The St. Ignatius revenge tour hit a bit of a snag on Saturday.
With all eight of the teams that beat them last season on the schedule for 2019, the Wildcats had already dispatched Palo Alto in an exciting opener. On Saturday, they faced the team that knocked them out of the Central Coast Section regional quarterfinals in 2018: Sacred Heart Prep.
Despite leading for much of the afternoon, though, St. Ignatius couldn’t finish, as the Gators scored with 76 seconds to go, picked off the first play of the ensuing Wildcats drive and kneeled out the clock to deal St. Ignatius a 28-21 road loss.
Quaterback/linebacker Teddye Buchananrushed seven times for 35 yards, completed 16 of 28 pass for 189 yards (but threw two picks) and made eight tackles with one pass breakup, seeming to take control of the starting job under center, as Zach Taylor-Smith didn’t attempt a pass and was sacked twice.
Buchanan directed an impressive opening drive, with the Wildcats taking to both the air and the ground, marching 80 yards on eight plays, with a 44-yard catch by senior receiver Danny Ryan (10 catches, 125 yards) setting up a four-yard touchdown run by Joe Celentano with 9:06 left in the first quarter.
The Gators started their first drive of the second quarter at the Wildcats’ 33 and finished with a two-yard touchdown run by Tevita Moimoi. St. Ignatius went no-huddle with just under six minutes left in the first half, with Teddye Buchanan finding Ryan for 13 yards, then finding James Adams for 15 after a pair of runs. He found Michael Harrison for another chunk — 13 yards — and hit Ryan again for seven. At the Sacred Heart Prep 16, he broke outside contain to scamper down to the three-yard line, then scored on a QB draw with 1:55 to go before halftime.
The Wildcats went three-and-out to start the second half, and Sacred Heart Prep executed a 40-yard double-reverse by Dante Cacchione to flip the field. After the Wildcats were able to stone the Gators on two straight tries from the one-yard line on stops by Buchanan and Duke Reeder, the Gators finally punched it in with a one-yard run by Thomas Hardy to tie the game with 4:28 to go in the third quarter.
Ryan made himself a factor once again, making a leaping grab at the Gators’ 30, then taking a pass up the middle to convert on fourth-and-five just before the third quarter expired. At the start of the fourth, Buchanan rolled right to find a wide open Ryan for the two-yard TD pass to put the Wildcats up, 21-14, finishing a drive where St. Ignatius got four first downs.
St. Ignatius recovered a fumbled kickoff return by Sacred Heart Prep’s Ryan Wong, but couldn’t capitalize. Buchanan’s third-and-21 pass on the ensuing drive was picked off at the Gators’ 41.
The Gators turned the sticks over four times, and finished a drive with a Teddy Purcell pass to tight end J.P. Frimel to tie things up with 5:49 to go.
The Wildcats’ next drive fizzled at their own 36, and the Gators drove, tearing off a big run to the St. Ignatius 12. From there, Sacred Heart Prep scored in short order, as running back Tevita Moimoi scored from two yards out for the go-ahead score with 76 seconds left in the game. He finished with 29 carries for 163 yards and two touchdowns.
The Wildats play at home next Saturday at 3 p.m., hosting Gonzaga Prep of Washington. The Bull Pups beat St. Ignatius 42-37 last season.