|Bishop Diego's Michael Agnoli (No. 35) goes in motion while quarterback Spencer Stovesand looks his way during the second half of the Cardinals' 43-20 rout of Immanuel (Reedley) on Oct. 16 (photo by Lorenzo Reyna).|
I traveled down Highway 101 and ran into one of biggest traffic congestions I’ve ever endured while on my way to La Playa Stadium on Oct. 16. Flash floods and the closure of Interstate 5 led to a glutted three hour jam for me and several drivers who were going southbound for the Immanuel (Reedley) and Bishop Diego (Santa Barbara) contest.
But once I got in the Eagles/Cardinals game before the opening kickoff, I saw Bishop Diego in cruise control on offense, defense and special teams, as the undefeated Cardinals trounced the Central Section power 43-20.
The game was billed as a private school heavyweight showdown, with both teams arriving to La Playa at 6-0. Immanuel scored on its opening drive with John Gurrola scoring a 3-yard reception. However, the Cards not only re-took the lead on the next drive through the first of four rushing touchdowns, but got a huge special teams’ assist that shifted the momentum of the night.
Av Bennett – a track and field star and recipient of a football scholarship pledge from the University of San Diego – came crashing toward Viktor Cooper’s field goal attempt, stretched out his hands and blocked the 26-yard attempt that later turned into an 89-yard field goal block touchdown return by Tommy Murrillo, making it 14-6.
The Cards then turned to the defense and the tree trunk legs of Micahel Sorraco.
The 5-foot-8, 210-pounder - who looks like past big backs in a Cardinal uniform – rushed to 191 yards on 24 carries and scored three touchdowns, including a 62-yard scamper that opened the third quarter. On the next defensive series, BD overwhelmed Eagle quarterback Caleb Paulson and forced a fumble at their own 23. That later led to Spencer Stovesand scoring on a 2-yard quarterback sneak and burying the Eagles further.
At 7-0, the Cardinals are currently among three unbeaten teams left in the CIF Southern Section Northern Division (III) football standings along with Palmdale and Camarillo. It’s a gridlock at the top, but roads will become clearer soon on which team will land the No. 1 seed come playoff time.
‘HOMECOMING KILLERS’ SURVIVE IN CALABASAS
They were featured in a You Tube video that was released prior to the Camarillo/Calabasas showdown titled “Homecoming Killers” and screaming the words “You’re next Calabasas” at the end of the 56 second reel.
The epic homecoming clash between two Southern Californian undefeated squads turned out to have great theatrics. Leads were exchanged, NCAA Division I prospects made plays for Calabasas, DI hopefuls on the opposite side responded back with huge plays of their own and in the end, the Scorpions slayed another giant in the Coyotes 40-39.
Camarillo football continues to capture the imagination of its city. The Scorpions have relied on players who grew up with one another and stayed true to their roots when opportunities were presented to attend Newbury Park, St. Bonaventure, Calabasas, Oaks Christian, etc.
Now comes the next sequence to this film: the Camino League. All four teams are 4-3 and better. Plus the rest of the Scorpions’ schedule – beginning first against Newbury Park at home on Friday, Oct. 23 – are a combined 15-6.
FRESNO RISING – AND HAS RARE BATTLE OF LEAGUE UNBEATENS COMING
Just four years ago, Fresno High was 0-10 and started a head coaching carousel.
Now, 30-year coaching veteran and FHS legend Ray Reyes has the Warriors at 6-1…and eyeing the North Yosemite League championship after shocking league boss Sunnyside 40-34.
How are the Warriors turning the tide under Reyes? A power running game that follows the brute force of the "Tongan Horse" in 6-foot-1, 311-pound right guard Ofa Kuma and the electric play of lead back Nyric Hinton, who piled 223 yards on 34 carries and two touchdowns against the powerful Wildcats - including the 2-yarder in the games’ final minutes. Hinton has 919 yards and 12 touchdowns in seven games for Fresno Unified’s best feel good story.
Next up? A 35 minute road trip to Reedley to take on fellow league unbeaten Reedley High on Oct. 23.