By Daniel Sheedy
Special to S.F. Examiner
MOUNTAIN VIEW — With both teams coming off a bye week and looking to start league play strong, Mountain View-St. Francis toppled the St. Ignatius, 31-6.
Looking to bounce back after a loss to nationally-ranked De La Salle, the Lancers came out of the gates swinging. Lineman Dante Giusti picked of the Wildcat’s first pass attempt and the drive was capped off with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Jack Perry to Evan Williams.
After a defensive stand by both teams, the Wildcats got the ball back on their own 8-yard line with 3:52 left in the first quarter. Following a drive was highlighted by a 29-yard rush by Mark Biggins, and then a 60-yard touchdown by big sophomore running back Jahsai Shannon, which cut the Lancer lead to one with 2:25 left in the first quarter.
St. Francis came back with two touchdown runs from senior Nick Robinson, extended the lead to 15 heading into the half. The Lancers were on cruise control for the entirety second half and coasted to the easy league victory.
The power run combined with the short routs from the Lancer receivers made up most of the successful offensive attack.
“We took what they gave us, they gave us a different look then what we had seen in the past,” head coach Greg Calcagno said. “They were loading the box to stop the run so we tried our best to get it out quick and take what they gave us.”
The Wildcats, though, did manage to limit St. Francis to just 10 points in the second half.
“It’s a test because we have to learn how to adapt,” said senior linebacker Jack Castiglione. “Through the game we as a team got better and that not only teaches us how to play faster together but brings us closer together through these experiences.”
Though the defensive performance down the stretch gives the team hope for the rest of the season, the offense was stagnant. St. Ignatius turned over the ball on downs three times, along with the interception on the opening play.
St. Francis (3-1, 1-0 in WCAL), armed with four-star defensive end Joshua Pakola held Biggins and Shannon in check. Pakola, in particular, made life difficult for the Wildcats in both the run and the pass game.
”It’s great and that is what we focus on, our defense is always going to be a top priority,” Calcagno said. “[Defensive coordinator Matt Scharrenberg] does a great job with the guys and he always has them ready to go. It allows us to call plays knowing that our defense is very good, trying not to turn the ball over and play good, sound, fundamental football.”
The Lancers next take on Sacred Heart Cathedral next week in San Francisco. The Wildcats (0-4, 0-1) will travel to take on the Warriors of Valley Christian next week.