Dons, clock run on the Saints
October 29, 2016
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With the stadium ringing to the chorus of “Hells Bells” before kickoff, the atmosphere at the 54th annual Holy Bowl last night was anything but Saintly.
As it turns out, no divine intervention was required.
Before a standing room-only crowd at San Diego Mesa College, the Cathedral Catholic High School Dons defeated the the Saint Augustine High School Saintsmen 35-0 to avenge a defeat last year at the hands of their arch rivals.
“[We’ve] been preparing for this since last year, so we were ready for the comeback,” CCHS quarterback Tate Haynes ‘17 said.
Electing to defer until the second after winning the coin toss, the Saintsmen kicked off to CCHS returner Ryan James ‘17, who caught the pigskin mid-stride and gained 30 yards.
CCHS stalled on its first drive as a seven-yard run from Shawn Poma ‘19 was not quite enough for the first down, and the Dons were stuck at fourth and one. Deciding to go for it, the Dons converted with a sneak play from Haynes, gaining a fresh set of downs.
A combination of runs from Jack Thompson ‘17 and Haynes put the Dons on Saints’ 11-yard line.
The following play, Poma lined up adjacent to Haynes and took a handoff for a quick end around run for 11 yards and the touchdown. After converting the extra point, the Dons were on top 7-0 with 9:02 remaining in the first quarter.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment,” Poma said.
The Saintsmen tried to retaliate, but losses of yards on the first and second down led to third and 13 yards to go.
Desperate to make something out of nothing, the Saints quarterback dropped back to pass, but with heavy pressure from the defense, he was forced to lob it towards midfield, where CCHS defensive back Jordan Genmark-Heath ’17 intercepted, inciting roars from the Dons fans.
Starting at Saints’ 34-yard line, the Dons began their march to the redzone. Carries from Poma brought the team there, and it was Haynes who capitalized for another Dons touchdown.
With the extra point, the Dons were up 14-0 with 6:10 left in the first quarter.
A four and out from the Saints forced them to punt. However, the ball soared directly to Genmark-Heath, who took the kick 40 yards for another Dons score, putting them up 21-0 with 4:24 left in the first quarter.
After the third touchdown, the cheers and chants from the SAHS student section and sideline began to fade as the Dons controlled the game from the start.
On the ensuing kickoff, the SAHS returner muffed the kick, but a lucky move into the end zone prevented another mistake. A sack from CCHS defensive lineman Alec Simas ‘17 forced another four and out from the Saints, resulting in a punt.
A combination of runs with a catch from CCHS running back Jake Goddard ‘16 helped the Dons get an additional first down to mark the end of the first quarter.
The Dons found themselves once again on the fourth down with one yard to go. A quick handoff to Genmark-Heath got not only the first down, but 39 yards and another touchdown. The kick was declared good, and the Dons led 28-0 with 10:20 left in the half.
The ensuing drive by Saints would lead to their initial first down. However, a series of mistakes and an overhead snap on fourth down led to the Dons taking over at the 45-yard line.
The Dons managed to run the ball into the redzone, but a holding penalty on third down caused Genmark-Heath to run into negative yards, bringing up third and eleven. The Dons failed to convert on an incomplete pass, so they brought out the field goal team. Hitting the goalpost, the 37-yard kick was no good, and the Dons had their first setback of the game.
A series of drives from the Saintsmen and the Dons resulted in no points scored, and the half ended with CCHS up 28-0.
Following the halftime show, the Saintsmen came out blazing. Completion after completion took them across midfield, and they looked as if they could score. However, multiple holding penalties and a stout Dons defense denied them the chance, forcing another punt.
Driving down the field, the Dons found themselves once again across midfield. Haynes made a run for 33 yards to take the Dons into the redzone for the fourth time that night. In the ensuing play, Poma took the ball in for the touchdown yet again.
The Dons led 35-0 with 5:15 left in the third quarter.
A running clock and a series of four and outs from both teams brought on the beginning of the fourth quarter. A final offensive possession from CCHS would take the game to its end, with the Dons winning the annual Holy Bowl 35-0.
“This win is so fulfilling for our seniors,” Haynes said.
The win against Saints bolsters the Dons’ undefeated season record to 9-0 as they look to continue the win streak as the No. 8 ranked team in the state.
The Dons take on Madison High School next Friday at Manchester Stadium at 7 p.m. in the final game of the regular season.