Bishop Diego running back Misa Paiau was stopped short of the goal line on the decisive two-point conversion attempt with 15 seconds to play as St. Bonaventure held on for a 21-20 victory on Friday night at Ventura College.
The Marmonte League opener for both teams lived up to the hype of a heavyweight slugfest as both teams relied heavily on the running game to move the football resulting in an extremely physical contest.
In the end it was St. Bonaventure defensive back Zayne McCulley, who made the initial contact on Paiau that decided the game.
“It was one of those things where you start thinking about fatigue factors and who has momentum,” said Bishop Diego coach Tom Crawford of going for the two-point conversion and the win. “I thought we had momentum at that point just the way that drive unfolded. It was kind of unanimous amongst the coaches to go for the two.”
The featured backs for the two teams Delon Thompson and Qu’Ran Gossett engaged in an epic duel as both routinely made spectacular plays with the ball in their hands.
Gossett rushed 25 times for 163 yards, including a three-yard touchdown run with 15 seconds to play that put the Cardinals in position to win the game.
Thompson rushed for 145 yards on 16 carries, including touchdown runs of eleven yards and two yards.
“It doesn’t matter how many stars or whatever it is, Delon is one of the best running backs in the state of California and up there in the nation,” said St. Bonaventure coach Joe Goyeneche of Thompson’s perplexing lack of college offers. “I’m baffled as to why college coaches haven’t pulled the trigger. I really don’t get it.”
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The Seraphs took the opening kickoff and marched 80 yards on 12 plays to take a 7-0 lead on Thompson’s eleven-yard touchdown run. However, Bishop Diego answered with an eleven play, 64-yard drive capped off by a 20-yard touchdown pass from A.J. Vele to Liam Flood to even the score at 7-7 with 32 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
A blocked Bishop Diego punt set up the Seraphs’ second touchdown as St. Bonaventure took over on the 12-yard line and Thompson scored from two-yards out with 4:17 remaining in the second quarter.
It was Vele who evened the score at 14-14 with a ten-yard touchdown run with 56 seconds remaining in the first half.
The two teams remained knotted until St. Bonaventure sophomore defensive back Drew Cofield stepped in front of a Vele pass and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown, which gave St. Bonaventure a 21-14 lead with 50 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
It appeared the Seraphs would be able to run out the clock after a long Bishop Diego drive stalled in the red zone midway through the fourth quarter. However, the Cardinals forced a fumble that was recovered by Henri Benoit with just under four minutes remaining in the game.
Bishop Diego drove 68-yards in ten plays, which resulted in Gossett’s three-yard touchdown with 15 seconds left and the failed two-point conversion.
Bishop Diego (4-1 overall, 0-1 Marmonte League) will host Oaks Christian on Friday beginning at 7 p.m. at La Playa Stadium. St. Bonaventure (3-3 overall 1-0 Marmonte League) will travel to Westlake.
Friday Football Scores
Oxnard 48, Dos Pueblos 7
The Chargers fall to 3-4 overall and 1-4 in Channel League play.
Ventura 28, San Marcos 21
Josh Engel connected on a 20-yard touchdown pass to Adrian Alaniz late in the fourth quarter, but Ventura responded with a game-winning drive.
Santa Paula 42, Carpinteria 14
The Warriors fall to 1-5 overall and 0-1 in the Citrus Coast League.