Lowell lineman Michael Stamatopoulos embraces injured Cardinals running back Brennan Nguy after beating Burton on Nov. 15, 2019 at Burton High School. (Ethan Kassel / Special to S.F. Examiner)

SF Preps: Lowell returns to playoffs, SI advances

Lowell Cardinals make the postseason for the first time since 2013 in busy week of prep football

St. Ignatius dominated Mitty to advance to the CCS Division I Semifinals and a goal-line interception earned Lowell its first playoff appearance since 2013 in an action-packed week of prep football.

St. Ignatius 28 vs. Mitty 7: The rematch that was supposed to be a barnburner turned out to be surprisingly one-sided as the Wildcats opened up a 21-0 halftime lead and rolled to their first playoff win since 2014.

Running backs Joe Celentano and Jahsai Shannon were both producing for SI, with Celentano running 14 times for 105 yards and Shannon gaining 46 on six carries. The anticipated duel between quarterbacks Teddye Buchanan and Shamir Bey — both of whom missed the teams’ meeting in the regular season — was decisively won by Buchanan, who completed 16 of 18 passes, including his first 12, for 145 yards and gained another 65 on the ground on 11 carries. His 20-yard touchdown to Mike Harrison in the second quarter opened up a three-score lead after a Celentano 44-yard touchdown run and a 37-yarder up the sideline by Shannon on the first play of the second quarter, his longest of the season.

Mitty (6-5) scored on a 44-yard touchdown pass from Bey to Reymello Murphy in the third, but SI was able to control the clock and put the game away with a three-yard Celentano touchdown run with 6:43 left. Danny Ryan had six receptions for 73 yards, then picked up an offer from FCS program San Diego on Tuesday. St. Ignatius (9-2) will head to San Jose on Friday to face Valley Christian in the semifinals while top-seeded Serra will host fifth-seeded Wilcox in the other semifinal on Saturday. Read our online recap for more.

Lowell 22 at Burton 20: Ronald Pollick ran for three touchdowns and intercepted a tipped pass in the end zone with 20 seconds left as the Cardinals won an emotional affair to clinch their first playoff appearance in six years.

Alfonzo Smith (12 carries-127 yards) and Samson “Pooka” Olomua (27 carries-150 yards) helped Burton (4-5, 2-4 Academic Athletic Association) rattle off 20 straight points, then drove into the red zone in the final minutes after Pollick’s second and third touchdowns put Lowell in front,.But Jeremiah Hizon tipped a Jonah Mati pass over the middle intended for Smith, and Pollick snatched it out of the air to set off a huge celebration on the visiting sidelines.

Lowell (5-4-1, 3-3 in AAA) went quiet on offense after getting stopped in the red zone up 8-0, struggling to make up for the loss of running back Brennan Nguy (ACL), but Pollick, who ran 15 times for 107 yards, scored on a 30-yard run to cut the lead to five and picked up his third touchdown of the day on a two-yard run with 7:45 left. Lowell also got an early interception from Zonglin Li, while Smith ran for two touchdowns and threw for a third, a four-yarder to Mati, in his final high school game. The heartbreaking defeat extended Burton’s playoff drought to four years, while Lowell will prepare for a Thursday trip to top-seeded Lincoln. Read our online recap for more.

Balboa 14 vs. Mission 7: The Buccaneers beat the Bears for the first time since the 2010 playoffs and first time in the regular season since 2006 ahead of next week’s semifinal rematch. Defenses stood tall for both teams as Mission (4-5-1, 4-2 in AAA) got three first-half interceptions, including a 75-yard Julian Milton pick-six, but Bucs quarterback Raiden Thien-Jones collected himself in time to play a strong second half.

Jaziah Amataga ran for a four-yard score in the third, and Balboa (5-5, 5-1) took the lead on the ensuing two-point conversion, an Anthony Artola pass to Ray Jones. Thien-Jones padded the lead with an 18-yard touchdown and left the rest to a defense that racked up seven sacks, led by Emiliano Dimas and brothers Sefania and Sekaria Haro. Mission did have to play without running back Noah Lee, who is expected to return from a broken hand for the Thursday afternoon semifinal rematch. Both teams will be looking to play a cleaner game when they take the field again next week, as they combined for 229 penalty yards. Read our online recap for more.

Lincoln 46 vs. Galileo 0: The Mustangs finished their second consecutive unbeaten run through the AAA regular season with their fourth shutout victory of the year, showcasing tremendous offensive efficiency in the process. Luis Contreras ran just six times for Lincoln (8-1, 6-0 in AAA) but managed to rack up 149 yards and three touchdowns, one of which was a 74-yard run. Jonas Francovich threw two touchdowns to James Walsh, one going for 60 yards and the other for 35, and the visitors also got touchdown runs from Andres Montoya and Tyree Cross en route to another running clock victory. Galileo (1-9, 1-5) was shut out for the seventh time on the season.

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