Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eddie Wadors, left, scores a touchdown on a fumble recovery Friday night against Overfelt.
The modest crowd was about the only thing unexpected Friday night at St. Francis High. Perhaps the rain kept football fans away from the playoff opener, or the presumption they would get another chance to see the Lancers play at home this Friday.
After all, it didn’t take Nostradamus to predict the outcome of this Central Coast Section Division II quarterfinal game pitting top seed and perennial playoff participant St. Francis against an eighth-seeded Overfelt team making its first postseason appearance since 1998.
The Lancers made quick work of the Royals, routing them 42-0 in a contest that went to a running clock for the second half.
St. Francis (6-5) will be heavily favored again this Friday when it is slated to host No. 5 Aragon (8-3) at 7 p.m. in the semifinals.
“We’ve talked to the kids about how we’re the guys with the target on our backs, so let’s go out and show everyone why it’s there,” said coach Nick Navarro, whose Lancers tied for fourth in the ultracompetitive West Catholic Athletic League. “It’s kind of a role reversal for us, because all year we were kind of the underdog in a lot of games.”
Including two weeks ago when St. Francis shut out Serra to cap the regular season. The Lancer defense picked up where it left off against Serra, dominating Overfelt from start to finish. St. Francis, which didn’t allow the Royals to get within field-goal range, set two school records: fewest rushing yards allowed (3) and fewest total yards allowed (7).
“They’re good – they’re real good,” Navarro said of his defense, which limited Overfelt to three first downs. “The last couple weeks we had real good game plans, we felt, and just executed to near perfection. You do that and it’s going to be hard for teams to move the ball, and that gives our offense a chance to get points on the board.”
The Lancers put up 28 points in the first half, though quarterback Mike Lauck wasn’t thrilled with their opening drive that stalled at Overfelt’s 40-yard line.
“We have to pick it up next week and start off better,” the senior said. “I don’t think we took the beginning of the game seriously enough. We didn’t come out with the fire like we did against Serra. I wish we came out with a little more fire and purpose to get to that CCS championship.”
Lauck led St. Francis to touchdowns on its following two drives. He first tossed a 52-yard pass to halfback Alex Andrighetto, who scored a play later on a 2-yard run up the middle.
“The long pass play in the first quarter to Alex Andrighetto kind of sparked us and got our confidence back,” Lauck said.
The offense was soon back on the field, thanks to a bad snap to Overfelt punter Francisco Cano that resulted in a fumble recovered by St. Francis’ Jack Casarez.
Taking over at the Royals’ 12, the Lancers reached the end zone three plays later on fullback Austin Guibor’s 1-yard run. Patrick Fordham’s extra point pushed St. Francis’ lead to 14-0 with 2:01 left in the first quarter.
The Lancers fumbled away their next two possessions, but Overfelt couldn’t move the ball more than a yard either time. St. Francis ended the half by scoring on back-to-back drives. Andrighetto darted into the end zone on a 4-yard run and Lauck connected with a wide-open Guibor on a 33-yard touchdown.
With the game in hand, St. Francis sat Lauck in the second half. The Lancers fumbled on their first series of the third quarter, but the Royals gave the ball right back. Linebacker Eddie Wadors scooped up a fumble and raced 9 yards for a touchdown.
St. Francis’ final touchdown came late in the third on halfback Devin Hurtado’s 11-yard scamper.
The Lancers totaled 302 yards of offense.