The Archbishop Riordan football team kneels as teammate Aden Jackson is attended to on the field following a collision. Jackson was taken away in a paramedic truck as the Crusaders lost, 24-21. (Ethan Kassel / Special to S.F. Examiner)

SF Preps: Riordan loses after Aden Jackson leaves on stretcher

Scary injury marks close loss as Crusaders can’t hold halftime lead over Archbishop Mitty

LOS ALTOS HILLS — The stadium at Foothill College was silent following Friday night’s game between Mitty and Riordan.

No, the visiting Crusaders didn’t finish off what would have been a remarkable upset of the Monarchs. There was simply none of the joy, life or excitement that had been present for the first 44 minutes of play as an upstart Riordan team traded blows with a Mitty program that had won three straight over the Crusaders.

With 4:01 left in a 24-21 Monarchs win, a thunderous hit on junior wide receiver Aden Jackson put a halt to an entertaining back-and-forth affair, Riordan’s hopes to tie or win the game and any momentum the Crusaders could have had after forcing a turnover on downs when Mitty (4-1, 2-0 West Catholic Athletic League) had a chance to go up two scores.

The game was delayed for nearly 25 minutes as Jackson lay on the field, moving all extremities and speaking with trainers, but with concerns that he may have lost consciousness for a moment. Taking no chances, paramedics were called and he was loaded onto a stretcher, wheeled into a paramedic truck and taken away for further observation.

Though lineman Gabe Martin gave an impassioned speech, using Jackson’s work ethic as a means for inspiration to revitalize the Crusaders after the delay, it couldn’t shake the outcome. Riordan (2-3, 0-2) fumbled on the next play in the midst of a handoff from quarterback Azaan Ledbetter to running back Fazon Ruth, and with two first downs, Mitty was able to run out the clock and kneel out the win.

Still, there were very few cheers from the home crowd as time expired, and it was hard for Riordan head coach Mark Modeste to focus on how his team had hung for four quarters with one of the stronger outfits in the WCAL.

“After something like that, does it really matter?” he said.

The Crusaders overcame an early 10-0 deficit, taking the lead on the final play of the first half as Ledbetter found Ruth for a 27-yard touchdown, turning around and calmly walking off the field after tossing the scoring fade. Even though the host Monarchs retook the lead midway through the third on a trick play, with Reece Burton connecting with a wide-open Jacob Miller for a 15-yard score, Riordan wouldn’t go away, retaking the lead on Kemoeatu Kefu’s six-yard run with 1:46 left in the third.

A 30-yard touchdown pass from Shamir Bey to Reymello Murphy 33 seconds into the fourth quarter would hold up as the winning touchdown, but that play was overshadowed by Jackson’s injury, which still hung over the stadium as fans filed out.

Murphy had four catches for 48 yards, largely held in check by the Crusader defense, save for the one deep ball from Bey. Zach Tabangcura, taking starting running back duties for Mitty with James Thomas injured, ran 13 times for 119 yards and gave the Monarchs an early 10-0 lead with a 10-yard touchdown run.

Other WCAL Scores

St. Francis 42, Sacred Heart Cathedral 14

Valley Christian at St. Ignatius at 2 p.m. on Saturday

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