A matchup of the top two teams on the central coast was dominated by defense and special teams as Saint Bonaventure overcame a halftime deficit to defeat Bishop Diego 21-14 on Saturday night at Ventura College.
Saint Bonaventure linebacker Jared Barlow returned a blocked kick 57 yards for a touchdown to put the Seraphs ahead for good, 21-14, with 7:30 remaining in the fourth quarter. That massive turn of events proved decisive in a battle of unbeaten teams.
“Jared Barlow is a dude. I tell people that he is the next big division 1 prospect. I think we have some others too, but he is a division 1 football player,” said Saint Bonaventure coach Joe Goyeneche. “He is very versatile. He played on offense, defense and special teams. Another great kid who just comes and brings his lunch pail to work and is respected by the team as our only junior captain.”
Barlow followed up the special teams touchdown with an interception with 2:25 remaining in the game that ended a potential game tying Bishop Diego drive.
The Cardinals struggled to maintain a rhythm offensively throughout the game, but that didn’t stop them from securing a first half lead. Johnny Alvarado intercepted a Manny Rosales pass late in the first quarter and returned it 80 yards to the Saint Bonaventure three-yard line. Three plays later, Qu’Ran Gossett powered into the end zone from two-yards out to give Bishop Diego a 6-0 lead. The ensuing extra point was blocked in an ominous sign of things to come.
“It was a physical, fast game and obviously a little step above what we had seen from prior opponents. Credit to [Saint Bonaventure] they executed much better than we did, particularly on offense,” said Bishop Diego coach Tom Crawford. “Defensively I thought we played really really tough the entire time.”
Saint Bonaventure took its first lead of the game, 7-6, on a nine-yard touchdown run by Delon Thompson on the first play of the second quarter. He was the one offensive player on either team who was able to achieve consistent production. Thompson finished with 211 yards on 30 carries and served as the focal point of the Seraphs attack as the passing game was largely out of sync.
Bishop Diego went back in front at the 6:56 mark of the second quarter when Bryan Trejo intercepted a Rosales pass and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown. Luckhurst connected with Alvarado on the ensuing two-point conversion to put the Cardinals ahead 14-7. A lead they maintained into halftime.
Saints Bonaventure marched 51-yards on three-plays, all Thompson runs, on its second drive of the second half and evened the score, 14-14, on a 26-yard touchdown run by Thompson with 1:56 remaining in the third quarter.
Following the blocked kick for a touchdown that put the Seraphs ahead 21-14 Bishop Diego mounted one of its few sustained drives of the game deep into Saint Bonaventure territory, but Barlow’s interception of Luckhurst ended the ten-play drive thwarting the Cardinals comeback bid..
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