Photo By: Shirley Pefley/Special to the Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Austin Woodard hauls in a touchdown pass from Mike Lauck Friday night.
Friday night’s football game didn’t lack for precise passes, clutch catches and rousing runs, but routine plays in the kicking game were just as important in St. Francis High’s 28-27 win over visiting Valley Christian.
The Lancers made all of their kicks – four extra points by Patrick Fordham, including the game-winner with 1:18 left – while the Warriors missed two of theirs and botched a snap on a 26-yard field-goal try as time expired. St. Francis’ JT Bognanno jumped on the ball after it sailed over the holder’s head, denying kicker Kody Kroenig the chance to win the game for Valley Christian.
Although it was stressful watching the Warriors drive 58 yards in 68 seconds to get in position to beat his Lancers, coach Nick Navarro was relieved to escape with a win – a precious commodity in the rugged West Catholic Athletic League.
“I’ve had too many of those games,” he said. “But we play good competition, so what are you going to do? You’re going to be in close games.”
St. Francis opened the season with a pair of close losses – 21-20 to Oak Grove and 12-7 at Palma – but has since won three consecutive games, including both WCAL contests.
Quarterback Mike Lauck and halfback Alex Andrighetto played significant roles in each win.
A week after tying a school record with four touchdown passes in a shutout of Sacred Heart Cathedral, Lauck tossed three Friday, none bigger than a 3-yarder to receiver Brycen Carbonel on the Lancers’ final possession. That game-deciding drive – spanning 13 plays and 78 yards – featured a pair of first-down catches by Andrighetto.
“(Valley Christian) blitzes the guys off the edge and coach Navarro was telling us, ‘That flat’s going to be open, so we’re going to throw you the ball and you need to make plays,’” said Andrighetto, whose season-high six catches for 64 yards led St. Francis Friday. “Mike got me the ball and we just went out and did it.”
Andrighetto did it on the ground as well, rushing for a season-best 95 yards that included a 13-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
“We’ve seen him progress in practice every day,” Navarro said of the 5-foot-8, 165-pound junior. “He did a great job – he was just pounding people.”
Although the Warriors (0-2 league, 2-3 overall) outrushed the Lancers by more than 200 yards, they couldn’t match St. Francis’ passing attack. Senior Lauck completed 17 of 24 passes for 184 yards and overcame a goal-line interception early in the fourth.
Valley Christian quarterback Jay MacIntyre finished 6-of-12 passing for 86 yards and threw a costly interception late in the opening quarter. Defensive back Landon Baty anticipated the pass, stepping in front of halfback Kirk Johnson for an easy pick along the sideline.
Five plays later, Andrighetto darted into the right side of the end zone. Fordham’s extra point pushed the Lancers’ lead to 14-0 with 11:26 left in the first half.
After the Warriors’ cut that lead in half on a 10-yard run by Johnson and Kroenig’s kick, St. Francis responded with another touchdown. The Lancers marched 73 yards in six plays, scoring on Austin Woodard’s 20-yard catch. The receiver wrestled the ball away from cornerback Bryce Novak – just as he did on his 15-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
Valley Christian countered with MacIntyre’s 30-yard scoring scamper before intermission. John Powers blocked the extra point, leaving St. Francis’ lead at 21-13.
Valley Christian tied the game in the third quarter on halfback Ryan Severson’s 11-yard touchdown run and ensuing two-point rush, then pulled ahead on his 20-yard dash to open the fourth. But the Warriors again failed to convert the extra point, leaving their lead at a tenuous 27-21.
Spartans, Eagles fall
Mountain View fell 42-7 at Milpitas Friday, while Los Altos lost 34-0 to Cupertino.
The Spartans slumped to 2-3 overall and the Eagles to 0-5.