SF Preps: AAA teams clinch playoff spots, SI has shot at WCAL title

St. Ignatius WR Danny Ryan breaks league record as Wildcats are in position to clinch share of title

St. Ignatius 21 at Mitty 7: Zach Taylor-Smith served as SI’s only quarterback as Teddye Buchanan nursed a quad injury, and he performed brilliantly under the spotlight by throwing for 135 yards as the Wildcats kept their title hopes alive.

Eight of Taylor-Smith’s 14 completions went to Danny Ryan, with the last of those breaking the WCAL single-season record for receptions. In just six league games, he has 47 catches, breaking a mark previously held by Mitty alum and current Seattle Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger. The Wildcat defense held Mitty off the scoreboard until the final five minutes, fueled by big performances from Deven Enos, Chad Jensen and Jafer Snipes. With Serra’s win over Valley Christian on Saturday, the Wildcats’ league title hopes rest in their own hands. A win over the Padres to close the regular season on Saturday afternoon would earn them a share of the league championship, something they haven’t had since they split one with Serra in 2006.

Riordan 7 vs. St. Francis 24: The Crusaders held a second-quarter lead at the soft opening of Mayer Family Field, scoring the new facility’s first touchdown on one-yard plunge by quarterback Azaan Ledbetter. It would be the only time they scored as the Lancer defense held Ledbetter to 5-of-18 passing and allowed just 3.6 yards per rushing attempt. Aside from Lavaka Kefu (four carries for 36 yards), no Riordan player even averaged over 3.2 yards per carry. Ryan Daly, who attended Sacred Heart Cathedral as a freshman and sophomore before transferring to St. Francis, threw a 15-yard touchdown to Joey Schott with 32 seconds left in the first half to give the Lancers a 10-7 lead, and they’d tack on two more scores on touchdown runs by sophomores, a six-yarder by Juju Teu and a 29-yard score by Camilo Arquette. It marked a seventh straight loss for Riordan since a 2-0 start to the season and the Crusaders’ 16th straight loss in WCAL play dating back to 2017. They’ll try to snap that streak on Saturday at their field’s grand opening, in which they’ll battle Sacred Heart Cathedral for the Stanfel Cup.

Sacred Heart Cathedral 26 vs. Bellarmine 34: The Fightin’ Irish remained winless on the season, allowing three second-quarter touchdowns to a team that had been held to seven points or fewer in four of its previous five games. Sacred Heart Cathedral’s Tyrice Ivy Jr. caught two touchdowns from Cian Dowling as the Irish tried to work their way back from a 27-6 deficit, but they could never get closer than seven as Bellarmine put the game away with a one-yard Jaxson Sawyer touchdown run and a Nicho Domine interception. Sawyer’s touchdown was set up by a 33-yard scramble from Wade Smith, who had thrown a 50-yard touchdown to Nick Teresi in the second quarter to open up the largest lead of the night. Joaquin Moreno also ran for two touchdowns in that quarter.

Lincoln 50 at Burton 6: The Mustangs have struggled to throw the ball this season, but it’s hardly been an issue as they’ve been so effective on the ground. Owen Creed took over at quarterback in a series of personnel changes, and while he completed just one pass — a 32-yarder to Andres Montoya, it was Luis Conteras’ rushing abilities that helped the Mustangs open up a 37-0 halftime lead. He burned the Pumas for 175 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries while junior Ahleir Barnett carried 11 times for 58 yards and a score.

Balboa 21 vs. Lowell 10: Raiden Thien-Jones continued to power the Buccaneers, leading them to a fourth straight win by throwing for two touchdowns and rushing for a third. He connected with Chris Whiley for a 30-yard score, found Jalen Smith on a 40-yarder and took one in himself from seven yards out as the Buccaneers clinched a playoff berth for the second straight season, something that seemed like a pipe dream that the start of the year, when they lost star running back A.J. Velasquez to ACL and meniscus injuries. The Bucs do have to close the regular season with Lincoln and Mission, but regardless of what happens, they know they’ll be playing beyond that with a shot to advance to the Turkey Day Game. Whiley, who transferred from Wallenberg, has provided a major shot in the arm for the Buccaneers, as has DeMagio LaSalle, who had two interceptions in his third game back from injuries. He now leads the team with four picks on the season.

Mission 50 at Washington 0: The Bears met little resistance from the Eagles to join Lincoln and Balboa in clinching playoff berths with two weeks left in the regular season.

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