Bishop Diego’s explosive start helped compensate for a second half slump on Saturday, as the Cardinals defeated the visiting Fillmore Flashes 23-6 at La Playa Stadium in the Tri-Valley League opener for both teams.
The Cardinals (8-0, 1-0) defensive unit rose to the challenge of containing a Fillmore offense that had previously outscored its opponents 207-76. Fillmore falls to 6-2, 0-1.
After giving up a 46-yard run during Fillmore’s opening drive in the first quarter, the Bishop Diego defense decided that enough was enough. The Cardinals’ defense held on fourth down on their own 17-yard-line to keep the visiting Flashes off the scoreboard. It was the first of two fourth-down stops for the Cardinals on the night.
It would be the closest that Fillmore got to scoring for the entire first half. The Bishop defense dominated the Wing-T offense of Fillmore, who entered the game at 6-1. The Cardinals’ defense held the Flashes to 99 total yards in the first half, and only allowed Fillmore to possess the ball for just over six minutes.
Bishop Diego was just as stingy with possessions as it was with the clock. Abel Gonzalez picked off a Fillmore pass attempt midway through the second quarter to put the third Flashes’ drive on ice.
Cardinals quarterback Spencer Stovesand helped give the rushing attack all the time it needed. The junior completed passes of 33, 17, and 19 yards in the first quarter to keep drives alive.
A pass attempt from Stovesand to Matthew Shottwell for 19 yards helped spark the Cardinals offense, as freshman running back John Harris rumbled 48 yards for a touchdown on the very next play.
Despite the final score, Cardinals head coach Tom Crawford expressed disappointment in his team’s second half performance—which included two turnovers, two sacks allowed, and zero points. “We were too satisfied with the score,” Crawford said. “We need to be able and willing to play for four quarters.”
The Cardinals gave up a 38-yard run early in the fourth quarter to set up the Flashes’ only scoring drive, making the score 23-6.
The Bishop Diego offense — which did not punt once in the first half — seemed out of sync after halftime. “We didn’t have the same rhythm in the second half as we did in the first,” Crawford said. “We had a lot of negative plays. Those are drive-killers.”
The victory moves the Cardinals to 1-0 in the Tri-Valley league.
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