Coming into their West Catholic Athletic League opener against undefeated St. Francis, St. Ignatius knew points would be hard to produce.
The Lancers (4-0, 1-0), had given up only 12 points total in their first three games of the season. More impressively, the first-string defense had yet to allow a single point.
Saturday, on a gorgeous day in San Francisco, St. Ignatius got a dose of just how stingy the St. Francis defense is.
St. Ignatius (0-4, 0-1) remained winless on the season as it succumbed to St. Francis 14-6.
“We liked our game plan coming in, and our kids competed hard,” St. Ignatius head coach John Regalia said. “”They [just] have a great defense.”
St. Francis needed two big offensive plays in the second half to overcome a 3-0 halftime deficit.
With 6:41 left in the third quarter and faced with a 3rd-and-11 from their own 46-yard line, Lancers quarterback Ryan Johnson hit running back Alex Andrighetto on the left sideline at the St. Ignatius 40-yard line. Andrighetto did the rest, breaking a tackle and racing into the end zone for a 54-yard touchdown.
“That's a play we worked on all week in practice and Ryan did a great job on reading the defense on that play,” St. Francis head coach Greg Calcagno said. “Once Alex caught it, we had the first down, but he got into the open field and with his speed, he was able to take it all the way.”
In the fourth quarter with just over two minutes elapsed, St. Francis running back Landon Baty broke through a gaping hole on the left side of the offensive line — broke a tackle — and outran the Wildcats' defense for a 59-yard touchdown.
That was all the offense the Lancers would need.
“On the run by Baty, we made some adjustments in the running game, and like Alex, once Landon gets in space, he's hard to catch,” Calcagno said.
Despite being able to muster only six first downs and 205 total yards, St. Ignatius had its chances throughout.
The Wildcats had three drives stall inside the Lancers 15-yard line in the first half before settling for a 27 and 29-yard field goals from kicker Andrew Ferrero.
Despite the Wildcats' struggles to move the ball, they were position to tie the game after quarterback Ryan Hagfeldt connected with wide receiver Joe Lang for a 33-yard pass on 3rd-and-11 with 2:46 left in the game.
But St. Ignatius' drive would stall as the St. Francis defense forced Hagfeldt to throw three straight incompletions.
Despite four straight losses to start the season, Regalia, whose team takes on Riordan next Friday night, remained upbeat about his team.
“Our guys kept battling and competing, and we're working our way up,” Regalia said. “We're building our team each week and this team has great spirit. We'll continue to work and get better.”