In what will surely go down as one of the greatest upsets of the high school football season – if not the millennium – St. Francis stunned De La Salle 31-28 Friday night in front of a full house in Mountain View.
The Lancers snapped the Spartans’ 318-game unbeaten streak against Northern California teams and defeated them for the first time in 32 years.
“It’s one of the best victories we’ve ever had as a program,” St. Francis coach Greg Calcagno said. “We’ve had some good ones, including a state championship, but this ranks pretty damn high.”
After leading most of the way – 14-0 in the first quarter, 21-7 at halftime and 24-7 early in the third – the Lancers fell behind 28-24 with 1:38 to play. Armed with two timeouts, they drove 76 yards in eight plays for the winning touchdown – a 16-yard pass from Matt Dougherty to Nico Andrighetto with 16.7 seconds left.
Andrighetto outran a linebacker from the line of scrimmage to the middle of the end zone, and Dougherty found his receiver open amid several defensive backs.
“Matt read the safety, saw what he liked and made the throw,” Calcagno said. “Matt really did a great job (Friday), especially being a junior in that environment.”
The play prior, Dougherty connected with Andrew Adkison for a 33-yard completion. The receiver’s over-the-shoulder-catch put St. Francis at the 1, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Lancers’ sideline moved the ball back to the 16.
“It makes the story better,” Calcagno said with a chuckle. “That was tough, but we didn’t get rattled.”
The St. Francis offense may have stolen the show – Dougherty also tossed TD passes of 16 and 30 yards to receiver Tim Natane, and halfback Viliami Teu rushed for a 10-yard score and nearly 190 yards – but the defense was equally impressive. The Lancers (2-0) forced three turnovers, including a fumble recovered by defensive back Ryan Lee at the St. Francis 4 midway through the fourth.
“We hang our hat on our defense,” Calcagno said. “We’re very confident in it.”
The coach just doesn’t want his team, which has a bye this week, to get overly confident.
“We have a lot of games ahead of us,” he said. “That happened Friday – Monday, nobody cares.”