Bishop Diego’s offense exploded for three touchdowns in the third quarter to shake off an uncharacteristic shaky first half and the defense dominated Righetti in a 21-0 victory in the football season opener for both teams on Friday night at Warrior Stadium.
Junior running back John Harris rushed for 200 yards on 21 carries in three quarters and got the Cardinals going on their first possession of the second half with a burst into the open field for a 75-yard touchdown run. He followed with a 2-yard blast up the middle to cap a 29-yard drive after Mike Agnoli’s fumble recovery.
Bishop scored its final touchdown on its third possession of the quarter. Evan McKeegan bolted 24 yards off the left side of the team’s experienced offensive line for the score. Jack Luckhurst kicked all three extra points.
Harris said the team wasn’t in the right formation on his long touchdown run.
“We lined up wrong and it just ended up working out really well,” he said.
“Everybody took a sigh of relief when that happened,” Bishop Diego coach Tom Crawford said of the big play.
Penalties and a turnover derailed the Cardinals in the first half. They also stepped out of bounds on touchdown reception to nullify the score
Asked what Crawford told the team at halftime, Harris said, “He told us to calm down and play the game we know how to play. And that’s what we came and did and it showed.”
Said Crawford: “Really there wasn’t much to say because I think the guys understood in the first half that we shot ourselves in the foot many, many times with the penalties and the turnover.
“There wasn’t any yelling or anything special,” he continued. “We’re not going to change our game, we just need to relax and do things we know we’re capable of doing. I think the experience level of the group came to the forefront in the second half. I think we looked like a much different team.”
Crawford acknowledged the play of Elijah Whitney to help spring Harris on his long run.
“Elijah Whitney did a nice job pinning that defender, and once John got to the edge there was nobody out there,” he said.
Harris showed tremendous explosiveness on a 15-yard run before his second touchdown. On a fourth and 15, he took the handoff from quarterback David Gladish and burst up the middle to reach the 2.
“It was a counter trap and it just opened up and (a Righetti defender) came and ruined the whole thing,” he chuckled about being tackled short of the end zone.
The Cardinals’ running game also featured an impressive performance by Mark Sorocco. On one play, he hurdled a Righetti tackler for a nice gain. He finished with 50 yards on five carries.
Bishop rushed for 337 yards.
The defense was stout, led by linebacker Ashton Borgeson, Agnoli at defensive end and cornerback Isaiah Veal, who picked off a Chase Artopoeus pass in the fourth quarter. The deepest Righetti got in Bishop territory was the 39 yard line.
On Borgeson, “He was in on pretty much everything that was near the tackle box. I thought he was very, very physical,” said Crawford. “I think Ash was steady from start to finish and I thought defensively we played very well the entire game."