Thanks to its rigid defense and flexible offense, the St. Francis High football team routed visiting Aragon 41-7 Friday in the Central Coast Section Division II semifinals.
Up 14-7 at halftime, the top-seeded Lancers (7-5) dominated the remainder of the game. The defense, which allowed its first touchdown in three weeks, prevented the fifth-seeded Dons (8-4) from getting closer than its 29-yard-line. And the offense changed its tack against an Aragon defense determined to keep the St. Francis passing attack in check.
“The game plan was that we were going to throw the ball more, but they came out in a totally different defense, so we started running the ball and it worked out for us,” said Alex Andrighetto, who moved from receiver to running back in the second half.
Versatile junior Andrighetto and senior quarterback Mike Lauck ripped off big run after big run in the second half. On the first play from scrimmage, Lauck weaved through several defenders for a gain of 45 yards. Andrighetto followed with a 9-yard run up the middle, then a 12-yarder to the right. Three plays later, the pair hooked up for a 15-yard screen pass to put the Lancers in a first-and-goal situation from the 10. On third down, Lauck dodged defenders on an 8-yard scamper into the end zone.
Patrick Fordham’s extra point stretched St. Francis’ lead to 21-7 with 9:01 left in the third.
The Lancers added another touchdown before quarter’s end. After the defense forced the Dons into a pair of three-and-out drives, St. Francis took over near midfield. Four plays later, Lauck tossed a 30-yard strike to senior receiver Austin Woodard, who outraced Aragon defensive back Aldo Severson down the left sideline and across the goal line.
Lauck threw for another touchdown midway through the fourth quarter – a 42-yarder to fullback Austin Guibor, who slipped past the Don defense – to push the lead to 34-7 after Fordham’s kick.
Lauck finished the game 9-of-19 passing for 199 yards and two scores. He rushed 13 times for 125 yards and two touchdowns.
Andrighetto contributed 93 yards on the ground and caught three passes for 42 yards.
The Lancers outgained Aragon 469 yards to 298.
“It’s easy to play football when you only give up seven points,” St. Francis coach Nick Navarro said. “They’re doing a good job.”
The Lancers’ next task is taking on No. 2 Los Gatos, the only team that stands between them and a 15th CCS title. The final is slated 7 p.m. Saturday at Westmont High in Campbell.
Although top seed St. Francis hasn’t played the Wildcats this year, the teams met annually in the regular season until 2011 and have squared off in the CCS final a few times. The Lancers and Wildcats played to a tie in the 2002 Division III final, and that co-championship is the last CCS title St. Francis has won.
“It will be a good time – it’s an old rivalry,” Navarro said of facing Los Gatos. “We have a longstanding history with them, so we know what they do.”
Andrighetto believes he knows what the Lancers must do to win.
“It’s going to take a whole lot of effort and just playing together as a team,” he said.