WATSONVILLE — The St. Francis Central Coast Catholic Sharks opened the second half with three turnovers and the Stevenson Pirates turned them into three touchdowns to pull away for a 41-27 win at St. Francis C.C.C. High School on Saturday afternoon.
The Sharks (3-1) were able to score two touchdowns in the final quarter to cut the Pirates’ (2-0) lead to just seven points with 3:20 left on the scoreboard.
The Pirates answered with a late touchdown of their own on the legs of Drew Miller to ice the game.
“We played three very good quarters, but the third quarter was not our best,” said Sharks coach Adam Hazel. “And that was what proved to be the game.”
The 17-yard score was Miller’s fourth. They all came in the second half.
Miller racked up 214 yards on the ground to go with his four scores.
180 of those yards were in the second half.
“I think they got worn out a little bit,” said Miller of the second half Stevenson surge. “I can’t really tell when I’m out there, but there were some big holes out there.”
Jonathan Carmona, who ran for 113 yards on 15 carries and had a 7-yard score in the first half, agrees with Miller.
“I think we were just a little tired,” said Carmona. “Everybody is going both ways and it’s hard to keep up with everybody. They outnumbered us today, but overall I’m really proud of how we played today.”
The Sharks decided to bow out of the Santa Cruz Coastal Athletic League just before the beginning of the season, because of their small numbers and youth
Having just 26 players in the entire program and just a varsity level football team took its toll on the Sharks, but like they have all season long they fought through adversity and made it a game.
With the game slipping away at 34-13, Sharks’ signal caller Nick Ciandro led the Sharks down the field on an 8-play, 67-yard drive that was capped off with a 25-yard touchdown toss to Garrett Saucedo.
It cut the lead to two scores with 8:11 left.
The Sharks continued the fourth quarter rally as they held the Pirates offense and force them to punt.
Luck was on the Sharks’ side as the snap sailed over the punter’s head. He was able to corral the ball and get off a punt, but it went out at their 40-yard line and set up the Sharks with great field position.
They didn’t waste it and it didn’t take much time.
Nick Ciandro’s 6-yard touchdown run chipped away at the Stevenson lead and brought it to seven points, but that’s the closest they would get.
The Pirates ran out the final three minutes of the game and scored once more.
Ciandro threw for 250 yards and a touchdown and ran for a score.
Saucedo, the 6-foot, 175-pound senior, hauled in nine balls for 196 yards and the 25-yard strike.
Wes Guild and Matt Clifton both had an interception.
Carmona was named the homecoming king at halftime.
The loss to the Pirates was the Sharks’ first of the season. They will travel to Harker School of San Jose Friday.
“I think that this loss is going to give us a boost,” said Carmona. “Now everybody has a taste of what losing is. We were on our high horse, but now we’re down at a level we haven’t experienced before. I think it’s going to be a really good experience so that we can all come together more.”
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st. francis stevenson football garrett saucedo nick ciandro Jonathan carmona drew miller