Defense has continued to do the heavy lifting for Marin Catholic’s football team, and that unit has carried the Wildcats into the North Coast Section Division II Championship Game despite an injury to freshman quarterback Michael Ingrassia.
In a battle of backup quarterbacks in the Division II semifinals on Friday, top-seeded Rohnert Park-Rancho Cotate also played without its starter, Jared Stocker. Marin Catholic (10-3) backup QB Gavin Cooke ran for the game’s lone touchdown, a seven-yard score, and the only points the Wildcats yielded came in the fourth on an intentional safety as they held on for a 7-2 win.
Cooke also had two interceptions on defense, including the game-sealing pick, and Andrew Olson also intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter to set up a showdown with Bishop O’Dowd (11-2) and Stanford-bound running back Austin Jones.
The Wildcats will look to round out their season with a 10th straight win on Saturday at 7 p.m. at neutral-site Hayward High School.
Lincoln football: The Mustangs received a bye straight to the CIF Division 6-A Championship Game, which will be played on December 15 at noon against Escondido-Orange Glen.
Lincoln (12-0) put together a more dominant run than any AAA team this decade, but the league’s strength, compared to other leagues and sections, still placed the Mustangs in the lowest of the CIF’s divisions. With four spots left open as sections chose to finish their regional championships rather than send teams via coin flips or other tiebreakers, the Mustangs received a bye and will host the championship game at Washington High School in San Francisco.
Lincoln has won 11 San Francisco Section titles, and seven since Phil Ferrigno took over as head coach, but the Mustangs have never won a state title.
“We are playing for all the city football programs throughout the ages,” Ferrigno told the Examiner on Monday. “It is an honor to represent our city and be involved in the championship tournament.”
Orange Glen is the San Diego Section Division V champion and defeated Los Angeles-Locke in a Southern California regional bowl to advance to next Saturday’s game.
St. Ignatius basketball: The St. Ignatius girls breezed through the Marin Catholic LadyCat Classic, starting the season 3-0. With a 66-51 win over Menlo in the championship game, senior forward Maddie Ennis was named tournament MVP and was joined on the All-Tournament Team by Emily Jones and Angie McAdams. As for the St. Ignatius boys, they dropped all three games in their trip to Texas, participating in a loaded field as the lone out-of-state team at Dallas Jesuit’s Knights of Columbus Invitational.
Other basketball tournaments: Riordan (2-2) finished as runner-up of the 60th Crusader Classic, falling 60-52 to La Canada-St. Francis in the championship game. The host Crusaders defeated Sacred Heart Prep 73-54 in the first round and pulled away from San Ramon Valley late for a 73-56 win in the semifinals. Mission finished sixth, winning just one game but getting three impressive performances from Ben Knight, including a 37-point outburst in a 73-70 loss to Berkeley on Saturday.
Despite the absence of Max Fried, University finished third in Jefferson’s 2018 Bud Bresnahan Blue and Gold Classic, losing a close semifinal game to defending NorCal finalist Albany-St. Mary’s before beating Galileo 65-40 in the third-place game. The Lions were beaten by Independence in the semifinals but picked up an impressive first-round win over the host Grizzlies behind 23 points from senior guard Ryan Huang. Lowell defeated rival Washington 62-57 in the seventh-place game.
Stuart Hall breezed through the four-game, 16-team Redwood Classic at Boonville, winning every game by at least 29 points, including two wins on Saturday. The Knights defeated Pinewood 78-42 at noon and then blasted Argonaut-Jackson in a battle of defending NorCal champions at 9 p.m., rolling to a 77-48 victory and a tournament championship.
Lick-Wilmerding lost a 52-51 thriller to league opponent Marin Academy in the final of the Redwood Christian Tournament, and Urban dropped both games at the St. Joseph Notre Dame Island Classic.