Willie Eashman/Special to The S.F. ExaminerDomonic Burke has spearheaded a defense that has helped St. Ignatius start the season 3-0.

St. Ignatius makes statement with 3-0 nonleague mark

In the West Catholic Athletic League, spending time in the trainer's room icing bumps and bruises is a given. Playing in what is considered the toughest prep football league in Northern California, St. Ignatius did what it has been known to do under coach John Regalia: schedule three heavyweights in preparation for the WCAL.

All St. Ignatius did before WCAL play was end Marin Catholic's 23-game home winning streak in a come-from-behind 21-14 victory, held off a ferocious rally from Terra Nova to win 27-24 on the road in Pacifica and outlasted St. Mary's of Stockton in overtime 27-24 to open the season 3-0, the first time that's happened since 2007.

“We have challenged ourselves as we always do in who we played this nonleague season, and we have played against very well-coached teams that are used to playing the game at a high level,” Regalia said. “Those challenges have allowed us to see at this point in the season what we are doing well and what we still need work on. We want challenges that will test us and give us a good gauge of where we are in building our team and program of 2014.”

Seniors Dominic Burke, Julian Gunter and Dominic Orsi have led a stout defense, while senior quarterback Ryan Hagfeldt — who was 21-of-28 for 166 yards and a touchdown in the win over St. Mary's — has led a balanced offense.

“We have a group of guys that really like to compete and challenge each other to be their best — both on the field and off the field,” Regalia said. “We have some great leadership and maturity in this group that has allowed us to stay focused on what we can control and stay the course.”

The Wildcats have a week to rest and nurse any aches they may have from their grueling nonleague slate. They will need it because the WCAL awaits. Regalia and Co. will host Bellarmine on Oct. 4 in SI's WCAL opener.

“We have a tremendous amount of respect for our league opponents and we are always excited to get into league play,” Regalia said. “The WCAL is no different this year than any other season — teams are very well prepared and there are a lot of very good players, playing at a very high level.”

AAA struggles continue: It was another rough weekend on the football field for Academic Athletic Association schools last weekend, as their collective nonleague record dropped to 3-16 as Balboa, Mission, Lincoln and Washington all dropped games last weekend. League play starts next week.

BCL West heating up: Lick-Wilmerding, Stuart Hall, University and Urban are in a four-way tie for second place in the Bay Counties League West boys' soccer season, 1½ games behind first-place Marin Academy (8-2 overall, 3-0 BCL West). Urban dealt University its first loss in league play with a 1-0 victory Friday night.

On Tuesday at City College of San Francisco, Round 1 of the showdown between Lick-Wilmerding (7-1-2) and University (7-1-2) ended in a stalemate, a 0-0 draw.

El Camino dealing with adversity: Due to the recent arrest of El Camino coach Mark Turner, Eric Jacobson will take over as the interim coach, according to John Murphy at prepr2prep.com.

Turner, 38, was arrested on charges that he committed a lewd act with a 15-year-old girl. Turner also was the campus security officer at El Camino. The Colts are 2-1 heading into tonight's game at Wilcox.

Sacred Heart Cathedral rolling: The Sacred Heart Cathedral girls' volleyball team improved to 15-1 as the Irish defeated Burlingame and Mercy in the last week. The Irish will participate in the second annual Serve it up Founders Classic at Christian Brothers in Sacramento.

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