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League-title hopes dashed for Bell-Jeff

Jim Riggio

Bellarmine-Jefferson High’s goal entering the football season was to

win the Santa Fe League title.

That goal is no longer a reality.

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Friday night, the Guards struggled against a good, but not

stellar, opponent, falling, 29-16, to Montebello Cantwell-Sacred

Heart in a league road game.

The win gives Cantwell-Sacred Heart (5-5, 4-0 in league) the title

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outright.

Bell-Jeff (7-2, 1-2) now must defeat Panorama City St. Genevieve

on Wednesday at Memorial Field at Burroughs High to claim the

league’s third and final playoff spot. The Guards lost to L.A.

Salesian, 20-14, on Oct. 31.

“We had to execute our game plan,” said Bell-Jeff Coach Rolando

Aguirre, who suited up just 17 players. “If we did that, Cantwell

would not have been able to stay with us.”

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Offensively, the Guards struggled, unlike in most games this

season, when they have had an easy time.

Quarterback Brendon Doyle finished 16 of 43 for 109 yards with one

touchdown and one interception.

On the ground, Bell-Jeff had 58 yards rushing, led by Derek

Leiphardt, who had 37 yards in four carries.

Defensively, the Guards let Cantwell-Sacred Heart quarterback

Andrew Ortega complete 11 of 24 passes for 271 yards and a

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touchdown.

To make matters worse, Bell-Jeff could not take advantage of the

fact that Cantwell-Sacred Heart was penalized 125 yards.

“We were worried when they lost [to Salesian],” Cantwell Coach

Jimmy Nolan said. “We wanted to face them undefeated, because a lot

of times when you’re undefeated, you haven’t faced adversity yet.”

Nolan also noted that he felt the tough nonleague schedule his

team played, which included Division I powers Fountain Valley and

Anaheim Esperanza, helped his team once league play came around.

“I took a lot of criticism for that,” Nolan said. “I kept saying

my goal is to play in December and I don’t care if I start 0-6. I

care when I’m playing the games, but all that matters is that we win

league and that we’re playing in December.

“So If I were to do it all over, I’d do the same exact thing,

except I’d try to get Mission Viejo and Long Beach Poly.”

Bell-Jeff took an 8-0 lead as Leiphardt scored on a 33-yard run.

Doyle -- who later hooked up with Matt Magallon on a 14-yard

touchdown pass -- completed the two-point conversion to Jake Nelson.


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