friday.
Ethan Kassel can be reached at [email protected]