On St. Ignatius' first offensive play, Wildcats quarterback Ryan Hagfeldt was picked off by Riordan safety Chris Hall.
However, from that point on, Riordan would have no answer for its crosstown rival — specifically St. Ignatius seniors Joe Lang and Elijah Dale.
Lang had three touchdowns and 240 total yards, and Dale ran for 142 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns as the Wildcats cruised to their first victory of the season, rolling over Riordan 49-7 in the third night game ever held at St. Ignatius (1-4 overall, 1-1 West Catholic Athletic League).
“It's always nice to crack the ice and we knew a win had to come sometime,” Lang said. “We don't get to play under the lights too often. We were fired up and ready for this [game tonight].”
Dale opened the St. Ignatius scoring 1:59 into the game with a 25-yard touchdown run, one play after Riordan muffed a punt. Later in the first quarter, Dale added a 5-yard touchdown that gave the Wildcats a 14-0 lead.
With Dale providing the power, Lang produced the highlights of the night.
On the last play of the first quarter, Lang fielded a Riordan punt and electrified the crowd by weaving through Riordan defenders for a 55-yard touchdown.
But Lang's play at the end of the first half was the play of the night.
Down 35-0, Riordan quarterback Zach Masoli scrambled around the pocket and heaved a pass down the right sideline, but Lang leaped over the intended Crusaders receiver and intercepted Masoli's pass, broke numerous tackles, and returned it 98 yards for a touchdown, giving St. Ignatius a commanding 42-0 lead at halftime.
“Those are two of our leaders and two guys who can make plays, and they made them tonight,” said St Ignatius head coach John Regalia. “It was good for them to have some success tonight.”
Riordan scored on the game's final play on a Masoli 3-yard pass to tight end Rob Valencia, but not much in between the first and last plays of the game went right for the Crusaders though.
The Crusaders amassed 225 total yards, with Masoli accounting for 125 (52 rushing, 73 passing), but it was the penalties and turnovers that frustrated first-year head coach John Lee.
Riordan committed four turnovers, missed numerous tackles and committed costly penalties — including a facemask penalty that wiped away a touchdown late in the first half.
“It hurts, but we need to wash it away and not dwell on it, and get ready for the St. Francis Lancers,” Lee said. “We need to stay focused and stay positive. It's kind of frustrating, but we just have to eliminate the mental mistakes, the penalties and move forward.”
With Riordan hoping to turn its fortunes around next Saturday at home against St. Francis, St. Ignatius will look to win its second straight on Friday night in San Jose against Bellarmine Prep.
“This is a real good group of guys because they stay the course, they keep continuing to challenge each other,” Regalia said. “We'll continue to build off of this.”