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SF Preps Football: Archbishop Riordan wins shootout in Napa

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Archbishop Riordan Crusaders Varsity, Adham Abdelghani (8) scrambles for a 1st down in the first quarter against Napa on Sept. 8, 2018. (Photo: Courtesy / Don Lex)

By Kyle Foster
Special to S.F. Examiner

NAPA — There was a lot offensive fireworks Saturday night at Napa Memorial Stadium as Archbishop Riordan beat Napa 40-31 to earn their first win of the season.

The Grizzlies went into the half up 17-12 thanks to Julia Alonzo’s 21-yard field goal with 17.4 left, but couldn’t overcome the Crusaders’ offensive firepower, or their own mistakes. Riordan quarterback Adham Abdelghani tied a Riordan single-game record with five touchdown passes, but it was three turnovers by the Grizzlies that turned the tide.

“It’s one of those things where we’re shooting ourselves in the foot here or there,” first-year Napa head coach Tom Petithomme said. “You know balls on the ground we need to fix those little simple fundamental things you know? We’ve got a good team here; we’ve got some weapons on offense you know?”

Riordan (1-2) scored the first touchdown of the game when Abdelghani found Marcus Williams for a 21-yard touchdown pass. The two also connected two more times for touchdowns from 25 and 62 yards out respectively.

“It’s great,” Riordan coach Jay’Sen Morris said. “This was a must-win for us leading into our bye week we definitely wanted to come in with a W, so it’s a huge win you know? Huge win on the season, huge win for the night, so we’ll try to build on this and move forward into league.”

Abdelghani finished the night 14-of-25 passing for 302 yards, and rushed 11 times for 108 yards.

“He’s a key to our offense,” Morris said. “He’s been playing on varsity since his freshman year, and I think things are finally clicking for him. He has good chemistry with our receivers, so tonight was a big night and you know when he’s throwing the ball like that we can really move the ball and it opens up our play book, so it was huge that he had the night he had tonight.”

Williams ended the night with five receptions for 109 yards, while Chris Whiley caught three passes for 82 yards with two touchdowns.

“It might be their breakout [game], but we knew they had that capability,” Morris said. “We know that all of our receivers can do that you know, so they just had a night and showed that to everybody that they’re going to be a force.”

The Grizzlies were also led by their quarterback on the night, as senior Gunner Schoeps had a breakout game of his own rushing the ball. He carried the ball 18 times for 105 yards and four touchdowns, to go along with completing 16 of his 29 pass attempts for 264 yards. His longest connection on the night came when he connected with fellow senior Diego Olvera for a 47-yard gain.

“I just showed that I can open up and I can run if I have to and I can throw if I have to,” he said of his breakout evening. “Either way I’m an all around balanced player.”

He did, however, throw two interceptions.

Both teams will both begin league play in the coming weeks. Napa will host Sonoma Valley in their homecoming game and Vine Valley Athletic League opener next Friday night while Riordan will begin West Catholic Athletic League play on Friday, September 21st when they visit Bellarmine College Prep of San Jose.

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