WCAL Preview: St. Ignatius vs Valley Christian
The last time these two teams met was last year’s CCS D-3 Semi-finals. St. Ignatius and Valley Christian left everything on the field for a chance to play for the championship. One of the best games of the 2011 season, the Wildcats took an early lead when RB Dom Truoccolo trucked his way in for a 2 yard run giving SI a 7-0 lead.
VC answered with a Jarrod Lawson (now at San Jose State) run from 25 yards out but the PAT failed leaving the Warriors down by one.
SI showed plenty of confidence running the ball, passing the ball. QB Jack Stinn would hit fellow classmate Andrew Volert for a 25 yard TD pass to extend the Wildcats lead to 14-6.
Warriors RB Ryan Severson would close the gap sprinting a 40 yard dash for a score. Byron Marshall, who now plays for Oregon would tie it up on a two point conversion.
SI would remain consistent with their passing game. Stinn, whose receiving core had height advantage over the Warriors exploited the outside and connected with Mike Pia, another fellow classmate, for SI’s third TD of the game. The Wildcats would add another TD before the half with Truoccolo punching the ball in from two yards out making it 28-14.
After intermission, the Warriors came out running. QB Jay MacIntyre fooled the Wildcats defense keeping the ball and sprinting 63 yards for a Warriors TD closing the score gap to 7 again.
Wildcats answered with a series of short runs ending in a 1 yard sneak by Stinn to make it 35-21.
The drama started to intensify as the fourth and final quarter of the CCS D-3 semi-final started off with back to back TD runs by Marshall(2 yard TD run) and Lawson(56 yard TD run).
The Warriors crowd erupted as the speedster puts it into high gear leaving the Wildcats defense moving in slow motion. Lawson’s TD was an emotional one, boosting the confidence of the Warriors’ sideline and shifting the momentum back to VC. The warriors defensive squad would step it up as SI had to turn the ball over on downs and that is when Junior running back Severson struck again with his lighting speed. Severson would echo Lawson’s previews touchdown run with a 53 yard touchdown run of his own. The score by Severson gave the Warriors their first lead of the game.
Meanwhile, Stinn and the rest of the Wildcats regrouped quickly as they found themselves in a tough situation and that is to drive 80+ yards down the field with a little over 1:30 left on the game clock. The Junior QB, calmly lead his Wildcats on a game winning drive with senior Travis McDow(now at San Diego University) catching Stinn’s pass on a corner route to close in 42-41. A few seconds later, Stinn calls for McDow to run an out route to the right as he looked off the Warriors defense to the left. The Junior QB would orchestrate a veteran play to send his team to the championship round. McDow scored on a two point conversion giving the Wildcats a 43-42 edge on the higher seed Valley Christian.
The Warriors did have some time left to put together a game winning drive. Marshall almost broke loose on the ensuing kick off returning the ball close to mid-field. MacIntyre making the most of the situation picked up a high snapped football that went over his head and turned it into a 10 yard gain. The last play to end the drama came down to MacIntyre airing it out to Marshall up the middle. SI’s defensive backfield on prevent defense radared in on the pass as four Wildcats converged and batted the ball off the Warriors’ star running back who ended his high school career so close to playing for the championship.
SI defeated VC in dramatic fashion. They would go on to play a historic championship game at AT&T Park and win the CCS D-3 title against their arch rival Sacred Heart Cathedral.
But that was last year and this is now. Both teams have similar records but very different when it comes to size, speed and strength.
Will Stinn and the SI offense come out firing bombs in the air? Or will they use the speed of Albert Waters and Elijah Dale to wear down the Warriors defensive squad?
Are the Warriors ready to defend the Wildcats’ passing attack? Can Severson run pass SI’s defense enough times to give the Valley Christian Warriors a victory in front of the homecoming crowd?
The key to victory for each team will come down to Special Teams and field position. Both SI and VC are capable of scoring on big plays and whoever team executes perfectly on Special Teams, that team will have the advantage to win.
St. Ignatius and Valley Christian will no doubt be locked and loaded come Saturday night. And GetSportsFocus.com will be there to capture yet another classic WCAL match up.