The Academic Athletic Association (AAA) concluded its regular season last Friday, with Balboa’s win over Lowell officially locking in 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) Quarterfinals. At such a busy time of year, The Standard is your No. 1 source for all things high school sports in San Francisco, including uncovering why the AAA’s semifinal games are being played at 1:30 p.m. on a Thursday.
Balboa Buccaneers 35, Lowell Cardinals 26
Balboa (5-5, 4-2 AAA) is finally putting it all together at the right time. Noah DeGroat ran for a 50-yard touchdown and returned a punt for a 75-yard score, while Dontae Allen-Wilson ran for a pair of scores, including a 62-yarder late in the third quarter. The victory locked the Buccaneers into the third seed and another shot at Washington in Thursday’s semifinals. Lowell (3-6, 3-3) dropped to fourth and will pay a visit to top-seeded Lincoln. The Cardinals lost sophomore quarterback Angelo Ornelas to a broken collarbone.
CCS Division II Quarterfinal: No. 5 Bellarmine Bells 30, No. 4 Menlo-Atherton Bears 7
The Bells avenged a season-opening loss in convincing fashion, topping the Bears behind Nate Escalada’s 299 passing yards. Escalada’s 48-yard completion to sophomore Zayne St. Laurent set up a 1-yard Ben Pfaff touchdown run that put Bellarmine (5-6) up by 16 with 10:32 remaining, and Pfaff added another short TD run to put the game out of reach. 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 run 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 close the season on a high note. Galileo (1-9, 1-5 AAA) led 20-0 after a quarter and rolled 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) finished a second straight season winless. Robby Alvarez caught three passes for 79 yards to lead the visiting Pumas.
CCS Division I Quarterfinal: No. 6 Mitty Monarchs 29, No. 3 Los Gatos Wildcats 28 (OT)
The Mitty Monarchs put their entire season into one play, and it paid off. Quarterback Wills Towers connected on a short pass with star wide receiver Danny Scudero for a two-point conversion, and the Monarchs escaped Los Gatos with a thrilling 29-28 overtime win. 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 took the game to overtime by blocking a field goal on the final play of regulation. Mitty (8-3) spent most of the night in front after Scudero returned the opening kickoff for a 95-yard touchdown.
CCS Division I Quarterfinal: No. 1 Serra Padres 57, No. 8 Palma Chieftains 7
While No. 8 seeds have given No. 1 seeds a scare in the CCS Division I Playoffs in past years, there would be no such concerns for the Serra Padres, who led 29-0 after a quarter and subbed out their starters before halftime. Bishop O’Dowd transfer Kyon Loud caught a touchdown and returned a punt 50 yards for a score for Serra (11-0), the lone undefeated team in the CCS. Palma (8-3) broke the shutout on JC Escutia’s rushing touchdown.
CCS Division I Quarterfinal: No. 2 St. Francis Lancers 17, No. 2 Sacred Heart Cathedral Fightin’ Irish 14
RL Miller and Jerry Mixon Jr.’s legendary Sacred Heart Cathedral football careers came to a close on Friday night with a 17-14 loss to No. 2 St. Francis (8-3) in the CCS Division I Quarterfinals. The Lancers took the lead on Kingston Keanaaina’s 4-yard touchdown run 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 Kendric Sanders touchdown run and led 14-10 in the third after a 1-yard Mixon plunge, but failed to pull away after getting the ball back with great field position on a botched punt.
CCS Division II Quarterfinal: No. 2 St. Ignatius Wildcats 24, No. 7 Half Moon Bay Cougars 15
Facing a two-score halftime deficit against an opponent that can eat up clock 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 by the end of the third, and they went on to win 24-15 to set up a semifinal matchup with No. 3 Aptos.
Washington Eagles 20, Mission Bears 0
Tommy Mayfield-Commer ran for two touchdowns before leaving with an ankle injury as Washington (8-2, 5-1 AAA) posted its fourth shutout of the season and posted its highest regular season win total since 2011. Dhiraj Gurung also ran for a score and recorded an interception, one of three turnovers the Eagles forced on the day. The hosts also got a Rigo Hernandez interception, and Julian Nakapaahu recovered a fumble after his own strip sack. Mission (2-7, 2-4 AAA) was shut out for a fourth time. The Bears concluded the season with back-to-back shutout defeats.
Other Bay Area Football Scores
Sequoia and Overfelt played a game of the year candidate in the CCS Division IV Quarterfinals as the top-seeded Ravens won 51-50 in two overtimes. Overfelt (9-2) opened the second overtime period on a 2-yard Quinton Togia’i touchdown run, but he was stopped on a two-point try. Sequoia (10-1) answered back 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.
Pittsburg quarterback Jaden Rashada had missed the 104th Big Little Game with an illness, but got his shot at rival Antioch the following week in the North Coast Section (NCS) Division 1 Quarterfinals. Rashada, who flipped his commitment from Miami to Florida earlier in the week, threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third as the Pirates rolled to a 55-22 win over the Panthers. Rashada sat for the second half, and sophomore Marley Alcantara threw for another three scores as No. 2 Pittsburg (10-1) won going away. Seventh-seeded Antioch (4-7) got 103 yards and a rushing touchdown from Larenzo Mayfield.
No. 7 Salesian (6-5) pulled off a stunner in NCS Division 6, winning 14-10 at second-seeded Moreau Catholic (7-4) in a game 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 was ousted by Turlock in a 51-50 thriller. No. 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 the top team in Northern California and representing the region in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Open Division Championship.
Other San Francisco Sports News
Second-seeded University (28-6) swept No. 3 Aragon (26-10) in the Northern California Division II Girls Volleyball Semifinals, advancing to Tuesday’s regional championship at Clovis North and finishing with a perfect 13-0 home record. Kinnari Atluru had a match-high 18 kills as the Red Devils won their second consecutive playoff match in straight sets.
Ethan Kassel can be reached at [email protected]