For a moment, it appeared the Galileo football team would go toe-to-toe with visiting Berean Christian of Walnut Creek in an offensive shootout Saturday.
But that feeling was quickly dispelled.
After scoring on the first play from scrimmage and holding a 14-7 lead midway through the first quarter, the Lions allowed Berean to score 48 unanswered points en route to a 55-14 rout.
The Eagles (3-1) dominated on both the offensive and defensive line, ran for more than 400 yards and applied constant pressure to Galileo quarterback Kyle Nelson.
When Nelson had time, he was impressive, throwing for 172 yards on 10 completions. But after the two early scores, Berean changed its defensive strategy. The Eagles decided to blitz every down, and it worked to perfection.
Nelson was not only hit on nearly every play, but was smacked with such ferocity that it changed the course of the game and knocked the sophomore off the field in the third quarter.
“I was so impressed with how hard they came. There’s no way we would beat them coming out that hard,” Galileo coach Mark Huynh said of Berean. “It was hard, but it was a good showing for [Nelson’s] character. He kept at it, but our line has some kids who need to understand what’s going on.”
The Eagles sacked Nelson six times, then injured backup quarterback Charlie Kwok on his first play in the third quarter, forcing the Lions to use third-string quarterback Josh Lu the rest of the way.
“Any time you have a team in the [shotgun], you gotta put pressure on the [quarterback],” Berean coach Mark Barcelon said. “He’s a good quarterback and he’s just a sophomore, and they had some good receivers out there. When he had more than three seconds, he was completing a pass. It was a race. We either got to him or he was throwing down the field.”
The Galileo rushing attack also suffered, running for minus-51 yards. Standout sophomore running back Ronzel Fox was held to just 33 yards on six carries, but he did provide the highlight of the game for the Lions.
On the first play from scrimmage, Nelson flipped the ball to Fox on a screen pass, then Fox broke a single tackle and simply outran the Berean defense for an 86-yard score.
As rough a day it was for the Galileo offense, the defense wasn’t much better. The Eagles ran for 414 yards, led by 233 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries from senior running back Luke Miner. Berean senior Logan Lisle also ran for 126 yards on just six carries.
“We couldn’t get off the blocks and there were so many long runs where somebody should have been there, but we didn’t make the play,” Huynh said. “That’s something we need to adjust to. I mean, we’re supposed to be the faster team. We just didn’t have the intensity that we had in the first two weeks.”
Even after the disheartening loss, Huynh was optimistic and looking forward to the Lions’ Academic Athletic Association opener against Burton next week.
“We need to figure some things out and hopefully we can get things squared away for league,” Huynh said. “This is the first time this young team has taken a loss like this, so we’ll see how they respond next week.”